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Ex-Ray Huff pines for a replay

ST. PETERSBURG — Before Friday's game, Rays manager Joe Maddon chimed in on the recently renewed debate over the inclusion of instant replay.

"I've always said I like it for foul balls and home runs," he said.

After a pivotal play didn't go his way Friday night, ex-Ray Aubrey Huff likely would agree with his former skipper.

Orioles manager Dave Trembley was ejected after arguing a controversial call in the eighth inning, when both he and Huff thought the designated hitter's sharp grounder down the first-base line was fair, but first-base umpire Ed Hickox ruled otherwise. The hit came with the Rays up 1-0 and the Orioles with a runner on first and one out. Replays shown at the Trop drew some oohs and aahs from fans, and sparked Huff and Trembley to argue with Hickox.

Huff eventually hit into an inning-ending double play, and Trembley's evening ended after the eighth. He was tossed after continuing his case and getting in the face of plate umpire Ed Rapuano.

"You guys want to talk about replay? There's a classic case there," Huff said. "I mean, it wasn't even close."

SPEED IT UP? Maddon also shared his stance on the leaguewide measures to speed up the game that were discussed Friday in a conference call with MLB, each manager, general manager and umpire crew chiefs. Among the measures is a 12-second time limit for pitchers to throw and a rule that the batboy must have a second bat ready in case a hitter cracks his.

Maddon said he liked the extra bat in the on-deck circle but believes "the game will take care of itself."

"The game has never been on a clock, and that's the beauty of this game compared to basketball or football, all the other games," Maddon said. "The time element thing to me is not that big of a factor. … Right now, I think our game is pretty cool the way it is."

SI COVER CAMEO: Some of the buzz in the clubhouse revolved around the Rays' appearance on the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated, with LF Carl Crawford depicted lifting Yankees SS Derek Jeter over his head under the title, "Bizarro Baseball." Crawford said the team was most happy about the fact it was something positive for a change. "Who would have ever thought that day would come where you get something like that on the cover?" he said.

Maddon said he hopes it's one of many covers to come. "From our perspective, it's just the beginning," he said. "It's something that hasn't happened here before, so it is a big moment for a lot of people." SI has sent 5,000 copies of the cover to be handed out before Sunday's home game.

AYBAR UPDATE: Willy Aybar (hamstring), the opening day third baseman, is still at least a week away from returning from the disabled list. But how will he fit in now with Evan Longoria holding down the position? Executive vice president Andrew Friedman said Aybar could serve a utility role because of his ability to play first, second, third and DH.

MISCELLANY: Veteran closer Troy Percival, who tweaked his left hamstring Tuesday, was fine and threw a perfect ninth for his 14th save in 16 tries. … The Rays' summer concert series begins tonight with the Commodores performing after the game. To accommodate, the game time was moved up to 6:10 p.m. and won't be on TV because of Fox's national broadcast window on Saturdays (no other games can be shown until after 7 p.m). … 2B Akinori Iwamura's majors-best streak of 24 games reaching base came to an end Friday. … RHP Chad Orvella had surgery to repair a slight tear of his labrum and rotator cuff.

Ex-Ray Huff pines for a replay 05/23/08 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 27, 2008 2:31pm]

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