By MIKE READLING
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 6, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- Bryan Rekar didn't get the best of starts during his first appearance on the mound this season -- the Rays committed four errors in the first two innings and dug him a 5-0 hole.
But he also didn't do much to help himself, committing one of those errors on a bouncer back to the mound and giving up two doubles during that span.
What bothered him the most about his six-inning 2001 debut Thursday, though, was that he turned from a pitcher to a thrower. He got out of his game plan and hurt himself even more.
"My job is to stop the bleeding and I didn't get that done," Rekar said. "I messed up and tried to get out of some situations. I tried throwing the ball, not pitching the ball."
Rekar took the loss, allowing two earned runs on seven hits, striking out three and intentionally walking Carlos Delgado. The Blue Jays hit three doubles and a triple off him and scored at least one run in each of the first four innings.
Rekar finished strong by retiring nine of the last 11 batters he faced.
"He kept it together pretty good," manager Larry Rothschild said. "He battled throughout and that is all you can ask him to do. There will be better days ahead for him."
OFF THE WALL: Centerfielder Gerald Williams ran hard into the wall trying to catch a Tony Batista triple in the eighth inning. Williams fell, got up and threw the ball back to the infield and stayed in the game until Rothschild pinch hit for him in the bottom half of the inning.
Rothschild said Williams was fine and that he planned to hit for him anyway. D-RAY DEBUT: Ariel Prieto made his Rays debut, pitching two innings of relief and allowing three hits. The Rays signed Prieto during the last week of spring training after he was released by Cleveland.
"It felt good to pitch," Prieto said. "I just have to pitch now that they gave me the opportunity to show that I can come back and pitch again in baseball."
UNCORKED: While there was no action taken during the game, talk continued about Ken Hill's accusation that Batista used a corked bat when he hit a 407-foot, broken bat home run Wednesday night.
"It's hard to tell. It looked funny when he hit it," Rothschild said. "I don't know whether it was corked or not corked."
EVERYBODY GETS IN: When Jose Guillen pinch hit in the ninth he became the last position player to see his first action of the season. Guillen was preceded that inning by Russ Johnson and Damian Rolls as pinch-hitters making their first appearances.
Mike Judd is the only non-starting pitcher to have sat out all three games while Ryan Rupe and Travis Harper are scheduled to start today and Saturday.
BOO-TOWN: The Red Sox play at home for the first time today, which means both teams will be introduced player by player and line up on the first- and third-base lines. It also means Boston fans will get their first opportunity to jeer Rothschild and Williams since a bench-clearing brawl in September with Pedro Martinez on the mound.
"I guess we won't know until we get there," Rothschild said. "I'm not worried about being popular in Boston. We'll see what happens."