tampabay.com

Corcoran's win goes 'just as planned'

By DAMIAN CRISTODERO
Published June 25, 2006


ST. PETERSBURG - Devil Rays pitcher Tim Corcoran spent most of his time before Saturday's game playing cards with teammate Jon Switzer.

He said he didn't alter his routine except to get his right shoulder rubbed down.

Veteran-like stuff for a rookie making his first major-league start of the season. And a pretty sober assessment after he allowed the Braves one run on four hits in five innings to get his first major-league win.

"I think," Corcoran said, "it all went just about as planned."

Corcoran always has been a reliever in the Rays' scheme. He made one start last season, a throwaway in the final game.

But when Seth McClung was sent to Triple-A Durham, Corcoran, called up six days earlier, was in the rotation. Manager Joe Maddon said the move was a natural, and Corcoran will get at least one more start.

"Honestly, the way he's been handling this whole thing and how he's just been around here, I thought he would be fine," Maddon said.

The Rays wanted Corcoran to pitch five or six innings. Corcoran, with his father, sister and girlfriend at the Trop, said he wanted to throw between 75 and 80 pitches. He threw 74, mostly fastballs and sinkers, but with a few well-timed curveballs.

"I went into it with the same attitude," Corcoran said. "Throw strikes, let them hit it and let the defense play behind me."

"The guy kept us in the game," leftfielder Carl Crawford said. "That's all you can ask for."

Corcoran got a beer shower from his teammates as a thank you.

"It was cold," Corcoran said.

Not that he minded.

"This," he said of the win, "was a childhood dream come true."

DEFENSIVE GEMS:

Crawford proved again his game is not all in the batter's box.

He robbed Scott Thorman in the ninth inning with a leaping catch at the wall. He threw out Andruw Jones at second base in the fourth after misplaying Jones' single.

"I got caught in between," Crawford said. "It was one of those you think you want to dive, and then you don't. I was lucky the ball didn't bounce all the way to the wall."

LOOKING SNAZZY:

The first thing catcher Josh Paul thought when he saw the 1975 Tampa Tarpons uniforms the Rays wore for Turn Back the Clock night was: "They're awfully red."

Not surprising. The Tarpons, part of the Florida State League until 1987, were a Reds farm team.

"I like the white and red," said shortstop Julio Lugo, the Rays' fashion conscious. "They go well together, especially with red shoes."

The Braves wore their blue pullovers from the same year.

For Paul, there was no comparison. "We look hot," he said, strictly tongue-in-cheek.

ONLINE AUCTION:

Each Rays/Tarpons uniform will be autographed by the player wearing it and auctioned at devilrays.com.

MINOR MATTERS:

McClung made his first relief appearance for Triple-A Durham and pitched two perfect innings with two strikeouts as the Bulls fell 7-4 to Ottawa.

FUTURE SHOCK:

Nick Fuller, the Rays' third-round draft pick, must decide whether to sign or accept a scholarship to the University of South Carolina. A bullpen session at the Trop was gentle persuasion.

Not that it was necessary. Fuller said he is 90 percent sure he will sign with Tampa Bay. "It was always my dream to play major-league baseball," he said.

MISCELLANY:

Aubrey Huff extended his hitting streak to nine games, in which he is batting .471 (16-for-34) with nine RBIs. ... Chad Harville earned his second career save. His first was Sept. 24, 2003, for the A's against the Rangers. ... Rays hitting coach Steve Henderson (1975), third-base coach Tom Foley (1979) and Braves bench coach Pat Corales (1960) played for the Tarpons.