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Ex-Ray gets the best of near-White Sock

Jose Canseco's homer off rookie Bobby Seay lifts Chicago to a 3-2 win.

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 27, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Bobby Seay thought about the what-might-have-beens before he shelved them permanently Friday.

"It was kind of a cool thing," the Rays pitcher admitted Sunday.

But for a 23-year-old rookie only five appearances into his career, there are more pressing issues than daydreaming about how he might have been throwing for the White Sox rather than against them in Tampa Bay's 3-2 loss at Tropicana Field.

"I'm trying to learn as quick as I can, make an impact this year and for spring training next year," said Seay, who was drafted by Chicago in 1996 but signed with the Rays because of a technicality in the signing rules. "I can't think about that. I'm here now. This is where I signed to play. This is where I wanted to play."

It's also one of the places Jose Canseco wanted to play.

Again.

Waived by the Rays and released by the Yankees and Angels since, Canseco played 41 games with the Newark Bears and talked of returning to Tampa Bay before signing with Chicago in June.

The muscular slugger continued to terrorize his former team by powering a winning home run off Seay in the sixth inning that broke a tie at 2 before an announced 19,182.

"I feel pretty good about being in the lineup more and more often," he said, "because I'm getting my rhythm back."

The Rays fostered that in Canseco, who hit 43 homers in 174 games for Tampa Bay in 1999-2000, during their season series against the White Sox. He hit .500 with six runs, three homers and eight RBI against the Rays this season.

"He's done well," manager Hal McRae said.

Seay (0-1), who came on in relief of starter Bryan Rekar in the fifth inning, shook off catcher John Flaherty's call for a curveball on the 2-and-1 pitch that Canseco lined over the rightfield fence.

"During the game and during the series, most of the balls he was hitting hard were off-speed," Seay said. "So I tried to come in. I came in. He didn't hit a great pitch. He does what Jose Canseco does with those pitches."

Seay pitched well otherwise in his first career loss, striking out two and walking none in three innings.

The teams traded runs in the first four innings, Chicago scoring in the first and third and the Rays scoring in the second and fourth, but the Rays had several other scoring chances.

With bases loaded and nobody out in the second, they scored only one when Chicago starter John Garland (6-4) hit shortstop Felix Martinez with a pitch. The Rays left runners on base in six innings and were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position.

Russ Johnson played well again in a spot start at third base. He went 3-for-3 with one double and one run.

"The scoring opportunity we missed early in the game hurt us, the bases loaded situation," McRae said. "We had opportunities and we didn't cash in."

Garland pitched 61/3 innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out three and walked four. Keith Foulke pitched a perfect ninth for his 35th save.

Rekar, who was activated from the 15-day disabled list before the game, threw 83 pitches in four innings for the Rays. He allowed two runs on six hits and walked and struck out two.

"I was rusty," Rekar said. "It seemed like half of the pitches didn't do what I wanted or go where I wanted. I was struggling and was fortunate I only gave up two runs to a good-hitting team like that.

"I think next time out, hopefully I'll be a little more sharpened up."

The Rays got a scare in the third when Rekar was hit by a line drive off Magglio Ordonez's bat. The ball hit Rekar on his right shoulder but did not injure him.

"I reminded him," McRae joked, "that's what that glove was for. But he appears to be okay and that wasn't the reason he was taken out."

The victory was Chicago's seventh in 12 games against the Rays this season. Outhomered 12-2 by the White Sox this season, Tampa Bay has not won a series against them in more than three years.

"We didn't get a lot of hits, we missed some scoring opportunities but they pitched well," McRae said. "I thought we pitched well, too."

And that's just what a rookie like Seay wants to hear no matter what team he's playing for.

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