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Rays sign Trammell to deal

The outfielder will be sent to Durham, but he hopes his stay in the minors is only temporary.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published April 11, 2004

ST. PETERSBURG - Bubba is back - kind of.

Bubba Trammell, one of the most popular players in Devil Rays history, rejoined the organization Saturday by signing a Triple-A contract.

The Rays say they signed Trammell to play at Durham and have no plans to add him to the big-league roster. But Trammell, released last month by the Dodgers, hopes it will be only a matter of time.

"I've wanted to be back here for a while," Trammell said Saturday. "When I left here, I really didn't want to leave and I felt like I left some unfinished business here. I'd like to try to get back up to the big club as soon as possible and help out. ... I like what they've done in the organization, and I'd like to be part of it again."

Trammell, 32, played with the Rays from 1998-2000 as an outfielder and DH, developing something of a cult following among Tropicana Field fans. He was traded to the Mets in July 2000, to the Padres in December 2000 and, after signing a lucrative contract, to the Yankees in March 2003.

But he left the Yankees mysteriously in June for personal reasons that were described as depression. After settling a grievance over his 2004 pay (he gets $1.55-million from the commissioner's office plus $300,000 from whatever team he's with), he came back this spring with the Dodgers but was let go after hitting .255 with three homers and 10 RBIs.

Trammell, who lives in St. Petersburg, said Saturday his problems are behind him. "It's in the past," he said. "I'm looking forward to playing baseball."

He is expected to join Durham on Wednesday,

"I know (player personnel director Cam Bonifay) and the folks in Durham are looking for some right-handed power and, who knows, if he gets his feet on the ground it may lead to more time in the major leagues," Rays general manager Chuck LaMar said. "Whether he ever plays here or not, with our outfield situation, is yet to be seen. But I would think he's going to help the Durham club and hopefully get his career back on track."

- Staff writer Pete Young contributed to this report.

[Last modified April 11, 2004, 01:05:45]

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