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Wade sharper in second go


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 11, 1999

ST. PETERSBURG -- The pitches may have been the same, but the results sure were better for Terrell Wade on Wednesday.

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After struggling in his debut Saturday against Atlanta, Wade came back strong against the Blue Jays. He pitched three hitless innings, facing the minimum nine batters while striking out three and walking two.

"I had everything working," Wade said. "I threw the same pitches, but I had a little more command of them."

On Saturday, facing his old Atlanta teammates, Wade struggled through 1 2/3 innings, allowing six runs on four hits and three walks.

On Wednesday, the left-hander mixed a fastball, slider and changeup, moved the ball around well and made adjustments in the strike zone. "I got ahead of a couple guys and was able to finish them off," he said.

In the process, he may have moved up in the field of a half-dozen pitchers competing for the two open jobs in the rotation.

"I think he was better," manager Larry Rothschild said. "There's still room to improve his fastball as far as keeping it down. But overall he was better."

ARROJO HURT: RHP Rolando Arrojo, dazzling in his spring debut Monday, felt back spasms and stiffness during a fielding drill Tuesday and likely will be sidelined a couple days. "We treated him all day and we'll know more (today)," trainer Jamie Reed said. "We don't expect it to be long-term." Arrojo had similar pains during a May 16 game last season but was treated and made his next start.

GAME REPORT: Two-run home runs by Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado staked the Jays to a 6-1 win. Green went deep off Daniel Garibay in the fourth, and Delgado crushed a Jim Mecir pitch in the sixth. ... Scott McClain scored the only Tampa Bay run with a ninth-inning homer. ... Aaron Ledesma started at second base and looked good, turning two double plays. ... Joe Oliver got two hits, upping his average to .417, but was thrown out in the second inning trying to score from second. ... Rays pitchers hit four batters, two by Norm Charlton, one each by Esteban Yan and Scott Aldred. ... Fred McGriff got his first spring hit, a double.

INSIDE BASEBALL: The line didn't look good (a hit, a walk, a strikeout, two hit batsmen and two runs in one inning), but LHP Charlton was pleased with his performance. "I was not unhappy at all," he said. Charlton said he was working on location, specifically pitching inside. Jays manager Tim Johnson was impressed too. "He threw hard," Johnson said. "He hasn't lost his fastball."

BACK TO NORMAL: A little more than a year after injuring his back in a car accident, Roger Bailey said he threw at full strength for the first time in Wednesday's B game against the Phillies.

"It was time for me to block it out of my mind and really push myself. I went out there thinking, "To heck with it, I can't baby it anymore,' " Bailey said. "You can't really get over that hump until you get it out of your mind."

Bailey breezed through five batters before giving up a single on a high infield chopper. The Phillies followed with three hits to drive in a pair of runs, but Bailey said he felt strong, throwing all of his breaking pitches.

"I just figured I was running out of time," Bailey said. "I can't sit around and use my back as an excuse. It's just not going to be a factor anymore."

RALLY TIME: The Devil Rays scored six runs in the ninth to beat the Phillies 7-4. Cesar Devarez and Alex Sanchez had run-scoring singles, Paul Hoover drew a bases-loaded walk and Luke Wilcox had a sacrifice fly in the inning.

ROAD TO RECOVERY: C Jesse Levis made his spring debut as the designated hitter in the B game, going 0-for-4 with a walk. It was his first appearance in a game since injuring his shoulder while making a throw for the Brewers on May 8.

"I felt good, real good. It's been a while since I've seen live pitching. It's a lot faster than (batting practice)," Levis said. "Now I just need to get my timing down and work on getting my arm back to normal."

Levis is expected to remain in extended spring training to rebuild his shoulder strength for throwing purposes.

RAY BITS: The Rays play one of their two home night exhibitions tonight against Pittsburgh at 7:05. The other is March 23 vs. Detroit. ... LHP Tony Saunders will sign autographs from 6-8 tonight at the Rays kiosk at the new Citrus Park Town Center. ... All reserved seats for the March 19 game against the Yankees are gone. Berm seating will be sold that day. ... Friday's B game has been canceled.


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