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Retirement an option for still-ailing Alvarez

By BRUCE LOWITT

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 6, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Wilson Alvarez is experiencing soreness in his left forearm, and the Rays left-hander is frustrated enough to say he'll retire if he can't return this season.

"I'll be honest with you. If I don't come back this year, you're not going to see me next year," Alvarez said Thursday. "I'm going home. I'll quit this stuff. ... I can't take this any more. I'm tired of working and exercising and then being here and doing nothing. I'm just here watching the games, and I don't want to be here like this. I want to be back on the field."

Alvarez, out since last season after surgery on his left shoulder, most recently pitched Saturday, going six innings for Triple-A Durham.

"I didn't have my good fastball," he said. "I threw a lot of breaking balls, and the next day, I woke up, and I was a little sore.

"I don't know what to think; I don't know what to say. Hopefully it's going to take a couple of days. Shoulder-wise I'm fine. Hopefully I'll be back here after the All-Star break."

Alvarez was scheduled to pitch Thursday night for Durham at Richmond. Instead he plans to throw in the Tropicana Field bullpen before Saturday's game against the Marlins and for Durham next week.

"And if everything goes good, I'm back here, because I don't want to be on the DL again," he said. "I'm sick of that stuff."

General manager Chuck LaMar said Alvarez's 30-day rehabilitation assignment expires Sunday.

"We can't afford to take any more of the rehab days," LaMar said. "That clock is running. ... We were going to have to recall him (after Sunday). The question is how serious the tightness is when he throws and whether we start the old rehab assignment, or if we think it's going to take longer than a week or so to be ready, to start a new one."

GUZMAN RECOVERING: Juan Guzman, sidelined since the second week of last season after right shoulder surgery, will pitch tonight for Double-A Orlando.

"Two (Rays) scouts saw him pitch in Mobile (Ala.) the other night and said it was by far the best he's been probably since we signed him," LaMar said.

YAN PITCHES: Closer Esteban Yan, on the DL since June 24 with a left knee sprain, threw one inning for Orlando at Jacksonville. He threw 21 pitches with 15 strikes, 2 hits, 1 run, 2 strikeouts and no walks.

McGRIFF RETURNS: Fred McGriff is expected to start at first base tonight for the first time since being relegated to designated-hitter duty June 21 because of a sore left hamstring. That means All-Star Greg Vaughn will move from leftfield to DH and Steve Cox will shift from first base to the outfield.

"He prefers to play right," manager Hal McRae said of Cox. "I've got two centerfielders. Maybe one can play left."

Randy Winn has played more in center and Jason Tyner more in left, which is where each likely will be tonight.

BACK TO BASICS: McRae said outfielder Ben Grieve, in an 8-for-41 (.195) slump, is working with hitting coach Wade Boggs "to try and straighten out his stroke, so he won't play for a few days."

Boggs said Grieve "is a very mechanical person. He likes to look at videotape and tinker around with things. I think right now it's just getting back to basics. When you struggle, you try to experiment to try to get out of what you're doing. ... He's putting a lot of pressure on himself to hit home runs."

WIRED: McRae concedes that Blue Jay Brad Fullmer's Wednesday night fly ball to right that hit a cable hanging from the B-ring should have been a home run.

"That ball was gone," he said.

It was a live ball, but when Fullmer stopped at second (because Carlos Delgado stopped at third), it went as a double.

Blue Jays manager Buck Martinez questioned the umpires. McRae stayed in the dugout.

"They ruled in our favor," he said. "You don't come out when it doesn't go against you."

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