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Little ball still in arsenal


© St. Petersburg Times, published March 14, 1999

TAMPA -- The Rays imported Jose Canseco to hit the long ball, but that doesn't mean they're going to abandon their short game.

The Rays still value the ability to manufacture runs, and they showed it in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Yankees. They turned two singles, three stolen bases, a walk, a sacrifice fly and an infield error into two seventh-inning runs, an approach that will remain a big part of their offense.

"There's no question, I want us to stay aggressive on the bases, and to do that we have to get better at it," manager Larry Rothschild said.

Mike DiFelice opened the seventh with a single, and pinch-runner Alex Sanchez stole second. Kevin Stocker walked, and he and Sanchez pulled off a double steal. Terrell Lowery followed with a sacrifice fly to tie the score at 2. Miguel Cairo singled to put runners on first and third, and Stocker scored when pitcher Dan Naulty misplayed Rich Butler's infield bouncer.

"Everyone thinks it's National League(-style); it's not," Rothschild said. "If you watched the Yankees play last year, they did that a lot. They would run in any situation. I think it's good because the aggressiveness is there. Everyone looks to take the extra base, they look to steal bases. You don't always have to do it, but you put a lot of pressure on a pitcher and a defense."

CLOSE CALL: LHP Scott Aldred narrowly escaped serious injury when he was struck on the forehead by Chad Curtis' fourth-inning line drive. "It hit mostly glove and then it grazed me," said Aldred, who had a small bruise on the bridge of his nose and swelling on his right eyebrow. "I was glad to get the hell out of the way." Coincidentally, Aldred said that after pitching the third inning, he had mentioned to teammate Rick White that it was tough to see the ball. "I had just told Whitey that the backdrop here is terrible, that there were a lot of white shirts and that you can't see good," Aldred said. "Then, I'll be damned, the first hitter. I saw it off the bat, then I kind of lost it." Curtis said, "I saw him kind of (flinch) and I thought, "Eeeww!' I kind of stopped running for a second."

TOUGH START: Daniel Garibay, 26, a lefty who spent six seasons in the Mexican League, struggled through two innings filling in for scheduled starter Rolando Arrojo, allowing seven hits. "You've got to remember he's in his first spring training," Rothschild said. "I know he had a lot of innings in Mexico, but it's not easy for a young kid like that coming into any spring training game, let alone when he knows who the Yankees are. ... I thought he handled himself pretty well." Through an interpreter, Garibay said: "I was a little bit nervous."

GAME REPORT: Once the Rays took the lead, RF Mike Kelly protected it with a spectacular diving catch to rob Brian Raabe of an extra-base hit with two on in the eighth. ... Dave Martinez, starting in centerfield, ended the second with a diving catch to rob Shane Spencer, then opened the third with a triple. ... RHP Jim Mecir struck out the side in the first of his two innings. ... LHP Mike Duvall rebounded from a poor Thursday outing with a no-hit, two-strikeout inning. THE BUZZ: LHP Norm Charlton showed up in the clubhouse Saturday morning with a shaved head, having shorn his flowing blond locks. "I just needed a haircut," Charlton said.

ALBIE ON TAP: RHP Albie Lopez is scheduled for his first game appearance of the spring today. Lopez, a former Indian, was brought along slowly after reporting late to camp, then was set back by a pinched nerve in his neck. '"I'm dying to get into a game," said Lopez, who signed a two-year, $1.35-million contract. CROWDED HOUSE: Today's game with Cleveland is close to a sellout. A few hundred reserved seats and 250 berm-area tickets will go on sale at 10 a.m. at the Al Lang Field box office. ... The game will be on SportsChannel, with Dewayne Staats and Joe Magrane at the microphones.

RAYS BITS: Canseco, out a week with a sore hip, may be back in the lineup Monday. ... CF Randy Winn, who has a strained quad, will be out a few more days, trainer Jamie Reed said. ... IF Herbert Perry, out most of the past three seasons with injuries, reported to minor-league camp. ... Scouts from the Red Sox and Mariners -- two teams in need of relief pitching -- have been watching the Rays.

TAMPA BAY  NEW YORK (A) (ss) ab r h bi ab r h bi DMartinez cf 3110 Soriano ss 5010 Lowery cf 1001 McDonald lf 4110 Cairo 2b 3021 Spencer rf 4120 Butler lf 4011 Davis dh 4021 McGriff 1b 3000 Cedeno pr 0000 Co 1b 0000 TMartinez 1b 3010 Smith 3b 4010 Rabbe 2b 1000 Boggs dh 4000 Posada c 3011 Kelly rf 4000 Figga c 1000 DiFelice c 2020 Curtis cf 4010 Sanchez pr 0100 Brosius 3b 3020 Oliver c 1000 Bellinger 2b-1b 4030 Stocker ss 2100 Lamb ss 1000 Totals 323 73 Totals 362142

Tampa Bay 001 000 200 -3

New York (A) (ss) 200 000 000 -2

* * *

E-Naulty. DP-Tampa Bay 2, New York 1. LOB-Tampa Bay 7, New York 8. 2B-Butler, Smith, Posada, Bellinger. 3B-Martinez. SB-Sanchez 2, Stoker. CS-Brosius. S-Brosius. SF-Cairo, Lowery.


Aldred 12 0 0 0 

Duvall 10 0 0 0 

Yan S,1 23 0 0 0 

Holmes 21 0 0 0 

Nelson 10 0 0 0 

WP-Cone. T-2:46. A-10,284

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