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Friday, June 25, 2004 - Page updated at 12:00 A.M.

Major League Baseball
AL notebook: Piniella wants Rays ownership to add players


Lou Piniella doesn't want to "just sit back" now.
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Fresh off a surprising winning streak, Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella wants to see something else new and different: more payroll for more players.

"Let's just not sit on the streak," Piniella said before the Devil Rays pounded Toronto 19-13 yesterday, a day after their 12-game winning streak ended.

"Now that we've gained that momentum and it's been positive for us, let's build on that. Let's not just sit back," he said.

The Devil Rays have a payroll of $23 million — the lowest in the majors — and Piniella has said that they need to increase it to compete in the AL East.

"Instead of trading our better players for the future, let's start looking at other teams' better players for our future," he said. "And I'm talking within a salary framework that works for us, too. I'm not talking about a Alex Rodriguez-type deal."

Tampa Bay, 34-35, is third in the AL East. St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker will hold a "Welcome Home Rally" for the team when it returns home today.

Piniella thinks acquiring players is the best way to keep people excited.

"We can really keep them excited. We got momentum from this. Let's not lose it," he said.

Piniella signed a four-year, $13 million contract with his hometown Devil Rays before last season. They lost 99 games last year, and they're attempting to escape a last-place finish in the AL East for the first time.

Anaheim : 1B Darin Erstad did not play because of swelling in a knuckle on the middle finger of his right hand.
 
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Baltimore : The game against the Yankees drew 48,442 fans, the second sellout of the three-game series and the Orioles' fourth this year. ... 3B Melvin Mora missed a sixth straight game with sprained ligament in his left foot.

Boston : 2B Pokey Reese is wearing a brace on his left hand to protect the torn ligament in his thumb, and the Red Sox hope he might soon return to the lineup.

Chicago : The White Sox have homered in 19 consecutive home games. ... The next home game for the White Sox figures to be much more spirited. The Cubs come to U.S. Cellular Field today to open a three-game interleague series.

Cleveland : LHP Cliff Lee dropped his appeal and began serving a six-game suspension for throwing a ball behind Cincinnati's Ken Griffey Jr. on June 12. Lee will make his next start against the Reds July 2 in Cincinnati.

Detroit : 3B Brandon Inge had not committed an error in 150 chances before misplaying two grounders against Kansas City.

Kansas City : Detroit scored four unearned runs after an error by Joe Randa, who led major-league third basemen last year with a .980 fielding percentage.

New York : RHP Jose Contreras and his wife and daughters, who defected from Cuba Monday, arrived in the New York area. Contreras lives at an apartment in New Jersey during the season.

Oakland : LHP Mark Mulder's 64 wins since the start of the 2001 season are the most in the major leagues.

Tampa Bay : LHP John Halama got a win despite allowing five runs and eight hits in five innings against Toronto.

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