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Tyner 'thankful' to be in majors


© St. Petersburg Times, published May 26, 2001

Outfielder Jason Tyner played 50 games last year as a rookie with the Mets and Devil Rays, and that taste of the major leagues made him that much hungrier to get back after spending the first six weeks of the season at Triple-A Durham.

"Once you've been up, you really want to get back," said Tyner, who led off for his first start of the season and showed his speed, stealing second in the fifth and scoring on a single by Damian Rolls. "They pamper you up here. You go down there, and it's back to reality. I've gone to some really nice places like Yankee Stadium, and there, you're going to Scranton and Ottawa. You're not flying charter anymore, either. I just try to be thankful for what I have."

Manager Hal McRae called Tyner a "natural leadoff guy" and put him in rightfield, though he said he would likely use him Sunday in centerfield, where he has played in Durham this season.

UPS AND DOWNS: The busy comings and goings of the Rays bullpen continued Friday with another transaction, one that could signal another to come.

Right-hander Mike Judd, ineffective as a starter and unimpressive in relief, was designated for assignment after being reinstated from the 15-day disabled list. The Rays have 10 days to trade, release or clear him through waivers.

"It was a matter of who are you going to keep," said McRae, who opted to keep Brian Rose but did not commit to giving him his fourth start of the season Monday against Anaheim.

Judd carried a 4.05 ERA in eight appearances, including two starts, giving up 14 runs and 19 hits in 20 innings. He was acquired for cash from the Dodgers before the season started.

If Judd clears waivers, he'll likely be sent to Triple-A Durham, an option that reliever Tony Fiore refused Friday. Fiore, designated for assignment May 19, one week after he was called up from Durham, turned down a chance to return there and is a free agent.

His reluctance to accept the demotion isn't surprising -- Fiore hadn't taken well to the news, throwing shirts and hangers in the clubhouse after being told by McRae he wasn't trying.

THERE HE GOES AGAIN: Outfielder Ben Grieve has reached base in 32 straight games, the longest streak in the majors this year. Grieve hit a two-out run-scoring double in the third inning to extend his streak, and added a run-scoring single in the fifth. Colorado's Larry Walker also took a 31-game streak into Friday's late game against San Francisco, and Cardinals rookie Albert Pujols had a 30-game streak earlier this season. The major-league record? Joe DiMaggio reached in 74 games in 1941, a run that included his record 56-game hitting streak.

HOO-RAYS: The Rays' third annual 5K run, which starts at Tropicana Field, is at 7:30 a.m. today, with a 1-mile fun run at the same time. Registration is $18 per person. ... A less demanding option is Breakfast and a Movie with the Rays at BayWalk. For $8, children and their parents can join Rays coaches Billy Hatcher, Lee May and Bill Fischer and pitcher Rusty Meacham for a continental breakfast and screening of the new film Shrek. ... Rolls was in Brandon on Friday to honor Ivan Pesaresi, an eighth-grader at Progress Village School of the Arts as winner of the Rays-Hillsborough County Essay Contest. Rolls presented the school with a $1,000 check from the Rays of Hope foundation.

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