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Torre to Mondesi: Do things right way

By Times staff writers
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 28, 2002

ST. PETERSBURG -- Rays players didn't think much of it, but Yankees manager Joe Torre took exception to Raul Mondesi carrying his bat down the first-base line after hitting a ninth-inning home run Friday.

The Yankees rightfielder had been hit by reliever Travis Phelps in the sixth.

"We talked about that when he came in," Torre said. "We don't do that here. I guess he's had some problems here, been hit a couple of times last time he was here. That was part of (his) explanation."

Rays pitchers have hit Mondesi four times during his career, including twice this season. Mondesi said the bat-toting incident was an "accident."

"I don't like it," Torre said. "You want to have respect for each other, respect for your opponent. ... When you go out there, play hard and have respect for the people you play. You never take anybody for granted."

SCOUTING AROUND: The Rays won't do anything immediately to replace scouting director Dan Jennings, who left Friday for a job with the Marlins.

Cam Bonifay, who as director of player personnel oversees the scouting and minor-league departments, said the scouts will continue with their pro and amateur coverage as planned.

Eventually, the Rays will decide whether to hire a new scouting director, whether to hire a farm director and have Bonifay handle the scouting director duties, or whether to hire administrators and have Bonifay in charge of both departments.

"At the appropriate time we'll make a decision on how we want to run it," Bonifay said. "It will depend in part on the experience level of the people we talk to. It's something we have to deal with this week."

TRADE TALK: Centerfielder Randy Winn continues to be in the news out west where one report had the Rays "demanding a king's ransom in cash and prospects" from the Giants for him.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Saturday the Rays have "no desire or incentive to trade Winn ... but are accepting calls just to gauge his worth." According to ESPN's Peter Gammons, Tampa Bay wants "farm systems" for Winn but could trade pitchers Paul Wilson and Esteban Yan.

"It's flattering for the most part," Winn said. "People out there see what you're doing and they think that you can help a ballclub. It's flattering in that sense, but either something happens or not."

GETTING ON TRACK: Just because he has one win in 21 starts this season, pitcher Tanyon Sturtze doesn't consider this a lost season.

The right-hander, who leads the American League in hits allowed (169), hopes to start salvaging the rest of the season today. It's his first start since allowing nine runs on eight hits in 21/3 innings Tuesday against the Red Sox.

"I think a strong finish would cancel out a lot of stuff," Sturtze said. "Rattle off six or seven wins, that would erase a bunch of things."

MINOR MATTERS: Rookie-level Princeton first baseman Gabriel Martinez hit for the cycle on Friday against Bristol, the fifth Rays minor-leaguer to do so. The others: Matt Quatraro (Charleston, 1997), Matt Diaz (St. Petersburg, 2000), Luis De Paula (Hudson Valley, 2000) and Jose Guillen (Durham, 2000). ... Outfielder Rocco Baldelli is hitting .440 (12-for-25) since being promoted to Double-A Orlando. Shortstop Jace Brewer, however, is hitting .077 (2-for-26).

STATISTICAL ODDITY: The Rays through Friday had the lowest batting average of any AL team (.246) and had scored the fewest runs (406). But somehow they also had the best average in the majors with the bases loaded: .451 (32-for-71.)

MISCELLANY: Today is the Rays wives annual canned food and personal care item drive benefiting the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. Fans bringing five items get a voucher for an outfield ticket to an August game. ... Rays TV voice Dewayne Staats and fill-in Larry Dierker shared a broadcast booth for the first time since 1984. ... Friday's loss was the Rays' 29th in which they got the tying or go-ahead run to the plate.

-- KEVIN KELLY, MARC TOPKIN


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