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Rays tales

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 24, 2002

TRAVIS GUMP: We like Travis Harper. Really, we do. Nice guy. A little quiet. So you have to believe us when we say there is no reason -- except for our carelessness -- that we keep running his photo and misidentifying him.

A few weeks ago, it was Harper yawning during a stretching drill at Tropicana Field. Except we identified him as Rocco Baldelli. Then last week, we ran a photo of Harper being counseled on the mound by pitching coach Jackie Brown. Except we said in the cutline it was Kevin McGlinchy.

Was one misidentification more objectionable than they other?

"It was about equal," Harper said. "At least I wasn't yawning this time. I could see (the mix-up with) Baldelli. McGlinchy? Well, with two good-looking guys like us ... "

HOOP IT UP: Every once in a while, Randy Winn gets a basketball jones. Usually he gets out on the court, takes a few shots and gets over it. But sometimes, Winn, who played hoops his first two seasons at Santa Clara University, will wonder what would have happened if he had given pro basketball a try rather than baseball.

"They're great athletes and great players," Winn said. "But I picked it up kind of late and got it going. So occasionally, I'll think, maybe, what if."

Told Magic forward Tracy McGrady said a few months ago he was interested in pitching for the Yankees, Winn was willing to discuss a trade.

"Maybe I could sign a 10-day contract with the Magic, and he could come over and run some poles," Winn said.

DO THE MATH: The Rays have lost nine consecutive spring games. During their franchise-worst 100-loss season last year, they had only one losing streak as long as eight.


How the Rays did last season in some key statistical categories and how they compared with the league average:


"It was just placement."

-- CHRIS GOMEZ, Rays shortstop on his long foul ball Thursday that broke a window on the team's chartered bus


The fifth of our weekly guesses on the composition of the opening day 25-man roster:

PITCHERS (12): Tanyon Sturtze, Paul Wilson, Joe Kennedy, Wilson Alvarez, Ryan Rupe, Esteban Yan, Victor Zambrano, Travis Phelps, Jesus Colome, Jorge Sosa, Doug Creek, Steve Kent.

CATCHERS (2): Toby Hall, John Flaherty.

INFIELDERS (6): Steve Cox, Brent Abernathy, Chris Gomez, Russ Johnson, Bobby Smith, Jason Smith.

OUTFIELDERS (5): Greg Vaughn, Jason Tyner, Ben Grieve, Randy Winn, Jason Conti.

DL (1): Kevin McGlinchy.

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