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Vaughn sits, waits, doesn't complain

By KEVIN KELLY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published September 15, 2002

TORONTO -- If Greg Vaughn is unhappy about his lack of playing time, the veteran isn't letting on.

Since being activated from the 15-day disabled list when rosters expanded Sept. 1, Vaughn has not played, or even been on deck for the possibility of pinch hitting, in any of the 13 games since.

"We've talked so we know where we are and where we're going," manager Hal McRae said.

Vaughn missed 63 games after bruising his right shoulder running into the leftfield wall June 22 at Coors Field. He has batted .163 with eight homers and 29 RBIs in the 69 games he has appeared in.

Outfielders Carl Crawford and Damian Rolls were recalled while Vaughn was out.

"It's tough not being able to play, but I understand (McRae's) position," Vaughn said. "He's trying to figure out what the younger guys can do on an everyday basis so he has an idea of what's going on next year.

"It's a situation where you've just got to ride it out, keep working hard."

The primary goal for Vaughn, whose range of motion when throwing continues to improve, is to get as healthy as possible for next season.

"I just want to get healthy," said Vaughn, who will earn $9.25-million next season in the final year of his contract. "That would be good enough."

HAPPY TO BE BACK: Twelve days after sustaining three gunshot wounds while ordering at a Waffle House in Raleigh, N.C., Delvin James made his first appearance for the Rays since being recalled from Triple A.

The 24-year-old, whose last major-league outing was May 8 against the Yankees, allowed two runs on three hits in the eighth inning Saturday.

"Just to be here feels good," James said. "Of course I would've liked to go out there and do a better job. Just being out there again and knowing I had a chance to be out there again is a much greater feeling than probably anything I've ever experienced."

THE RIGHT THOUGHT: Gambling that Blue Jays manager Carlos Tosca would bring in right-handed closer Kelvim Escobar with the bases loaded and two outs in the ninth, McRae pinch hit for left-hander Ben Grieve.

John Flaherty, who bats right-handed, appeared on deck. That prompted Tosca to replace lefty Jason Kershner with Escobar. McRae countered with left-handed hitting Steve Cox.

Representing the potential tying run, Cox lined out to centerfield to end the game.

"That's a better matchup although (Escobar) is tough," McRae said. "You try to tie the ballgame and we figured the home run is what you're looking for and your chances are better (with Cox). It's a better matchup, although not much better since the guy is a closer."

HOMER HAPPY: First baseman Carlos Delgado extended the Blue Jays' record for home runs by one team against the Rays with homers in the second and fifth off Tanyon Sturtze.

The Blue Jays have hit 93 over five seasons.

Delgado has 19, moving past Boston's Manny Ramirez for most by a Rays opponent. He and teammate Josh Phelps finished 6-for-6 with 2 walks, 3 homers, 6 RBIs and 6 runs.

"I didn't throw any good pitches and they did what they're supposed to do," said Sturtze, who after giving up three homers holds the team record for most allowed in a season (32). "I felt fine today warming up. I just didn't execute any pitches all the way through. I deserve what I got."

ODDS AND ENDS: Felix Escalona and Russ Johnson are scheduled to return to the lineup at shortstop and third base today. Brent Abernathy might be at second. ... The Rays have scored two or fewer in 50 games. ... In their past 11 losses, Tampa Bay has been outscored 87-26. ... The Rays are 1-18-3 in their past 22 series.

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