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Rays on deck

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 29, 2001


The game

WHERE: Yankee Stadium, New York.

TV/RADIO: Ch. 32; WFLA-AM 970, WLCC-AM 760 (Spanish).

RAYS VS. YANKEE STADIUM:

1998 -- 0-6

1999 -- 3-3

2000 -- 2-4

WEATHER FORECAST: Partly cloudy, high of 84 degrees, low of 74.

The pitchers

Bryan Rekar

Despite his lopsided 1-8 record and bulky 4.97 ERA, Rekar has pitched well and leads the team with eight quality starts. Rekar held the Yankees to two earned runs over seven innings Sunday at the Trop. At Yankee Stadium, he is 0-2 with a 4.63 ERA.

Roger Clemens

Clemens beat the Rays for his league-leading 10th victory Saturday at the Trop, allowing one run over six innings. The five-time Cy Young Award winner is 19-3 in 34 starts since coming off the disabled list July 2. He is 3-1 with a 3.68 ERA vs. the Rays.

Outta rightfield

Ben Grieve has a vested interest in how quickly Fred McGriff and Randy Winn recover from their hamstring injuries. If either one is unable to play in the field, Grieve likely will have to play rightfield, rather than left or be the DH, meaning he'll have to put up with the razzing of the Yankee Stadium bleacher bums. "You hear everything out there," Grieve said.

UP NEXT: YANKEES

7:05 tonight,
12:35 Saturday,
1:05 Sunday,
1:05 Monday

* * *

SCOUTING REPORT: Working for George Steinbrenner means never saying things are good enough. Even though the Yankees are lurking just behind first-place Boston in the AL East, changes are being made to bolster the bullpen and bulk up the offense. They added reliever Jay Witasick last week, and reportedly have agreed to a deal with former Rays outfielder Gerald Williams. There are also rumors of interest in Seattle's Al Martin (in a deal for Chuck Knoblauch) and Oakland star Jason Giambi. Meanwhile, they keep winning in large part because of their starting rotation and dominant closer Mariano Rivera. Andy Pettitte comes off the disabled list to start Sunday, joining Roger Clemens and Mike Mussina as the league's most dominant trio. The Yankees also lead the majors in stolen bases.

THE PAST WEEK: The Yankees are slowly making progress. They won two of three from the Rays at the Trop last weekend, then won two of three from Cleveland.

TAMPA BAY CONNECTIONS: Yankees first baseman Tino Martinez is a Tampa native. . . . Bench coach Don Zimmer is a long-time Treasure Island resident.

ALL-TIME SERIES: The Yankees were virtually unbeatable, winning 17 of the first 18 games, but things have evened out since. The Rays hold an 11-10 edge since Sept. 25, 1999. Overall, the Yanks lead 27-12.

WHO'S HOT: Centerfielder Bernie Williams has reached base in 32 consecutive games, and usually does so with gusto. Over the past six weeks he is hitting .373.

WHO'S NOT: Rightfielder Paul O'Neill continues to struggle. He has 18 hits in his past 65 at-bats.

- MARC TOPKIN

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