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Spring Schedule

Like the majors, Boggs expands in off-season


©St. Petersburg Times, published February 24, 1998

ST. PETERSBURG -- It doesn't mean he's necessarily going to challenge Fred McGriff for the team home run lead, but 3B Wade Boggs reported to camp pumped up.

Boggs, 39, used heavier weights during his every-other-day workouts at the gym in his Tampa Palms home this winter and said he was able to add significant muscle without putting on additional weight.

He weighs 204 and figures he'll be at his optimum playing weight of 198-200 by Opening Day, and stronger than ever.

"Last year I was in as good a shape as I'd ever been in, and this year I'm just as good or maybe even a little bit better," he said. "By the end of March I should be exactly where I want to be with a little more bulk."

In addition to the heavier weights, Boggs used the nutritional supplement creatine, which is the subject of some controversy because no one knows what the long-term effects are.

"I've heard the horror stories about it, that tendons can tear away and things like that, but it's all been very positive for me," Boggs said.

Boggs, who hasn't hit more than 11 homers in a season since 1987, said he isn't sure what the additional strength will mean to his game. "Basically we're in uncharted waters. I don't know what it will bring."

Perhaps a return to his 24-home run form of 1987? "You get the ball up in the air," Boggs said, "and you never know."

PITCHING PLANS: The Rays announced their complete pitching plans for the first two exhibition games. Matt White will start Thursday against Florida State, followed, in no set order, by Josias Mazanillo, Scott Lewis, Ryan Karp, Jason Johnson and John LeRoy. Esteban Yan will open against the Florida Marlins on Friday, followed by Albie Lopez, Dan Carlson, Rick White, Scott Aldred, Matt Ruebel, Santos Hernandez and Jim Mecir.

RAY VS. RAY: A number of players, though not necessarily the frontline starters, will participate in a six-inning intrasquad game at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the training complex. Scheduled to pitch are Ruebel, Jose Garcia, Hernandez, Brad Pennington, Aldred, Dave Eiland, Maximo Nunez, Rick White and Mark Eichhorn. None will go more than two innings, and most will be making their first impression on the staff. "It can work two ways," Eiland said. "Obviously, if you do well, you can't ask for more. But if you don't do as well as you would like to, then you don't really get a chance to redeem yourself. So you have to try to take advantage of every inning you get."

THE OLD COLLEGE TRY: Manager Larry Rothschild plans for a number of the team's big-name players to be in the lineup Thursday against Florida State. "I think the fans need to see them on the field, at least for a little bit," Rothschild said. Because the Rays are facing a college team, there has been discussion whether it is a "'normal" exhibition game. It is to Rothschild. "I'm treating it as a real game. Never in my life have I taken the field and not looked at it as a competitive situation. As far as the players, they have a job to do." ... FSU likely will use aluminum bats while the Rays stick with wood. ... RHP Scott Proctor will start for FSU.

OUCH, PART IV: 1B/3B Herbert Perry was hit on the left arm by a changeup from Yan on Monday, marking the fourth straight day a batter was hit during live batting practice. Perry, who wasn't bruised, said the number of hit batters wasn't unusual. "I've been in camps where four or five guys get hit a day." CLOSER CLOSER: Reliever Roberto Hernandez, who didn't pitch during the winter because of tendinitis, threw for 10 minutes at three-quarter speed and reported no discomfort. Neither did pitching coach Rick Williams: "He continues to be impressive. If all goes well, and we think it will, he should be throwing batting practice within a week. His arm is quick, his strength continues to improve and he's smiling. When he's grinning, I'm grinning."

RAYS WRAPUP: Former major-league pitcher Lary Sorenson interviewed for the TV analyst job on Monday. Joe Magrane was in Saturday and Jeff Torborg is expected later in the week. ... First Union signed an five-year contract to be the team's official bank, a deal that will provide for ATMs and a bank branch inside Tropicana Field. ... Minor-league catcher Matt Quatraro, who had Tommy John-style arm surgery, will join minor-league workouts this week. ... Todd Kalas will host the post-game radio show.

All games 1:05 p.m. unless noted

Call Ticketmaster (898-2100) or the Tropicana Field box office (825-3250).


26 -- FSU; 27 -- Marlins; 28 -- at Marlins


1 -- Astros; 2 -- Royals; 3 -- Indians; 4 -- at Reds (ss); 4 -- Tigers (ss), 7:05; 5 -- Twins; 6 -- at Twins; 7 -- Reds, 7:05; 8 -- at Phillies (ss); 8 -- Mexico City (ss); 9 -- Reds (ss); 9 -- at Tigers (ss), 7:05; 10 -- at Rangers; 11 -- at Blue Jays; 12 -- at Royals; 13 -- Phillies; 14 -- Red Sox (ss); 14 -- at Twins (ss), 7:05; 15 -- at Tigers; 17 -- at Indians (ss); 17 -- at Braves (ss); 18 -- Tigers, 7:05; 19 -- at Yankees, 7:15; 20 -- Royals; 21 -- at Red Sox; 22 -- at Cardinals; 23 -- at Astros; 24 -- at Blue Jays; 25 -- Rangers; 26 -- Yankees;

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