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Rose joins pen with a shot at starting

By MARC TOPKIN, JOHN ROMANO

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 25, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Doing what they can in a tight market to bolster their pitching staff, the Rays claimed Brian Rose off waivers Tuesday.

Rose, 25, was 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in three relief appearances for the Mets this season. The 25-year-old right-hander pitched previously for the Red Sox and Rockies.

The Rays aren't sure what they will do with Rose, who in parts of five seasons has a 15-21 record and 5.63 ERA in 61 games (51 starts). He will go into the bullpen when he joins the team today, but he could be a candidate to move into the No. 5 spot in the rotation if Mike Judd has another tough outing Saturday.

"Brian Rose is a young pitcher that has shown signs of being a competent major-leaguer when given the opportunity," general manager Chuck LaMar said.

The Mets waived Rose to make room for Benny Agbayani who came off the disabled list Tuesday. The Rays paid the standard $20,000 waiver fee.

The Rays will have to make room for Rose on the roster, with one of the young relievers, Dan Wheeler or Travis Phelps, the most likely candidate to be sent to Triple A.

FRIENDLY RIVAL: Pennant races will not heat up for months, but Roberto Hernandez already is watching out-of-town results on scoreboards. The former Rays closer said he checks to see which pitchers are on the mound for Tampa Bay and watches the scoreboard to see how they are faring.

"I check the scoreboards, and then I'll call them after the game and leave a message," Hernandez said. "I try to keep in touch."

Hernandez said he keeps up with Albie Lopez, Tanyon Sturtze, Doug Creek and Esteban Yan, among others, in the Rays dugout.

Having played for four teams in the majors, Hernandez has grown accustomed to facing old friends. He never wanted to leave Tampa Bay, and he keeps his permanent residence in Pinellas County. The trade that sent him to Kansas City and brought Ben Grieve to Tampa Bay is a part of the business.

"I hope I pitch three games in a row against them; that means we're going good," Hernandez said. "You've got to remember, I didn't leave here. I was shipped out. That's a little different."

PAPERWORK SHUFFLE: Making official what had become increasingly obvious, the Rays acknowledged that pitcher Juan Guzman won't return to the majors soon.

Guzman, whose recovery from shoulder surgery seems to have stalled, was shifted from the 15- to the 60-day disabled list, which means he can't be activated until June 1.

Players on the 60-day DL are exempted from the 40-man roster, so making the shift gives the Rays flexibility.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: Tuesday marked the 100th anniversary of the first American League game: The Chicago White Sox beat the Cleveland Blues at the Chicago Cricket Club. To mark the occasion, the Rays had 100-year-old Karl Swanson, the oldest living major-leaguer, throw out the first pitch. Swanson, who played for White Sox in 1928-29, got it to the plate -- underhanded.

BITS AND PIECES: Russ Johnson was named the team's player of the week. ... Lopez, Felix Martinez, Yan, Jose Guillen and Wilson Alvarez plan to attend today's Hispanic Chamber luncheon at the Columbia restaurant in Ybor City. Admission is $15 for members, $25 for non-members. Call (813) 871-6000 for info. ... Royals star Jermaine Dye left in the third inning after fouling a ball off a knee. He is day to day with a bruise.

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