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Moore learns to be flexible

By MIKE READLING

© St. Petersburg Times,
published July 11, 2001


You'll have to excuse Bakersfield's Frank Moore if he seems a little confused.

Moore played infield all his life, was drafted by the Rays as a second baseman in the 23rd round in 1998, excelled at the position the first three years of his professional career (moving up one level each season) and took grounders during spring training. Then he was taken into manager Charlie Montoyo's office and told he was an outfielder.

Suddenly, the 22-year-old was chasing fly balls and learning about slices and sagging liners. Those short throws to first became attempts to hit the cutoff man or throw a runner out at the plate.

Moore, a career .281 hitter, started 50 of the Blaze's first 87 games in centerfield, then switched to left when Kelvin Ryan got hot in early June.

After finishing May with a .232 average, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 3 home runs and 15 RBI, Moore heated up and is batting .279. Entering Tuesday night's game he had 17 doubles, 4 home runs and 28 RBI.

Moore seemed to be settling into his new position. Then came Saturday night.

Because of injuries to Blaze infielders, Moore was thrust back into his old position, starting both weekend games at second base.

FOR ALL THE MARBLES: Bakersfield has known since before the season that it was going to be in San Jose on Tuesday night to kick off a three-game series with the Giants. The Blaze just didn't know how important that game, their 88th, was going to be.

Because the teams finished the first half of the California League season at 37-33 and atop the North Division, Tuesday night's game doubled as a one-game playoff to determine which team would receive the playoff berth and first-round bye that goes with it.

This season the Giants are 7-3 against Bakersfield, 3-1 at home.

ONE-HITTER DONE RIGHT: Charleston's Jeff Ridgway, John Benedetti and Derek Anderson combined Saturday night to hold Lexington to one hit in an 8-0 RiverDogs win. It was the first one-hitter of the season for Charleston, which held two teams to two hits.

Ridgway pitched seven innings, running his streak to 21 scoreless innings. He has a 4.31 ERA.

ONE-HITTER GONE BAD: Saturday night, Durham pitchers Travis Harper and Rusty Meacham held Charlotte to one hit, the first time the Bulls have accomplished that this season, but it wasn't enough. That hit was a two-run Josh Paul home run, and Charlotte defeated Durham 2-0.

HOT, HOT, HOT: Bakersfield's Matt Diaz was 19-for-35 (.543) with four doubles, a triple, a home run, 10 RBI and six runs scored in the Blaze's previous nine games. Diaz was fourth in the California League with a .344 average and led the Rays organization with 119 hits.

GOIN' THE DISTANCE: Charleston's Seth McClung recorded his first career shutout July 4 against the Charleston Alley Cats. McClung, a fifth-round draft choice in 1999, allowed four hits and struck out seven over nine innings to run his record to 6-8.

SPRAINED WHEEL: Durham placed Dan Wheeler on the disabled list Saturday with a sprained ankle and activated Brad Cornett to take his roster spot.

Wheeler, sent down a second time by Tampa Bay on June 14, is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA in three starts, with 18 strikeouts in 271/3 innings.

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