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Mori's debut delayed by stiffness in shoulder
By MARC TOPKIN
Published March 4, 2006
ST. PETERSBURG - Shinji Mori was eager to make his major-league exhibition debut and show that he fit in with the rest of the Devil Rays pitchers.
Instead, he ended up in the trainer's room, his first appearance delayed at least a few days because of discomfort in his shoulder.
Mori, through an interpreter, described it as "a little bit of stiffness" but said he has had a similar condition in Japan during spring training and was not overly concerned.
"It's not a huge problem," he said.
Mori was completing his warmups to enter Friday's game - a 4-2 win over a Toronto split squad - when he notified the coaches something was not right.
"I felt I could have thrown but it's the beginning of the spring season so I decided to take a break," Mori said. "I didn't want to get a serious injury."
Manager Joe Maddon said Mori had "a little bit of soreness" in a muscle in the back of his shoulder known as the teres minor. "It's a problem with the teres minor but it's not major," Maddon said.
Mori will be examined today by team orthopedist Dr. Koco Eaton.
PITCHING IN: Top starter Scott Kazmir was pleased with his two-inning spring debut, working mostly on fastball command. "I'd call it a good day," Kazmir said. ... Lefty Chris Seddon, a top prospect, had an impressive two-inning stint as well.
GAME DETAILS: The Rays improved to 2-0 for the third time in their nine seasons thanks to a four-run fourth that featured doubles by Nick Green, Luis Ordaz and Damon Hollins and more aggressive baserunning, including Hollins smartly taking third on a throw and later scoring.
"We're doing things that I want to see us do," Maddon said.
MATTER OF BUSINESS: The Rays reached standard one-year deals with 17 of their players with 0-3 years' service time but renewed the contract of the one they couldn't agree with: second baseman Jorge Cantu, who ended up with a raise from $316,900 to $355,800 after leading the team in homers and RBIs.
"We had a difference of opinion on Jorge's value," agent Steve Canter said. "Every club can set their own salary structure. Jorge knows his reward is just around the corner and he's focusing on getting ready for the season."
Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman said: "It's merely part of the process. We agreed to disagree."
BACK IN ACTION: Shortstop Julio Lugo rejoined the Rays on Friday after missing three days to resolve a personal matter that involved bringing his 4-month old son to Florida from the Dominican Republic.
"It was something I wanted to take care of before the season started," Lugo said. "Everything's fine, and I'm glad it worked out."
Maddon said he understood: "It was a personal situation and I respect that. Family always comes before a game."
C.C. RISING: Carl Crawford, recovering from a left wrist bruise, said he "can't wait" to take his first live swings today in the controlled environment of a 10 a.m. B game against the Mexican League Aguilas de Vera Cruz at the Raymond Naimoli training complex, 7901 30th Ave. N. Also scheduled to play are B.J. Upton and Delmon Young. Admission is free.
MISCELLANY: The Marlins have a scout watching Joey Gathright, among other outfielders, with the idea of a late spring trade for a young pitcher. ... David Howard resigned as manager of the Rays' Class A SW Michigan team to take a job with the Easton equipment company and will be replaced by coach Skeeter Barnes. ... Ex-Ray Fred McGriff was at Friday's game to gather material for his weekly radio show, heard Saturdays 10 a.m.-noon on WDAE-AM 620. ... Mark Hendrickson will throw out the first pitch today at the Seminole Little League and Kazmir will do the same at Tampa's Bayshore Little League.