Sunday, July 18, 2004

Devil Rays release 40-year-old McGriff

Slugger just seven homers shy of 500

The Associated Press

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - Fred McGriff was cut Saturday by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, seven home runs short of 500.

McGriff, 40, struggled after the Devil Rays brought him up from Triple-A Durham on May 28, hitting just .181 with two homers and seven RBI in 27 games. He hasn't homered since June 17, against Mark Eaton at San Diego.

Tampa Bay designated him for assignment, meaning the Devil Rays have 10 days to trade him, send him outright to the minors or place him on waivers.

"If a major-league club has interest in Fred, we'll let him go," Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar said.

McGriff is tied with Lou Gehrig for 21st place on the career home run list. He has 2,490 hits and 958 extra-base hits, 30th on the career list. He has homered in a major league-record 43 ballparks.

"I'm sentimental when it comes to Fred, but there comes a time I have to make a decision to put our best team on the field," LaMar said.

METS: Nearly 14 years after his sweet swing sent mammoth home runs over the Shea Stadium fences, Darryl Strawberry decided he had been away for too long.

"It's nice to come back to a place where I first started," Strawberry said Saturday before the Mets played the Philadelphia Phillies. "There's a lot of memories for me here."

Strawberry participated in a meet-and-greet session with fans, along with former Mets Lenny Dykstra, Keith Hernandez, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote and Ed Kranepool - his first appearance at a team function since signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers as a free agent after the 1990 season.

He had been asked to take part in Mets alumni events in previous years but declined.

DODGERS: Odalis Perez came off the disabled list to start Saturday night against Arizona.

Perez (4-3) had not pitched since June 26, when he got a no-decision after giving up three hits and three runs in five innings of a 7-5 loss to Anaheim. Manager Jim Tracy said the left-hander would not be on a strict pitch count.

The Dodgers placed right-hander Edwin Jackson (forearm) on the DL and said left-hander Wilson Alvarez would make Jackson's scheduled start Monday.

SHORT HOPS: Right-hander Roy Halladay will make his scheduled start Wednesday in New York against the Yankees despite concerns of a sore shoulder.

• Jeff Bagwell's 431st home run Saturday tied Cal Ripken Jr. for 32nd place all time.

• The A's hosted a 30-year reunion of the 1974 World Series championship team and wore replicas of that year's jerseys.

• Larry Bowa Saturday became the 10th Phillies manager to reach 300 wins. He's 300-274.

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