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Bierbrodt released from the hospital

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 16, 2002

MIAMI -- Eight days after being shot in the right arm and chest while sitting in the back of a taxicab, Rays pitcher Nick Bierbrodt was released from a Charleston, S.C., hospital on Saturday.

Bierbrodt stayed in Charleston and was expected to fly home this morning with his mother to Long Beach, Calif., for further recovery. The Rays expect Bierbrodt to return to the Tampa Bay area, where he lives with teammate Joe Kennedy, in a week to 10 days.

Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said Saturday no arrest has been made in the shooting, which occurred at 3 a.m. on June 7. Witnesses said Bierbrodt was shot twice by a young male on a bicycle after a short verbal exchange related to the bicyclist's rap music.

The doctor treating Bierbrodt, 24, who was pitching for Class A Charleston on his way back to the majors after experiencing control problems during spring training, said Tuesday Bierbrodt was lucky to be alive.

The small-caliber bullets, one that first passed through flesh on Bierbrodt's right arm, entered his chest, traversed through his diaphragm (the muscle between the chest and the abdomen) and ended up in his liver, where doctors have left them.

PEP TALK: Pitching coach Jackie Brown met with Victor Zambrano in another attempt to boost the reliever's confidence.

Zambrano walked five over two innings Friday. Though he hasn't allowed a run in his past two outings, he's walked 11 in his past 82/3 innings.

"One thing he told me (during spring training) was, 'I've got to be better this year.' That's pretty much the key to this whole thing," Brown said. "He's not trusting his stuff. He thinks he has to be better because (hitters) saw him last year. He knows them too. That's what he's kind of lost track of."

MARATHON RECAP: If you fell asleep before the conclusion of Friday's 14-inning win, here are some combined totals: 14 innings, 7 runs, 18 hits, 371 pitches, 8 pitchers, 5 double plays, 104 minutes worth of rain delays, 3 ties, 1 blown save and 1 save.

Rightfielder Ben Grieve won it with a double that scored Steve Cox, who led off the 14th with a ground-rule double.

"The pitch I hit was a fastball," Grieve said. "But I saw a lot of pitches."

The start of the bottom of the 14th was delayed 66 minutes because of rain. Rays reliever Travis Harper earned his first professional save with a scoreless 14th.

"It was only fitting that I didn't go out there and go 1-2-3. I had to make it interesting by walking the first guy," Harper said. "That wasn't the plan, but those kinds of games tend to get a little crazy."

From first pitch to the last out -- rain delays included -- the game took 4 hours, 42 minutes to complete.

MINOR MATTERS: Outfielder Jason Pridie, selected by the Rays in the second round of the draft, will begin his professional career with Princeton of the Appalachian League.

Eighth-round pick Joey Gomes, an outfielder, will play for short-season Hudson Valley while pitcher Adam Moreno will join Pridie at Princeton.

In his first appearance for Double-A Orlando, Delvin James pitched four innings of relief Friday. He allowed two runs on five hits and got the loss.

ODDS AND ENDS: Centerfielder Randy Winn led the American League with a .434 batting average this month through Friday. ... Rays starters had gone nine innings in three consecutive games. The A's were the last team to accomplish that when Tim Hudson, Gil Heredia and Barry Zito pitched complete games from Sept. 8-10, 2000. ... The Rays, who went 194 consecutive games without a complete game, were tied with the Cubs, Indians, Mets and Marlins for second in the majors with five complete games.


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