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Andrew Friedman stays busy before, after appendectomy but Tampa Bay Rays make no trades

SEATTLE — Rays executive vice president Andrew Friedman had a painful trade deadline experience, and it had nothing to do with deciding on a tempting offer for centerfielder B.J. Upton.

Friedman was hospitalized and had an appendectomy in St. Petersburg on Saturday night then conducted business Sunday while recovering in his hospital room, though he ended up not making any deals by the 4 p.m. cutoff.

"I've seen and been involved in some crazy things over the years, but trying to work the trade deadline with a hospital-room-turned-war-room and the leader laid up in bed is one for the memories," senior vice president Gerry Hunsicker said.

"It was probably good we didn't make any deals because Andrew was still in recovery mode and with the effects of the pain meds, no telling who we might have traded. We might have even thrown Zim (senior adviser Don Zimmer) in one."

Friedman began feeling uncomfortable while working with his staff at Tropicana Field on Saturday and was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital by farm director Mitch Lukevics around 3 p.m., then had surgery a few hours later.

Hunsicker and baseball operations director Dan Feinstein followed up with teams from the office on Saturday night, then they and four to five other team officials went to Friedman's hospital room on Sunday morning — laptops and cell phones in hand — to work through the trade possibilities.

"We had numerous conversations with many different organizations leading up to the deadline, but none came to fruition," Friedman said in a statement released by the team. "We will continue to be opportunistic in our approach after the deadline as before it."

Upton was considered the top candidate to be traded, given his inconsistent play and increasing salary, which likely will exceed $7 million next season, his last before free agency.

A number of teams were reported to be interested, but most — except for Washington — found what they were looking for elsewhere, as six other frontline outfielders were traded.

That would indicate either the Rays' price was high and they couldn't get the return they were looking for, or they weren't comfortable moving Upton without getting a replacement, as they reportedly made an offer last week for Colby Rasmus, who ended up going from St. Louis to Toronto.

Upton, 26, was relieved to not be going anywhere.

"I'm just glad it's over with," he said. "That's probably the most nerve-wracking two weeks I've ever had."

With the deadline set just moments before Sunday's game was to start, Upton paused from playing catch with Evan Longoria in front of the Rays dugout to watch the stadium clock flash to 1:00, then threw up his arms in celebration and said, "Word, I'm still here."

Dealing with the speculation proved to be more of an issue than he expected.

"Definitely a little bit tougher than I thought it would be," he said. "You wake up and that's the first thing you see is trade talk, and obviously I was in them. And you come to the field and that's all you see all over the place. And you guys (reporters) ask me the same thing every day."

Upton, who has been approached about long-term deals but not agreed, said he wanted to stay with the Rays: "I've always said I want to be here."

Starter James Shields, who was also the subject of considerable speculation, also was pleased to be sticking around and insisted he was never concerned. "I wasn't really too worried about it," he said.

Friedman was released from the hospital late Sunday. None of his colleagues were surprised that he continued to work up to, and after, the surgery.

"I'm sure even while he was under anesthesia he was working," manager Joe Maddon said. "And as soon as he came to, I know he had a brilliant thought."

Said team president Matt Silverman: "He's an unstoppable force."

Andrew Friedman stays busy before, after appendectomy but Tampa Bay Rays make no trades 07/31/11 [Last modified: Monday, August 1, 2011 12:59pm]
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