Praise for Upton and Shoppach

I spoke for the first time with new Rays hitting coach Derek Shelton on Tuesday and he seemed energized about the coming season.

Shelton joined the team in October carrying manager Joe Maddon’s hopes that he can help instill a better approach at the plate for Rays hitters, specifically with runners on third base with less than two outs and when they have two strikes in the count.

B.J. Upton has been working hard with Shelton for most of the off-season and Shelton is optimistic Upton’s hard work will pay rich dividends.  Most Rays fans anticipated Upton exploding last season after his 2008 postseason, but for whatever reason it did not happen. Perhaps that explosion will come a year late.

Shelton, who came to the Rays from the Indians, is familiar with Kelly Shoppach, and noted that the former Indians catcher and now Rays receiver has legitimate power.

–Bill Chastain


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