From the Tampa Bay Tribune’s Carter Gaddis and Bruce Lowitt :

Although Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella (above) won’t discuss the latest round of potshots taken at him by a veteran Red Sox starter, Rays bench coach John McLaren — whose experience on Piniella’s staff dates to the early 1990s in Cincinnati — spoke Wednesday out of loyalty to his longtime boss and friend.

“First of all, I think if David Wells and Curt Schilling ever pitched for Lou Piniella, they would love him,” McLaren said. “Because one thing Lou brings to the ballpark every night is a desire to win, a passion to win that is unbelievable.”

Boston manager Terry Francona apologized Tuesday to Piniella for Wells’ disparaging comments after Monday’s game. What Wells said boiled down to an indictment of Piniella’s ability to handle young players.

That’s a misconception, McLaren said.

“The thing about the young players, Lou likes to challenge players and they know he’s demanding,” McLaren said. “I’ve always told young players and other coaches have told young players, ‘Son, stand your ground with Lou, and you’ll never have a problem with him.’

“He wears his emotions on his sleeve. We know that. I think some of the shots he’s been taking, I think it’s uncalled for. I think his record speaks for itself.”

Piniella’s record as Devil Rays manager is 169-256.

While we’re judging track records, I’m having trouble determining which Chuck LaMar is for real and which isn’t.