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Boggs "definitely' in lineup tonight

The countdown is still on for Wade Boggs.

Boggs came out of Wednesday night's game in Seattle with inflammation and fluid in his right knee but is expected to be in the lineup tonight seeking the three hits he needs for 3,000.

"I talked to Wade today and he's definitely feeling better," Rays trainer Jamie Reed said Thursday night. "We're definitely a go for (tonight). I don't anticipate any problems."

Boggs irritated the knee sliding into second Monday and had some swelling Tuesday. He decided to come out Wednesday for precautionary reasons after experiencing additional swelling and some soreness.

MORE BOGGS: Boggs insists he is not looking ahead to the historic hit. "I don't even want to think about me walking to the plate," he said. "The moment that it happens, that's what I'm going to enjoy. I'm not going to envision the whole scenario or who I'm going to face or anything like that. It'll probably be the only time in my career that I never visualize something before I do it."

Boggs expects to have plenty of family and friends in the stands tonight, including his wife and daughter, father, brother and sister. His son, Brett, will be the bat boy. "The whole gang will be there in full force," he said. He plans to wear a lucky shirt given to him by his daughter. Boggs said the best part of the weeks leading to the milestone have been the congratulations from opposing players. "That's the special part to me, that it's coming from guys you play against," Boggs said. "That's a good feeling."

EILAND CELEBRATION: RHP Dave Eiland is getting better. After going nearly four years between big-league victories, he beat the Mariners on Wednesday for his second win in less than a month. "Hopefully it will be even shorter for the next one," Eiland said. "I'm doing all I can do." Mixing a sharp breaking curve with a live fastball, Eiland scattered five hits during six shutout innings as the Rays won 7-1, snapping a five-game losing streak.

ARROJO REVIVAL: Rolando Arrojo is not quite back to the form that led to a 10-5 record in the first half of 1998 and a trip to the All-Star Game, but the Rays say he's getting close. "I don't see why he can't," manager Larry Rothschild said. "There's no question (his stuff) is good enough the way it is right now. He'll probably add some velocity back on everything. Otherwise it's endurance as much as anything."

Arrojo tonight makes his fifth start since coming off the disabled list, having lost twice but posting a respectable 3.08 ERA. (Overall he is 2-7, 6.10.) His velocity has crept back up to the low 90s, and in his last outing his fastball showed good life and his slider was sharp.

OUCH: 1B Fred McGriff wasn't sure late Wednesday if his left quadriceps muscle would be too sore for him to play tonight. McGriff also was forced from the game, but not before a home run that extended his record of going deep in 36 big-league stadiums. "This is a big ol' ballpark," he said of new Safeco Field. "To hit one here you have your work cut out for you." OF Dave Martinez was scratched Wednesdaywith a stiff back but said he will be back tonight.

ATTENDANCE UPDATE: Ticket sales for today and Saturday are close to 30,000, a little less for Sunday. The $3 Wade Boggs tickets are sold out for tonight; about 500 remain for Saturday and 1,000 for Sunday.

YOUNG CHAMPIONS UNITE: Coach Frank Howard will sign autographs near the stadium brew pub after tonight's game.

_ MARC TOPKIN, JOHN ROMANO

Boggs report

HITS TO 3,000: 3

OPPOSING STARTER: Dave Burba

BOGGS' RECORD: 1-for-4, two walks

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