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LaMar reviewing catwalk situation

GM Chuck LaMar said if batted balls continue to hit the catwalks the Tropicana Field ground rules could be changed, possibly during the season.

"We're going to continue to review them," LaMar said before Sunday's game. "It's happened twice in three (homestands) with batted balls that were clearly hit as home runs. Whether it's our team or the other team, if you have balls hit like that the situation has to be reviewed."

A ball that strikes the second or third catwalk is in play _ it is fair or foul depending on where it lands. The most likely change would be to make it a home run if the ball hits the second catwalk, which is more than 300 feet from home plate and about 150 feet high.

"I don't know if there's any other option," manager Larry Rothschild said. "I don't think a double is an option."

The Rays knew the catwalks, which are part of the stadium structure and can't be removed, would come into play. There are similar situations at other domes, especially with speakers. But what they don't know is how often it may happen. "Our concern is whether it has a chance to happen with more frequency," LaMar said.

Anaheim's Jim Edmonds hit a ball Saturday that struck the catwalk and went from being a home run to a double. Chicago's Frank Thomas hit the catwalk April 4 but the ball was ruled a home run because the umpires thought it went beyond the foul pole before hitting the seats.

LaMar is handling the review and said there was no timetable to make a decision. It would be unusual for a team to change the rules during the season.

MORE CATWALK TALK: While the issue of the home-run-hampering catwalks is not likely to go away soon, some Devil Rays think incentive to change the rules will come soon.

"I tell you what, what's going to happen when a guy like Fred (McGriff) hits it," outfielder Mike Kelly said. "Then they might change the rules. What if it's a critical game and we lose because of it. I know I would not want that to happen to me."

DOUBLING UP: Veteran shortstop Kevin Stocker and rookie second baseman Miguel Cairo continue to impress. Their double-play chemistry also is rubbing off on the rest of the team.

When it comes to turning two , the Rays have been near if not at the top of the AL since the season began.

Tampa Bay has turned 31 double playsr, including four in Saturday's 7-1 loss to Anaheim. The Rays used six players to turn the four double plays.

"They have done it for us, all of the guys," Rothschild said. "It's a combination of things. Guys getting on base, making the right pitches, but they have worked hard at it and (infield coach) Greg (Riddoch) has done a great job with them."

TATIS' TORMENT: Ramon Tatis is the only left-hander in the Rays bullpen, and his season so far has been a nightmare. Before his appearance Saturday, Tatis had a 22.85 ERA and had allowed 21 of 33 hitters to reach base.

But he did not allow either of the two runner's on base in Saturday's ninth inning.

"It's nice to get him through an inning, in whatever fashion," Rothschild said.

_ ROGER MILLS, MARC TOPKIN

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