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Another curve for pitching rotation

By MARC TOPKIN
Published June 10, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG - The Devil Rays decided to shuffle their pitching rotation again after all.

Team officials said Monday only that Dewon Brazelton, who was scheduled to start tonight, had been pushed back to Wednesday and that a replacement would be called up from the minors.

That pitcher is expected to be right-hander Jason Standridge, given the pretty good indication that he was scratched from a scheduled Monday night start at Triple-A Durham.

Standridge, who began the season on the disabled list, is 2-3 with a 4.47 ERA for the Bulls in nine games, allowing 50 hits and 19 walks in 461/3 innings.

A 1997 first-round pick, Standridge made his major-league debut in July 2001 but seemed to fall out of favor last season with Rays coaches and officials. He was called up May 15 last year, made one three-inning relief appearance at Yankee Stadium (allowing three runs on seven hits) and shipped back to Triple A for the rest of the season.

Standridge, 24, will be the 11th starter used by the Rays in 62 games.

Uncertain was how the Rays would make room on the roster, whether they would send Jorge Sosa back to the minors or ship out a position player.

Brazelton is expected to start Wednesday, followed by Jeremi Gonzalez and Victor Zambrano. Carlos Reyes could start Saturday.

SENIOR JUNIOR: Injuries have robbed him of playing time and kept him from adding to his impressive numbers, but Ken Griffey Jr. is one of the game's special players. Lou Piniella is well aware, having managed him for seven seasons in Seattle.

"He's a good guy and a heck of a player," Piniella said. "I enjoyed having him. It spoils you a little bit as a manager when you get players of that caliber. I look forward to seeing him."

WELCOME BACK: Paul Wilson may not have had much success during his 21/2 seasons with the Rays, but there were few players who worked as hard and cared as much.

He pitches against the Rays tonight, and the start will be a significant one for him. "I'm going to think about this one a little bit more because of where we're going and who it is," Wilson told MLB.com.

GOOD CAUSE: Travis Lee was happy to be the Rays' representative in the CaP Cure campaign, which raises money for prostate cancer research through donations based on the number of homers hit in certain games during the week leading up to Father's Day.

"So many guys in our game have had prostate cancer, and hopefully we can figure this thing out and knock it out," Lee said.

Batting coach Lee Elia, a prostate cancer survivor, said: "It's great baseball makes itself available to find a cure for that."

All players and on-field personnel will wear blue bands and/or temporary tattoos on Sunday to promote awareness. To contribute, call 1-800-547-2873 CURE, or go online to www.capcure.org

SEEING RED: Having the Reds in town will stir some wistful memories of their long spring training history in Tampa and then Plant City. It also will bring back some good feelings for Piniella, who managed the Reds to the 1990 World Series championship in his first year on the job.

"I had a real pleasant three years with the Reds," he said. "That's the highlight of my managing career."

MISCELLANY: Rookie centerfielder Rocco Baldelli moved into the top 10 in voting for the AL All-Star squad with 127,626 ballots cast. ... Top draft pick Delmon Young canceled plans to play in the inaugural high school All-America All-Star Game on Monday in New Jersey, according to USA Today, because Rays officials wanted to meet with him in California. ... Toby Hall has raised his average from .218 to .278 in the past seven weeks, going 40-for-127. ... Brazelton will speak today on overcoming obstacles in life to children at the Watson Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired in Largo. ... With a doubleheader the next day at Yankee Stadium, the Rays will call up several pitchers from the minors to work Monday's Hall of Fame exhibition game against the Phillies in Cooperstown, N.Y.

[Last modified June 10, 2003, 06:30:41]

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