HERNANDEZ WILL BE BACK: Hernandez's reassignment is not going to last long, perhaps just one outing. "He's our closer, no question about it," Rothschild said.
What the Rays want to do is let Hernandez work out his problems by pitching when the game is not on the line, "ideally two innings with us leading 25-0 a situation where there's not pressure on him to make pitches so he can get a feel for what he wants to do without worrying about every little detail," Rothschild said. "I don't need to see anything. I want him to feel like he's got a chance. Plus the opportunity to pitch an inning and sit down in-between and maybe make some adjustments is a big thing."
Rothschild said there is no set time for Hernandez to reclaim his job. "If he has one (outing) and feels like he's got it back together, then that's fine," he said.
BOGGS SET: 3B Wade Boggs, on the disabled list since April 17 with a strained right calf, plans to be back in the lineup Friday night. Boggs ran the bases during pre-game workouts Tuesday and pronounced himself ready. "I'm 100 percent," he said. "I'm ready to go. It's just up to them now. I'd like to play (tonight). Realistically we're shooting for Friday." Rothschild said he expected to activate Boggs sometime during the weekend but would not commit to Friday. The Rays will have to make a related roster move, and Rothschild seems likely to keep 12 pitchers, which could be bad HONORARIUM: 1B Fred McGriff was selected the team's first major-league player of the month. McGriff hit .349 in April with six homers and 24 RBI. Triple-A Durham starter Matt Reubel was named the minor-league pitcher of the month and Class-A St. Petersburg CF Alex Sanchez was named player of the month. Reubel went 5-0 with a 3.26 ERA in five starts, striking out 24 in 30.1 innings. Sanchez hit .359 with 13 stolen bases and 16 runs scored.
MATCHUPS: The Rays will pitch Dennis Springer and Tony Saunders in the first two games of the Orioles series but are considering skipping Jason Johnson and using Alvarez on Sunday. The O's plan to pitch Doug Drabek, Mike Mussina and Jimmy Key.
RAYS WRAPUP: Rothschild's sister, Ann Liston, attended the game. She lives in Kansas City.
_ MARC TOPKIN