tampabay.com

Cantu seeking some clarity about future

In welcoming back 3B Akinori Iwamura for tonight's game at Tropicana Field, the Devil Rays are expected to say goodbye to either INF Jorge Cantu or OF Jonny Gomes.

By MARC TOPKIN
Published May 28, 2007


CHICAGO - In welcoming back 3B Akinori Iwamura for tonight's game at Tropicana Field, the Devil Rays are expected to say goodbye to either INF Jorge Cantu or OF Jonny Gomes.

Neither, obviously, is keen on being sent back to Triple A, but Cantu suggested Sunday that he would not take another demotion well and could again demand a trade.

"If they send me down again, we are going to have to talk things through, " he said. "It would be clear to everybody that they don't think I have any future with them."

When Cantu was sent down at the end of spring training, he raised the possibility of not going to Durham and had his agent demand a trade, but he eventually reported and handled things professionally. He was recalled April 24 after Iwamura's injury and hit .269 in 10 games.

"I'm coming to the point now where I've got to make sure I'm going to continue with my career, " Cantu, 25, said. "If they decide to go that way again, so be it."

Gomes, hitting .184 with one home run in only 49 at-bats, said he wouldn't be surprised if it's him. "The guys with the lowest at-bats are usually high on the totem pole for going down, so they could definitely be looking at me, but I hope not, " Gomes, 26, said. "It's a business, and that would be a business move."

The decision is complicated by the current makeup of the roster. If Gomes is sent down, the Rays could be short on outfielders, with only starters Carl Crawford, Elijah Dukes, Delmon Young and B.J. Upton, who is the starter at second. But Cantu could provide infield depth and has been slightly more productive, though he doesn't have an extra-base hit.

SO LONG, SEO? The net result of Saturday's rainout is that Jae Seo is out of the rotation and the Rays have not committed to giving the struggling right-hander (3-4, 8.10 ERA, .366 opponents average) another start. Edwin Jackson, who was to pitch Saturday, will start tonight, with Casey Fossum moved back to Tuesday and James Shields taking his regular turn Wednesday. The Rays are off Thursday, and Scott Kazmir would be in line to pitch Friday, with Jackson, Fossum and Shields following on regular rest.

Manager Joe Maddon said Seo would be available in the bullpen for the Detroit series.

TRIPLE TIME: Crawford's seventh-inning triple not only delivered the go-ahead run, but it was his first at U.S. Cellular Field, the only current AL stadium he had not tripled in. Crawford also extended his hitting streak to 10 games.

CATCHING ON: Shawn Riggans went 1-for-5 in his first start and, more important, said his once sore right elbow felt good. He is likely to start again tonight and if he has no problems share more playing time with starter Dioner Navarro.

MISCELLANY: Maddon said he might hit Iwamura seventh when Carlos Pena is hitting fifth (usually against right-handers) to avoid having lefties hit back to back . ... Sox C Toby Hall was 0-for-4 in his first game against his ex-mates. ... The Rays had a season-high 15 hits for the third time. ... Chicago's Pablo Ozuna fractured his right fibula and tore an ankle ligament when rounding first base in the first inning.