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Tired arm to force Wilson to skip start

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 1, 2002

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rays have another weary pitcher on their hands.

Paul Wilson, who lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed six runs Friday at the Ballpark in Arlington, will skip Thursday's scheduled start in an attempt to rest a right arm that has pitched 1781/3 innings this season.

Manager Hal McRae met with Wilson before Saturday's game.

"He said he thought I looked tired and felt I needed to miss one start instead of going out there and battling for five starts (the rest of the season)," Wilson said. "So we'll rest it for one and finish out with four good ones."

As it stands, Travis Harper, Lance Carter or a minor-league pitcher called up in the coming days will start Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Joe Kennedy, who missed Saturday's start because of a tired arm, then would pitch against the Rangers on Friday. If the Rays wanted to slip Wilson back into his spot behind Tanyon Sturtze in the rotation, his next start would be against Boston on Aug. 10.

Kennedy pitched off the mound for the first time since lasting 3 2/3 innings against the White Sox on Aug. 25 and reported no problems.

"It felt like I was back up in the 90s," he said. "My arm felt great. The first five minutes or so were a little rough, and then I felt fine after that. I was throwing pretty hard, hitting my spots, trying to get some good work in."

Wilson and Kennedy had dead-arm periods during spring training. Pitching coach Jackie Brown said going through two of those periods, one late in spring training, another late in the season, is normal.

Sturtze is the Rays' only other active starting pitcher with more than 100 innings this season. He has a team-high 188 2/3.

SPOILED HOMECOMING: With several family members and friends expected to attend Saturday's game against the Rangers, relief pitcher Brandon Backe was optioned to Triple-A Durham before the game.

The right-hander, who was born in Galveston and lives in Texas City, made nine appearances after being recalled from Double-A Orlando in mid July. In 13 innings, Backe had a 6.92 ERA.

"He needs to pitch," McRae said. "It's a good experience for him to come up here, but naturally he wasn't ready enough."

OTHER MINOR MATTERS: The Rays promoted pitcher Dewon Brazelton from Orlando to Durham, where he is scheduled to start tonight's game against Charlotte. To make room, pitcher Jose Veras was designated for assignment.

NOT TIRING: Other than the usual bumps and bruises that accompany a 162-game schedule, Randy Winn said he's feeling fine. The centerfielder's average has dipped to the low .300s during a slow August.

Winn was batting .238 this month entering Saturday.

"I've struggled a little bit," Winn said. "But it's a long season and there are ups and downs. You've got to ride it out if you're not doing as well.

"I feel good. I don't feel tired. I've got the normal bumps, aches and pains from playing throughout the season. But I feel good."

ODDS AND ENDS: Third baseman Jared Sandberg, despite playing in 84 games through Friday, ranked among the American League leaders in strikeouts. His 118 were fifth behind Mike Cameron (140), Alfonso Soriano (131), Troy Glaus (125) and Jorge Posada (123). ... Andy Sheets started at second and is likely to stay there for the near future. ... Travis Phelps left Friday's game after becoming ill between the fifth and sixth. He was in uniform Saturday. ... First-base umpire Derryl Cousins left in the seventh complaining of stomach sickness. He was taken to Arlington Memorial Hospital for evaluation.

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  • Tired arm to force Wilson to skip start
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