Injury bug bites Devil Rays again

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The Independent Online

It looks like the Tampa Bay Devil Rays will have to wait to see the results of a busy off season of moves.

The Devil Rays placed ace Wilson Alvarez on the disabled list on Friday with shoulder tendinitis, and new third baseman Vinny Castilla is also expected to start the season on the DL with a strained abdominal muscle.

"It's frustrating," Tampa Bay manager Larry Rothschild said. "There's nothing I can do."

Rothschild should be used to it. Last season, the Devil Rays put a major league-high 18 players on the disabled list. They are already at two, with third baseman Damian Rolls joining Alvarez on the DL on Friday.

The injury list keeps growing, as Esteban Yan left on Friday's game against Detroit in St Petersburg, Florida, after two innings with a right foreman bruise. He was hit by a liner off the bat of Detroit's Juan Encarnacion.

"It's muscle, so there's no bone involved," Rothschild said. "It got a little puffed up after getting hit. He should be OK, but we'll see.'

Juan Guzman, bothered by a sore shoulder, might be replaced by Dave Eiland as the Devil Rays' home opener starter on April 7 against Cleveland. A final decision won't be made until after Guzman pitches in Saturday's exhibition finale against Detroit.

"You just have to adjust," Rothschild said. "We just have to get by the injuries right now and the first week of the season is the time to do it."

The Devil Rays lost to the Tigers 5-2 Friday. Brian Moehler, who will start the first-ever game at Detroit's Comerica Park on April 11, allowed two runs and four hits in six innings.

Juan Gonzalez returned to Detroit's lineup as the designated hitter after missing Thursday's game with a sore right hamstring and went 1-for-4.

Herbert Perry hit his eighth homer of the spring for Tampa Bay.

At Winter Haven Florida, Richie Sexson bruised his right knee in a collision with the left-field wall and Minnesota banged around starter Charles Nagy before Cleveland rallied to win 10-8.

Todd Walker homered leading off the game and Butch Huskey, who had five RBIs, had a two-run double in the first onlaid motionless for a few moments on the warning track before walking off the field on his own. X-rays were negative.

"That kind of popped a little scare into us," Indians manager Charlie Manuel said.

Sexson was scared, too.

"I'm fine. My kneecap just kind of slid out a little bit," Sexson said. "It was painful, like running into concrete."

In San Francisco, the Giants opened their new ballpark and Willie Mays was all over Pacific Bell Park.

The address of the San Francisco Giants' new ballpark is named after its greatest player: 24 Willie Mays Plaza. The signature entrance is known as Willie Mays Gate. And on a palm tree-lined concourse just outside the main entrance is the centerpiece, a 9-foot (3-meter) tall statue of Mays unveiled on Friday in a public tribute to the Hall of Famer that drew 5,000 people.

"I'd like to say I feel like the luckiest man in the world for having so many friends," said Mays, who later on Friday threw out the first pitch at the inaugural game at Pacific Bell Park, an exhibition between the Giants and Milwaukee Brewers.

In other games:

Marlins 7, Royals 3 At Melbourne, Florida, Brant Brown, battling Mark Kotsay for Florida's starting right field job, went 3-for-4 with two RBIs.

White Sox 11, Mariners 4 At Las Vegas, Paul Konerko homered twice and drove in four runs, and Frank Thomas also had four RBIs for Chicago.

Braves 5, Orioles 0 At Atlanta, Andruw Jones hit his team-leading seventh home run of the spring and Terry Mulholland and five relievers combined on a five-hitter.

Expos 8, Pirates 0 At Jupiter, Florida, Peter Bergeron hit a two-run double and Chris Widger had a pair of run-scoring singles. Winner Javier Vazquez allowed three hits in five innings, and struck out four.

Rangers 7, Cardinals 4 At Arlington, Texas, Ivan Rodriguez said his bruised right elbow was fine, then proved it by going 3-for-3 with a home run. The reigning AL MVP was drilled by a pitch Thursday night in a game against Double-A Tulsa. Once learning X-rays were negative, Rodriguez wasted no time getting back behind the plate.

Astros 6, Yankees 5 At Houston, New York's Ricky Ledee homered for the second straight day at Enron Field, but Lance Berkman gave Houston its second straight win in its new stadium with a ninth-inning homer.

Blue Jays 10, Dodgers 4 At Toronto, Raul Mondesi, who asked out of Los Angeles, was plunked twice and had to go to the hospital as Toronto won in Mondesi's first game against the Dodgers.