tampabay.com

Huff refusing to stop harassing former team

The former Devil Ray has five homers in 12 games against Tampa Bay this season.

By EDUARDO A. ENCINA
Published August 29, 2007


BALTIMORE - Former Devil Ray and current Oriole Aubrey Huff has saved his best for the Rays.

Huff hit his fifth homer in 12 games against his former teamin the sixth inning Tuesday, one of six by the Orioles on the night and the last of three against struggling starter Jason Hammel.

He entered the game hitting .372 against the Rays; he has hit .256 against all other teams this season. Also, his 10 RBIs against the Rays are nearly one-sixth of his season total (61).

Huff's homer, a solo shot, came at a most opportune time, with two outs in the inning after Hammel had retired 10 of the last 11 he had faced.

DUKES SIGHTING: Inactive Ray OF Elijah Dukes was back on the field Monday night, coaching first base for the independent Charlotte County Redfish of the South Coast League.

Dukes was in Port Charlotte to meet with Redfish manager Cecil Fielder, a slugging three-time All-Star, before the game. The Rays knew about his meeting with Fielder, but Dukes coaching first was news to them.

Dukes was placed on the inactive list on June 22.

BACK TO CLASS: First-round pick David Price, who has been throwing bullpen sessions and getting accustomed to pro baseball at Class A Columbus, returns to Vanderbilt for the first day of classes today.

Price, who received a six-year major-league deal that could be worth as much as $11.25-million, is taking 12 credits this semester, which he enters 36 short of earning his sociology degree.

He is slated to return to baseball five days into instructional league, Sept.21, and be able to spend 17 days there, including three weekends.

WHEELS OFF: Rays reliever Dan Wheeler took the blame for Monday's 5-4 loss after he allowed a homer to White Sox rookie Josh Fields that ended up being the difference, an action manager Joe Maddon said he was pleased with.

"I love the man," Maddon said. "I've only known him for a month but we need more of that; the accountability he demonstrates is remarkable and professional and we all appreciate how he is."

MINOR MATTERS: Triple-A Durham RHP Jeff Niemann allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out six Monday, earning his IL-leading 12th win in his second start back from shoulder problems. He threw 87 pitches. ... Double-A Montgomery RHP Chris Mason won his 15th, tying the organizational single-season record shared by Columbus' Lewis Rollins and Andy Sonnanstine.

MISCELLANY: The Rays are awaiting the results of a series of tests done on CF Rocco Baldelli, but the 25-year-old resumed working out Tuesday. ... RHP Scott Dohmann's streak of not allowing an earned run ended at 152/3 innings. ... Carl Crawford's RBI single in the eighth was his 44th hit in August, tying Huff's club record for a month.