ST. PETERSBURG — In a sign that he hasn’t given up on the 2013 season, manager Robin Ventura submitted an all-right-handed hitting lineup Sunday against Tampa Bay’s formidable left-hander David Price.
“You never get to a point where you’re just giving up,” Ventura said of his Sox, who had lost eight of their past 10 games and were 13 games out of first place in the American League Central. “There could be a time when the direction is a little different.
“If it ends up that guys do get traded, it does become different. With these guys, you don’t quit. It’s still a professional game, and they have the obligation of going out there and performing at their best. There’s never any change of just trying to win games.”
Ventura’s lineup shuffle didn’t do any good, as the Sox fell 3-1 to Price and the Rays, who swept the three-game series.
Rookie catcher Josh Phegley hit his first major league home run for the Sox and John Danks went seven innings, allowing three runs on five hits. Danks fell to 0-5 on the road this season.
One National League scout was aghast that Sox right fielder Alex Rios, whom several teams are interested in acquiring before the July 31 non-waiver trading deadline, was clocked at a pedestrian 6.3 seconds while running to first base on a groundout in the fifth inning of Saturday’s 3-0 loss, and Ventura was asked if he was pleased with the effort of his players.
“It’s been mentioned,” Ventura said. “But again, any time you get down and you feel like your back is against the wall, that’s the first thing you have to make sure you’re doing is doing everything you can, running hard. Because any time you don’t, it kind of adds to the disgust of not doing well.”