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Quad Hamilton's new trouble spot

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 1, 2001


BALTIMORE -- Eventually, Josh Hamilton will get back on the field.

It won't be for at least two more weeks, however, as an exam Tuesday showed inflammation in his left quadriceps.

Hamilton has played 27 games this season and four since late April because of an assortment of injuries. The latest is a quad strain, and Rays officials said team orthopedic physician Koco Eaton wants Hamilton to rest for two weeks and then be re-evaluated.

The longer the injury drags on, the less likely it is Hamilton will play again in the minor leagues this season, though general manager Chuck LaMar said a final decision has not been made.

The Rays still are planning for Hamilton to play in the Arizona Fall League in October.

"We'll decide in a couple weeks whether to send him back out for the last several weeks of the minor-league season or just have him work out to get ready for the Arizona Fall League," LaMar said.

BRAZELTON UPDATE: For the first time in weeks, there appears to be progress in talks with top draft pick Dewon Brazelton and his adviser, Bo McKinnis. "We had a real good exchange over the weekend, and in my opinion it should be a large step in the right direction," scouting director Dan Jennings said.

FRONT AND CENTER: Damian Rolls started in center and, most likely, will be there again tonight. Manager Hal McRae said it's not so much a matter of seeing whether Rolls can play the outfield anymore, more that Randy Winn needs a rest. Winn was the top July hitter in the league with a .403 average through the 24th but is 2-for-20 since.

I AM FIFTH: McRae moved rookie catcher Toby Hall to the No. 5 spot in the batting order and said he would like to keep him there, as a primary run producer, for a long time. "He's better suited there than third because he doesn't run well and fourth would be asking a little too much, but fifth should be a sweet spot," McRae said. ... With Hall fifth, Winn is likely to move back to the second slot and Ben Grieve, whom McRae had been hitting second in hopes of breaking his slump, will be sixth.

UNION MEN: Players union leader Don Fehr met with the players at their hotel Tuesday morning to discuss the pending labor situation. "An update," Fehr said. "It's a negotiating year."

GOOD IMPRESSION: In his first week with the Rays, Chris Gomez hit .389, including three home runs and seven RBI and was a finalist for league player of the week honors.

RAYS BITS: Rays pitchers went into Tuesday with a 4.04 ERA since the All-Star break, fifth best in the league and tops among AL East teams. ... Tanyon Sturtze has been bothered by a stiff back but says he will make his scheduled start on Thursday.

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