Sanches Steroid Scandal

  1. Sanches Steroid Scandal

    ST. PETERSBURG - OF Joey Gathright thought he was on his way back to Triple-A Durham, where he once again hoped to play his way onto the Devil Rays' major-league roster.

    The 10-day suspension of OF Alex Sanchez for violating baseball's steroids policy gave Gathright, 23, another chance to prove he should stay in the majors when he was recalled from Durham and placed on the Opening Day roster.

    ``I've got 10 days or however many days to do my thing,'' Gathright said. ``I'm just going to play as hard as I can.''

    Gathright batted .250 in 19 games during two brief stints with the Rays in 2004. His speed is his primary weapon; in 262 minor-league games, he has stolen 134 bases.

    Gathright also is an accomplished minor-league hitter, with a .319 lifetime average during three seasons in Tampa Bay's farm system. He batted .326 with 33 stolen bases in 60 games last year for Durham.

    He was sent to minor-league camp early in the Grapefruit League schedule and has been working with Durham since. His regimen has included daily bunting practice as well as batting work against a curveball machine and extra outfield work.

    ``It's been stressful,'' Gathright said. ``Very stressful. I started out thinking I had a good chance to play in the big leagues, but in a way I'm glad I went down because I found everything I needed to find to get ready for the season.''

    THE LINEUP - FOR NOW: Carl Crawford is back where he belongs, Danny Bautista and Roberto Alomar are gone for good, and Sanchez is gone for all but one game of the Rays first homestand.

    Other than that, Manager Lou Piniella's Opening Day lineup against the Blue Jays looks pretty much the way you might have thought it would look when spring training began a month and a half ago.

    The fortuitous signing of Sanchez on March 19, the same day Bautista and Alomar retired, put in motion what turned out to be a series of changes that, in one way, gave the lineup a more familiar look:

    Crawford, LF; Julio Lugo, SS; Aubrey Huff, RF; Travis Lee, 1B; Josh Phelps, DH; Jorge Cantu, 2B; Chris Singleton, CF; Toby Hall, C, and Alex Gonzalez, 3B. RHP Dewon Brazelton gets the start in his first year on the Opening Day roster.

    Singleton was a late and unplanned addition, replacing Sanchez, suspended for 10 days for violating baseball's new drug policy. Sanchez was supposed to be a reserve outfielder, then the right fielder when Bautista's retired, then the starting center fielder when Piniella moved Crawford back to left and sent Huff from left to right.

    And with Alomar's retirement, Cantu went from reserve infielder to starting second baseman.

    And how long will this lineup last?

    Maybe no more than a game or two.

    ``That's the way we're going to go,'' Piniella said. ``Sanchez had come in and hit the ball well.''

    Singleton, he said, ``can play center field well. We've got Gathright,'' just called up from Triple-A Durham. Crawford can move over there once in a while. We've got plenty of center fielders. That's not the issue.''


    Only what, a month after the Senate hearing they are finally "cracking" down on 'em?

  2. the funny part is Sanchez led the AL with 29 bunt singles, and of all players ever, with a minimum of 1000 at bats, Sanchez has the 3rd worst home run power. With Tom Glavine and Jaun Pierre the only two people ahead of him, he hits a dong every 338 at bats, or about 1 every 100 games. Funny enough, the 4th slot is filled by ace Greg Maddux who hits a long ball every 332 at bats!!

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