By KEVIN KELLY
© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 14, 2001
ST. PETERSBURG -- When the Rays worked out Thursday at Tropicana Field, all but one player showed.
What was strange is that nobody knew exactly why pitcher Ryan Rupe, normally one of the first to arrive at the ballpark, wasn't there.
The Rays reached Rupe sometime around 6:30 p.m. and learned that his absence was because of some sort of miscommunication.
"I don't think you worry until you find something out," manager Hal McRae said. "But what we do know is that he's very (conscientious) and this is very out of character."
His teammates, meanwhile, threw in the bullpen and took batting practice and infield. It was the first time the Rays had been on a field since Sunday's game at Oakland.
PAIN IN THE NECK: Catcher John Flaherty will receive a cortizone shot today at Bayfront Medical Center to begin what could be a three-week treatment for a herniated disc in his neck.
The desired result, according to head trainer Jamie Reed, is to shrink swelling around the disc, speed the healing process and help relieve Flaherty of any remaining pain.
"It may work after one," Reed said. "Sometimes it takes a second one. Sometimes it even takes a third one."
Flaherty, who began experiencing a pinching sensation two weeks ago, will be cleared to play as soon as he's symptom-free.
"Obviously time will tell," he said. "If the injections don't work then obviously we're going to have to think about another course of action. Hopefully it won't come to that."
OUT OF TOWN: Because of the unpredictable status of the nation's airports Thursday, the Red Sox sought an alternative method of travel to get to their next destination.
Boston had been staying at the Renaissance Vinoy Resort since Tuesday without a game to play against the Rays because of the terrorist attacks. The team checked out Thursday morning and boarded a bus to Orlando, where they got on an Amtrak headed toward Baltimore, site of another three-game series that was canceled.
ODDS AND ENDS: If the rotations hold true, Tanyon Sturtze would pitch against Roger Clemens on Monday at Tropicana Field. Clemens, who was scheduled to pitch against Chicago on Tuesday, is trying to become the first pitcher to go 20-1. ... Outfielder Greg Vaughn was selected the Rays' MVP as chosen by fans who voted on the Florida Sports Awards Web site (www.jaspers.com).