By MIKE READLING and MARC TOPKIN
© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 9, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- All Randy Winn needed was a break, an opportunity to play every day and show the Rays and manager Hal McRae what he can do.
Well, it wasn't a break Winn got, it was a sprain, but the 27-year-old outfielder made the most of it just the same.
When starting rightfielder Jose Guillen went down with a sprained left knee May 17, Winn was named his replacement. Since then he has started 18 of the last 20 games and raised his average from .263 to .293 through Friday's game. It is the first time since May 20 Winn's average has dropped below .300.
Numbers like that catch McRae's attention and probably will keep Winn in the lineup when Guillen returns in the next week or so.
"When Jose comes back I think Randy plays, if he keeps playing the way he's playing right now," McRae said.
Guillen will play in an extended spring training intrasquad game today before joining Triple-A Durham for a couple of games, then rejoining the Rays. He stopped by the Rays clubhouse before Friday's game to sit with McRae and talk about his situation.
"I don't know anything," Guillen said. "That's why I'm here."
PARTNER SPEAKS: The team's general partners kept quiet during the reported ownership dispute, but Mark Bostick said while they have had differences of opinion on other issues, they are all behind the hiring of John McHale Jr. as chief operating officer.
"Everybody feels good about having John McHale on board," Bostick said before Friday's game. "We're very fortunate to have him on staff and leading the staff."
Bostick, one of the primary investors, declined to go into specifics of the ownership dispute.
REHAB TRAIL: Juan Guzman will throw five innings in the extended spring game today at the Naimoli Complex as he recovers from rotator cuff surgery. Wilson Alvarez, also recovering from rotator cuff surgery, will start for Double-A Orlando today in his first minor-league action of the season.
Shortstop Felix Martinez met with the team orthopedic physician Tuesday and should begin playing games next week. Martinez, who has tendinitis in his left knee, took infield and batting practice Friday.
MR. POWER: Jason Tyner got a standing ovation and a ride on Steve Cox's shoulders after drilling a home run. Now imagine if he did it in a real game.
Tyner's home run two rows deep in the rightfield stands came during batting practice. Still, his teammates couldn't let a Tyner homer -- any Tyner homer -- go unrecognized.
The last time Tyner hit a home run in a game was in high school, unless you count the one during fall ball while at Texas A&M.
"I didn't even hit it that good," said Tyner, who has occasionally cleared the fence during batting practice. "I get that reaction every time I hit one. Usually they go and get the ball out of the stands and give it to me."
SAY HEY TO A RAY: The Devil Rays-Mitsubishi Outreach Program will visit the Sarasota Youth Athletic Complex at 9 a.m. today with Russ Johnson and DeWayne Staats holding a question/answer session and signing autographs. ... Tanyon Sturtze will be at Seminole Mall signing autographs and Aubrey Huff will be at Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse (2365 22nd Ave. N) in St. Petersburg. Both autograph sessions begin at 10:30 a.m.