tampabay.com

Huff shrugs off any revenge factor

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published May 10, 2007


BALTIMORE - Aubrey Huff left Tampa Bay as the most decorated hitter in Devil Rays history. He owns pretty much every Rays career offensive record - including games, runs, hits, homers and RBIs - but Wednesday night, he dealt a brutal blow to his former team.

The Orioles DH hit the game-winning homer, connecting off Rays reliever Brian Stokes with one out in the 10th inning to give Baltimore a 1-0 win.

But Huff, who played in a franchise-record 799 games with the Devil Rays, said he didn't think about beating Tampa Bay as he watched his ball sail over the left-centerfield fence.

"It feels good regardless," Huff said. "Honestly, I didn't know who I was playing when the ball landed in the outfield and you saw it go over the fence. I guess it's a little bragging rights over the guys over there, I don't know.

"I was hoping I had got enough," Huff added.

NO USE COMPLAINING: Before Wednesday's game, Rays LF Carl Crawford was still talking about his hit that bounced off the top of the right-centerfield wall, bounced off an out-of-play wall behind it and into play and was ruled a double instead of a home run. Crawford and manager Joe Maddon argued, and TV replays showed the ball was indeed a homer, but it wasn't overturned.

"You learn how to live with those kind of things and keep going," Crawford said. "I know this is a useless cause. Why argue? It's like, why give myself a headache?"

The call raised the question of whether instant replay could help avert missed home run calls.

"I've often thought cameras on foul poles would be a good idea," Maddon said. "There are some field examples like the one last night. I'm really not opposed to attempting to working something out on home runs. The rest of the game I would not touch."

ROTATING CENTER: Elijah Dukes, who made his 16th start in centerfield Wednesday, is a remarkably different player when he plays the field vs. being the team's DH.

After an 0-for-4 night Wednesday, Dukes is batting .246 (16-for-65) in centerfield and just .143 (4-for-28) in his seven starts as DH. In the meantime, Maddon said he will rotate Dukes and Rocco Baldelli between CF and DH.

AKI UPDATE: Maddon said 3B Akinori Iwamura, who went on the DL April 24 and was slated to be out four-six weeks with a strained right oblique, is ahead of schedule and could participate in extended spring training games Wednesday.

MISCELLANY: Rays 2B B.J. Upton's career-high 10-game hitting was snapped with an 0-for-5 night. ... Wednesday's game was the third in club history in which the Rays and their opponent were both scoreless after nine innings. The Rays have lost all three games. ... With left-hander Erik Bedard pitching, right-handed hitting Jorge Cantu made his third start at 1B and was 2-for-2. ... After missing two games, Greg Norton was 2-for-4 at Double-A Montgomery as he continues his rehab from right knee surgery.