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Saunders will test Series lessons today

Tony Saunders doesn't consider his last trip to Cleveland a total loss.

He started Game 4 of the World Series for the Marlins, but he didn't pitch very well, getting knocked out in the third inning after allowing six runs on seven hits and two walks in what became a 10-3 Cleveland victory.

Saunders said Friday he is better for the Jacobs Field experience: "At least I knew how to get around when I got here."

Having faced the Cleveland batters should be something of an advantage today when he opposes Chad Ogea at 1:05 p.m. "I only saw them for a couple innings," Saunders said, "but I know what they can hit."

Actually, time is a wonderful salve. The Marlins went on to win the Series, Saunders was the No. 1 pick in the expansion draft and that Oct. 22 outing actually is now a good memory.

"I was very fortunate (to start a Series game)," he said. "I hope I get to do it again."

MEDICAL REPORT: The Rays' injured outfielders are getting better _ slowly. Rich Butler, who was struck on the right hand by a pitch Thursday, had soreness and additional swelling Friday and might not be available today. "He probably needs another day at least," Rothschild said. Martinez, who sustained a sprained left shoulder diving for a ball Wednesday, was improved enough to hit Friday but felt discomfort when he tried to throw. "I can't take a chance with it because it could get far more serious if I did," Roths-child said. Jerome Walton, who was scratched from Thursday's game with a migraine and sinus infection, said he was better Friday, but tired. "I was up all night (Wednesday) and finally got about two hours (Thursday) night," Walton said. "So I'm playing on two or three hours sleep in the last two days."

WRAP-UP: Mike DiFelice threw out Indians speedster Kenny Lofton trying to steal second in the first inning, the third time Lofton has been caught this season in 13 attempts. Lofton stole successfully in the third. Rolando Arrojo had teammates sign one of the balls from his complete-game victory. Butler turned 25 Friday.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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