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Stomach sidelines McGriff one game

The good news is that Fred McGriff does not have an ulcer. The bad news is that he does have gastritis, an irritation of the stomach that can be treated with medicine.

"This is the much lesser of the two evils," trainer Jamie Reed said.

The byproduct was that McGriff missed Friday night's game, the first time he had been out of the Rays' lineup.

McGriff has had stomach pains for about a week, and an ulcer was a possibility. "You're always concerned when it keeps hurting," McGriff said.

But Friday's tests for an ulcer were negative. Medicine administered as part of the testing made him too sick to play.

McGriff, who is hitting .349 and leads the team with six homers and 24 RBI, said he would be back in the lineup today.

Paul Sorrento moved to first base and into the cleanup spot as manager Larry Rothschild shuffled the lineup.

Dave Martinez, who was going to rest his sore shoulder, stepped in as DH, going 1-for-3 with two walks. He too said he would play today.

Martinez sprained his left shoulder diving for a ball Wednesday. Although he was able to swing a bat, he 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," Rothschild said.

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 either. "He probably needs another day at least," Rothschild 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."

DOC RAY: Except for their 10 games against Cleveland, the Rays have a pretty big fan in Dwight Gooden. The Tampa native/St. Petersburg resident, who signed with Cleveland, said he has followed his hometown team closely. "Like a kid," Gooden said. "I just wish my father (Dan, who died last year) was still around, because we always talked about what it would be like when we had a team there. I was going to get him a (luxury) box." Gooden was a free agent during the winter and said he was surprised, but not bitter, that the Rays didn't make an offer. "You never know, sometime down the road something might happen," Gooden said. "But at this point in my career this is the right place for me." Gooden, 33, has been on the disabled list since spring training with shoulder stiffness. He begins a 30-day rehab assignment with Triple-A Buffalo on Sunday.

ROTHSCHILD REVIEW: League officials Friday received a report from umpire Marty Foster regarding the ejection of Rothschild on Sunday and will review game tape early next week. Foster said Rothschild made contact with him after the ejection; Rothschild said he did nothing wrong. Bumping an umpire can lead to a suspension. "It will be Monday or Tuesday before we look at the video, so nothing is imminent," AL vice president Phyllis Merhige said.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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