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Notes: Homestand a good sign
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07/06/2003  2:04 PM ET 
Notes: Homestand a good sign
Kennedy, Seay rejoin club; Tyner optioned to Durham
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Aubrey Huff, the Rays' home run leader, has been getting more help in the club's recent run. (Paul Battaglia/AP)
ST. PETERSBURG -- Lou Piniella knows his new hair color won't fade for at least a month, and he's hoping the Rays don't fade from their recent accomplishments, either.

The Rays are finishing up their longest and toughest homestand of the year, 13 games against the Yankees, Braves, Red Sox and White Sox. Following their three-game win streak, no matter what happened on Sunday afternoon against Chicago the Rays were assured of finishing within one game of .500 during the two weeks at Tropicana Field.

"It's been a good homestand,'' Piniella said. "Every team that came in, we played tough. The Yankees series was a little disappointing because we should have won two games, possibly three.''

The Rays are still well under .500 for the season, but playing that well in the middle of the year, is a good sign to Piniella.

"I'm pleased,'' Piniella said. "But until we can get to the point where we have a nice 7-3 homestand, I'll never be satisfied. We'll get there. We will.''

Piniella said he realizes that the Rays have to take many steps to get to the point where his teams with the Reds and Mariners ended up.

"One of the first things we need to do is play better on the road,'' Piniella said. "We're 11-28 on the road. Not good. Once you start winning with a little consistency on the road, it makes it easier to win at home.''

The Rays will get a chance to test themselves on the road right away. They will travel to Oakland to play three games starting Tuesday night, and then on to Seattle for three games, starting Friday night. It will be Piniella's first return to Seattle since being dealt to the Rays late last October.

"Obviously, we'd like to finish up as strong as we can prior to the All-Star break,'' Piniella said. "We are going to go into Oakland and face three lefties and then maybe another one in Seattle (Jamie Moyer) after that. It's a tough little road trip.''

Seay recalled, Tyner optioned: Following Sunday's game, Outfielder Jason Tyner, who was batting .299 in 67 at-bats, was optioned to Triple-A Durham to make room on the roster for left-hander Bobby Seay. This is will be Seay's second stint with the Rays as he pitched nine times for Tampa Bay with a 4.05 ERA before going on the disabled list with left shoulder tendinitis. He was activated June 3 and optioned to Triple-A where he went 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA in 10 games. He'll be the only left-hander in the bullpen.

Tyner entered Sunday's game in the seventh and grounded out to first in his only at-bat.

Around the horn: Joe Kennedy, on the DL since June 1 with inflammation in his left shoulder, returned to the clubhouse for the first time since making his second rehab start. "I'm glad the team decided to have me make another rehab start,'' Kennedy said. "It allowed me to get my confidence back.'' ... The Rays honored Hall of Famer Monte Irvin before the game. The first 5,000 fans received an Irvin poster. The team presented Irvin with an autographed framed jersey. The Rays also announced they will institute an annual $2,500 scholarship in Irvin's name to the top minority student athlete in the Tampa Bay area. The award will be given in partnership with the NCAA. ... After two days off, Toby Hall started at catcher on Sunday. "We want to see Toby start swinging the bat better,'' Piniella said. "That's really the determining factor. He's fully capable.'' ... The Rays have suffered several injuries to key players this season, but now their mascot, Raymond, is on the DL too. Raymond fell during one of his very animated routines on Saturday night and injured his left leg. Witnesses were not sure what caused the accident.

Paul C. Smith is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.



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