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Seay relaxes, then impresses in debut

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 15, 2001


NEW YORK -- After he trotted onto the field and stepped onto the mound at Yankee Stadium, Bobby Seay felt the nerves wash away.

After signing as a free agent in 1996 and experiencing a series of setbacks, Seay made a successful major-league debut against the Yankees on Tuesday. The left-hander from Sarasota pitched a scoreless eighth inning and allowed one hit.

"My adrenaline was pumping when they first told me to get loose," Seay said. "I had to settle down and try to get some people out when I came in. I definitely wasn't as nervous as I thought I was going to be."

Called up from Double-A Orlando on Monday, the 23-year-old had about 10 friends, but no family, in the stands.

"I felt good," Seay said. "I felt like I had great command. Things worked out for the best."

His fastball particularly impressed manager Hal McRae.

"He performed well in probably the toughest ballpark to pitch in against the best team in the world," McRae said. "He didn't get nervous and he threw strikes."

ROTHSCHILD REACTION: That former Rays manager Larry Rothschild was hired as a consultant for the Marlins came as little surprise to some in Tampa Bay's clubhouse.

Rothschild, fired as manager April 18, was Florida's pitching coach for three years before becoming the Rays' manager.

"Not saying that he's not going to get another opportunity to manage again, but this is probably going to be good for that organization to bring a guy with that kind of knowledge with all those young pitchers they have," catcher John Flaherty said. "It'll be a good fit."

CONFIDENT, AGAIN: Whether he says it outright or talks around the subject, Paul Wilson is as confident as he has been in a while.

"Can I explain why I feel better?" the Rays pitcher said. "No. But I do."

The 28-year-old, who began the season as a starter and pitched his way into the bullpen, is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA since returning to the rotation after Bryan Rekar went on the disabled list with tendinitis in his throwing shoulder July 20.

Wilson, who made 14 relief appearances, has not allowed a run in 111/3 innings this month. A win tonight would give him a career-high six this season.

"He's pitched extremely well, but I'm not waiting to see more," McRae said. "I'm just hoping for a good six innings, a continuation of what he's been doing."

GOOD TIMING: The Rays are playing better, and at the right time, their manager says.

They are 15-17 since the All-Star break and 7-7 in August.

"It's better (for this) to happen before the last month," McRae said. "Doing that in the last month is disastrous. You really didn't get any better, but the finish line was right there and everybody saw it and they were able to pick their knees up for another minute or two minutes and pump their arms and get there.

"But then when you start over the following year, with the same personnel, you've got the same stuff."

REHAB UPDATE: Wilson Alvarez (Triple-A Durham) and Rekar (Orlando) made rehab starts Tuesday.

Alvarez threw 50 pitches over three innings and allowed five hits and one run. He struck out three and walked one. Rekar threw 43 pitches over four innings and gave up three runs on four hits while striking out four.

Tonight: Rays at Yankees, 7:05

WHERE: Yankee Stadium, New York.

TV/RADIO: FSN; WFLA-AM 970, WLCC-AM (Spanish).

* * *

SINCE THE ALL-STAR BREAK

AL ERA LEADERS

AL EAST ERA LEADERS

MAJOR-LEAGUE BULLPEN ERA LEADERS

The pitchers

PAUL WILSON: Wilson (5-7, 5.84) is 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA since replacing Bryan Rekar in the starting rotation after Rekar went on the DL on July 20. A victory would set a career high for a season for the right-hander.

ROGER CLEMENS: Clemens (15-1, 3.50) got a no-decision against the Rays on Aug. 9. He pitched 71/3 and allowed six hits and two earned runs while striking out eight. The right-hander has held opponents to a .245 batting average.

You don't say

Six rookies -- Jesus Colome, Nick Bierbrodt, Bobby Seay, Jason Standridge, Jared Sandberg and Toby Hall -- have joined the Rays since the team last played the Yankees in New York. Most took the No. 4 subway train from the team hotel near Grand Central Station to the ballpark Tuesday.

"It was different," Bierbrodt said. "It's definitely not like that in L.A."

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