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Trade possibilities starting to shrink

By TOM JONES
Published July 30, 2003

TORONTO - Thursday's nonwaiver trade deadline moved another day closer, but the Devil Rays didn't move any closer to a deal.

Though plenty could change before Thursday, the Rays, for the moment, don't appear to be on the verge of making any trades.

"It's less likely," manager Lou Piniella said. "We've been looking for young position players. That's what we've really been focusing on. So far, nothing has been offered that really (excites) us."

There's that, and this: Most of the players other teams are interested in acquiring are players the Rays are interested in keeping.

"That's probably the bigger thing," Piniella said.

That list likely includes young pitchers such as Joe Kennedy and Victor Zambrano.

Veteran pitchers that might be pried away from the Rays include reliever Al Levine and starter Jeremi Gonzalez, but it isn't known if they can bring the returns the Rays want.

SHATTERED: There's a huge rock concert outside Toronto tonight featuring the Rolling Stones, Rush, AC/DC, the Guess Who and, talk about an odd addition to the bill, Justin Timberlake. Anyway, Rays second baseman Marlon Anderson can look on the bright side. He can go if he wants. His three-game suspension for his role in last month's brawl with the Pirates was upheld after an appeal and began Tuesday night.

But he wasn't happy.

"It's ridiculous," he said.

Anderson thought for sure he would have his sentence reduced by at least a game.

"You have guys charging the mound, and they get a two-game suspension or a game taken off (their suspension)," he said. "It's absolutely ridiculous. ... Definitely not the right call."

The only positive to come out of his appeal was his fine was reduced from $1,500 to $1,000.

"They reduced the fine, but I can't help the team sitting in a hotel," Anderson said. "It's disappointing."

CALL TO ARMS: The Rays are just about ready to get a few sneak peeks at their minor-league pitching. Piniella hinted the Rays will start calling up pitchers from the minors soon, perhaps even on this road trip, which ends Sunday.

"We do have some pitching and even though they might not be quite ready, the experience is going to do them a world of good," Piniella said. "Plus, it gives us a chance to evaluate."

The likely candidates are Northeast High product Doug Waechter and Evan Rust from Triple-A Durham and Jon Switzer from Double-A Orlando.

TAMPA CONNECTION: New Reds manager Dave Miley, who took over for the fired Bob Boone on Monday, is a native of Tampa, just like Piniella.

Piniella said he didn't know Miley, but he's proud Miley is part of the Tampa club. That gives the majors four managers from Tampa, including St. Louis' Tony La Russa and Toronto's Carlos Tosca.

"That's a lot," Piniella said. "Al Lopez got it all started."

It isn't surprising, though, considering all the players who have come out of Tampa.

Piniella said with a smile, "Notice only the ones who weren't quite that good are the ones who manage."

CINCINNATI CONNECTION: Fired along with Boone on Monday was general manager Jim Bowden, who worked with Piniella in Cincinnati and in New York with the Yankees. Bowden was the Reds' farm director when Piniella managed the Reds from 1990-92. Bowden became the general manager a year after Piniella left the Reds.

Piniella, perhaps knowing rumors soon might start that Bowden will be coming to Tampa Bay, said little about his firing, only that it was unusual the general manager and manager were fired at the same time.

"That's odd," Piniella said.

The rumors of Bowden to Tampa Bay should start any day now, but it's not believed to be a likely scenario.

CHANGES: Don't be surprised if the Rays make a couple of roster moves today by bringing up infielders Jared Sandberg and Jeff Liefer from Durham. It isn't known whom they will replace, but it could be one position player and one pitcher.

[Last modified July 30, 2003, 01:33:02]

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