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McRae wants to see jewelry fade away

By KEVIN KELLY

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 29, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- Hal McRae is not an earring guy.

Nor is the Rays manager particularly fond of tattoos, but at least they don't shimmer in a batter's eyes.

Though McRae favors creating a rule barring players from wearing jewelry in games, he will not raise issue if Mariners reliever Arthur Rhodes steps on the mound wearing diamond solitaire earrings.

Rhodes was ejected from Seattle's game against Cleveland on Saturday after Omar Vizquel complained the pitcher's earrings were a distraction.

"I am happy that it happened," McRae said Tuesday. "I hope there's a league rule in place next year so they can't be worn on the field. I think they're nice off the field, but I don't think they should be worn on the field."

McRae, whose sons Brian and Cullen have pierced ears, has contemplated making a team rule banning jewelry on the field. Greg Vaughn and Damian Rolls are among the players who have one or both ears pierced.

"I haven't said anything to the players on my club because we have bigger problems," McRae said.

GOING, GOING, GOMEZ: Once he touched second and saw Seattle's outfielders still scrambling in the eighth inning, Chris Gomez couldn't stop running.

Through Terry Collins' call to stop at third, Gomez continued and completed the third inside-the-park home run in Rays history and fifth overall at Tropicana Field.

"That was probably the first time I've ever run through a sign," he said. "But it worked out."

Said second baseman Brent Abernathy: "That was fun to watch. To have something like that happen just kind of put the cap on the night."

The homer was Gomez's seventh this season, which broke Kevin Stocker's 1998 team record for homers by a shortstop.

"It's good to know I'm capable of driving the ball because I got away from it for so long," said Gomez, whose career high for homers (11) came with Detroit in 1995.

RETURN TRIP: There remains no love lost between Norm Charlton and the Rays.

The veteran left-handed reliever, who has become an integral part of Seattle's bullpen since signing in December, was released by the Rays during spring training last year.

"I've still got a couple of friends over there," said Charlton, who was 2-3 with a 4.44 ERA in 1999 for Tampa Bay. "But do I miss this place? Nah."

MARINERS MILESTONES: Seattle's Ichiro Suzuki got his 200th hit of the season off starter Paul Wilson in the seventh, joining Alex Rodriguez (1996, 1998) as the only Mariners to accomplish the feat. ... Seattle manager and Tampa native Lou Piniella turned 58 Tuesday and expects to celebrate the birth of his third grandchild today. The wife of Piniella's oldest son, Lou Jr., is scheduled to have labor induced.

ODDS AND ENDS: Russ Johnson made his third consecutive start at third base. ... The options on the contracts of Rays radio broadcasters Paul Olden and Charlie Slowes were picked up for the 2002 season. ... Vaughn will return to the outfield Thursday if his back feels good enough. ... Despite having a softball-sized bruise on his right arm, pitcher Bryan Rekar said he was fine. Rekar was hit by line drive Sunday. ... The Dine With the Rays event on Sunday raised $66,100 for the ALS Association.

Tonight: Rays vs. mariners, 7:15

WHERE: Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg.

RADIO: WFLA-AM 970, WLCC-AM 760 (Spanish).

TODAY'S PROMOTION: Fans with a coupon printed off the team's Web site, www.devilrays.com, can redeem it at ticket outlets and get a lower reserved seat for $10 or a $20 diamond club box.

TICKETS: Available at stadium box office; through Ticketmaster phone and retail outlets; and at team stores in WestShore Plaza, Brandon TownCenter and BayWalk.

INFORMATION: 1-888-FAN-RAYS.

The pitchers

TANYON STURTZE: The Rays are 7-3 the past 10 times Sturtze (8-10, 4.66) has started. He has won four of his past six decisions. The right-hander pitched a career-high 81/3 innings against the White Sox on Friday.

JAMIE MOYER: Moyer (15-5, 3.67) makes his 27th start of the season. He is 4-0 with a 1.95 ERA this month and 6-1 with a 1.97 ERA since the All-Star break. The left-hander last pitched against Cleveland on Friday.

You don't say

"I'd like to see baseball prosper here. It's been a tough road for (the Rays) so far. Let's hope it gets better and better." -- Seattle manager and Tampa resident Lou Piniella.

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