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Winn to find out if he's Star material

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published June 30, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- The consensus around the clubhouse is that centerfielder Randy Winn will be named today as the team's All-Star representative.

Players will be notified before the game.

Asked whether he was curious to find out if he was going to be a first-time All-Star, Winn took a conservative approach.

"We'll know at this time tomorrow," he said after Saturday's 3-2 loss. "I'm more worried about the game (today) than anything else."

Winn added to a stellar June by equaling another club mark when he doubled in the seventh inning for his 18th extra-base hit this month. Former Rays first baseman Fred McGriff had 18 in May 1999.

Winn has a club record 40 hits and a .360 batting average this month.

And while nobody called manager Hal McRae to ask who might be most deserving to make the All-Star team, he gave an endorsement to Winn before the game.

"I would bet that Winny makes it," McRae said. "But I don't know. Nobody asked me. I think if they were to ask me that's who I would suggest."

REFOCUSING: Placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with soreness in his right knee, pitcher Ryan Rupe threw for approximately 12 minutes in the bullpen before batting practice.

"He just threw easy," pitching coach Jackie Brown said. "I just wanted to get him familiar with the mound."

Brown wants Rupe to focus on correcting a minor mechanical flaw in his delivery. The right-hander will be eligible to come off the DL Friday.

INDEPENDENT RELEASE: Long Beach Breakers general manager Jerry Schoenfeld said pitcher Matt Harrington has been released outright from the independent Western League team.

That could be good news for the Rays, who picked the right-hander in the 13th round of this month's draft and believe it best for Harrington's development to get in a structured minor-league program soon.

"He's very velocity-oriented right now and he's trying to show people, scouts and administrators again that the kid everyone saw in high school is still there," Long Beach pitching coach John Curtis told Baseball America.

"But more importantly, he's not able to get on with his pitching education. One, he needs to pitch against kids his own age and development level, and he needs to get on with his professional life."

THE STUDENT: Few were happier to see catcher Toby Hall recalled from Triple-A Durham last week than bullpen coach Glenn Ezell.

"It's good to have him back," said Ezell, who works with the catchers daily. "I think he came back ready to be here. I'm not saying he wasn't ready to be here before he left, but he came back like he was supposed to come back.

"Hopefully the things we discuss, do and work on are going to be things that help him improve and become the type of player we all think he can be."

CROWD WATCHER: Besides the Giants, who are believed to be interested in acquiring Winn, two other teams had a significant presence at Tropicana Field. The Reds had three scouts in attendance and the Rangers two.

ODDS AND ENDS: Joe Kennedy's fourth complete game of the season tied him with former teammate Albie Lopez for most in a season by a Ray. ... It was the seventh complete game in the past 36 for the Rays, who had gone a major-league record 194 without one before this stretch. ... Rightfielder Ben Grieve's double in the fourth was his 12th in June, a club record. First baseman Steve Cox and second baseman Brent Abernathy have hit in nine consecutive games. ... Highlights from Steve Kent and Jason Smith's recent trip to Alcatraz will air on Fox Sports Net Florida at 9:30 a.m. ... Players and coaches from Bloomingdale High's state semifinalist baseball team were recognized pregame.

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