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Pitcher Santana eager to justify the gamble

Julio Santana couldn't have been more excited to join the Devil Rays on Wednesday.

Santana, claimed on waivers from Texas on Monday, met the team here and said he was ready and willing for action.

"I'm pretty happy," Santana said. "I want to be in a place where they appreciate me, and I'm going to try and do my best here. It's a new beginning."

The Rangers waived Santana, a 24-year-oldright-hander, when they were unable to work out a trade and couldn't send him to the minors because he was out of options.

Santana was considered a top prospect in the Rangers organization and said he is eager to show them they made a mistake in giving up on him. The Rays are even more eager to see what he can do.

Santana, a nephew of former major-league star Rico Carty, has not pitched in a game since April 11. But he stayed fit by working out at The Ballpark in Arlington and playing catch with a friend on a golf course near his Texas apartment.

"I've been running and throwing and doing all my normal stuff," Santana said. "The only thing I haven't been doing is facing hitters. I feel fine now. I don't think a couple days will take me out of rhythm because I've been throwing."

Santana, who throws a fastball, changeup and slider, primarily has been a starter, but the Rays plan to use him in relief for now. "I'll try to get him in games in a variety of different ways, but obviously lesser roles until he gets some innings in," manager Larry Rothschild said.

Santana will wear No. 60.

DAVEY DOWN: OF Davey Martinez, one of the Rays' most consistent performers, sustained a slight strain of his left shoulder making a diving catch in the fourth inning. The shoulder tightened during the game. Martinez eventually had to leave and was examined by a Twins' doctor. "It's pretty sore," Martinez said. Rothschild said Martinez is day-to-day; Martinez said he would to play today.

ON TARGET: Twins pitcher Bob Tewksbury is good, but usually not that good. He struck out nine and allowed five hits over eight innings. "It must be where the planets are lined up," he said. "My son is studying Venus. Maybe something is going on with the planets. I don't know."

BOGGED DOWN: 3B Wade Boggs experienced pain in his strained right calf while working out. His return to active duty is now uncertain. "It's day-to-day until he doesn't feel it for a couple days," Rothschild said. Boggs, on the disabled list since April 17, had been improving and was going to be close to ready Saturday, the first day he could be activated. "It's progressively getting better every day, but it's just a slow process," said Boggs, who never had been on the DL. "One day it's real good, the next day there's a little setback, the next day's real good. It's just frustrating. I want to wake up and have it be completely gone. I want to get over the hill, but it's like a monster roller coaster."

WRAP-UP: Wilson Alvarez pitches Tuesday and Rolando Arrojo Wednesday in Kansas City. OF Jerome Walton took balls at first base. Marty Foster, the umpire who ejected Rothschild on Sunday night, was not with the crew on Wednesday. Foster, a Triple-A umpire, had filled in for Ted Hendry, who returned to duty.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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