By MARC TOPKIN
© St. Petersburg Times, published September 10, 2000
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Ryan Rupe said the discovery of a blood clot in his right arm last week was "a blessing in disguise" for him physically and mentally, even though the condition apparently will end his season.
Rupe, released late Friday from a Cleveland hospital, said doctors told him that after the procedure to clear the blockage he should have no further circulatory problems. Plus, he avoided some potentially traumatic complications.
"They said this should be it," Rupe said. "They cleared everything out. The doctor's quote was that he pitched a no-hitter. They're going to keep me on a blood thinner and said I shouldn't have them again. They said I should feel a lot better. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time."
Mentally, Rupe said it was actually reassuring to know his disappointing performance (5-6 with a 6.92 ERA) was the result of something else being wrong besides bad pitching.
"I kept fighting out there but sometimes your body just doesn't have it," Rupe said by telephone from Cleveland. "I kept thinking it was me, but I wasn't 100 percent. It's good they found something and there was a reason I wasn't feeling 100 percent. I'm kind of glad."
Doctors told Rupe he could return this season, but the 25-year-old right-hander said he is leaning against doing so.
"The doctors said it wouldn't be a problem, but it's more whether I want to or the team wants me to," he said. "I suppose I probably will be shut down for the rest of the year."
COLOME SHUT DOWN: Highly touted pitching prospect Jesus Colome, acquired from Oakland for relievers Jim Mecir and Todd Belitz, has a sore arm.
Colome made just three starts for Double-A Orlando after the July 28 trade, going 1-2 with a 6.75 ERA. He gave up 18 hits in 142/3 innings, striking out nine and walking seven.
"Colome was shut down with tightness in his forearm," Rays farm director Tom Foley said Saturday. "We don't think it's serious. You hope it's just tightness. We'll bring him into instructional ball (on Sept. 18) to get it checked, but he probably won't stay the whole time."
FRED'S FUNK: Fred McGriff is 1-for-18 on the first six games of the road trip, hasn't driven in a run in 12 games, has six extra-base hits in his past 43 games and has just three home runs in his past 177 at-bats, none in the past two weeks. "Are you going to write I'm the worst player in the league right now or the second worst," McGriff said. "My swing is so bad right now."
MINOR MATTERS: Triple-A Durham whipped Indianapolis 11-3 on Friday to move within one win of advancing to the International League championship series. Toby Hall and Ryan Jackson homered. Jason Standridge, the Rays' top pick in the 1997 draft, made his Triple-A debut as the starter in Saturday's game.
CREEK RISING: After struggling for most of a month, Doug Creek appeared back on top of his game Friday, throwing two impressive innings to seal the 4-0 win. The reward was his first save after 113 big-league appearances. "I got the ball over there in my glove," Creek said. "I'm not sure how many of these I'll get in my lifetime, so every one of them is special."
RAYS BITS: Manager Larry Rothschild returned to the dugout Saturday after serving his three-game suspension. ... Rothschild said he was leaning toward starting Travis Harper on Monday. ... Bobby Seay earned a save with a scoreless ninth inning in the U.S. Olympic team's 5-3 exhibition win over Australia. ... Cory Lidle and Creek combined Friday for the second two-hitter in Rays history. There also have been two one-hitters. ... In 26 games against Oakland, the Rays have been out-homered 41-22.