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Canseco whiffs in this "rematch'

Arthur Rhodes knows how to fight dirty.

A day after questioning Jose Canseco's manhood and challenging him to fight during an on-field brawl, Rhodes met with the Devil Rays designated hitter again.

This time, the bases were loaded and the game was on the line in the seventh inning. Rhodes worked the count to 1-and-2 throwing 96 and 97 mph fastballs. Then he struck him out _ on an 83 mph slider.

Talk about your low blows.

"He gave me two fastballs to hit earlier in the count and I missed them both. I got not one, but two fastballs to hit, and I fouled them back," Canseco said. "When a guy is throwing that hard and has that kind of slider, you miss two pitches you can hit and you're basically done."

Rhodes leapt off the mound after the strikeout and gestured in a downward motion with both arms. Later, Rhodes said he was not thinking about Saturday's incident when he had to be restrained after being pushed by Canseco.

"There's no carryover," Rhodes said. "In that situation, I'm not going to give up against him and I'm not going to hit him because I'm mad. Now it's all over and we can forget about it."

ESPN REPORT: ESPN's Peter Gammons reported in his online column Sunday that the Rays might be having cash flow problems. He said the team would like to move some higher-priced players, but was not finding anyone around the league willing to deal.

Managing general partner Vince Naimoli initially declined to comment on the report but later said it was not true.

CHANGING PITCHERS: After being skipped in his rotation spot Sunday in favor of Steve Trachsel, right-hander Dave Eiland will take Bryan Rekar's spot in the rotation Tuesday at Tropicana Field. Rekar will be in the bullpen for the immediate future, although the Rays will need another starter on Saturday.

Eiland had nine days between starts in his most recent outing and will have seven days off before Tuesday's game.

"I've been working with (pitching coach Bill) Fischer making sure I throw enough on the side to stay sharp," Eiland said. "I'm getting a little more comfortable in that role as a swing guy. It's really more mental than physical, making sure you're ready to go when your turn comes again."

PAIN IN THE NECK: Fred McGriff was given the day off Sunday after struggling with neck and shoulder stiffness for several games. "I'm fine," McGriff said. "It's just been a long road trip."

Steve Cox started at first base for the first time since April 13. Cox started one game in rightfield and one game at designated hitter since then.

THE AFTERMATH: Major League Baseball vice president Frank Robinson has cracked down on on-field violence with stiff suspensions this season, but the Rays are hoping to avoid repercussions from Saturday's brawl.

Umpire crew chief Bruce Froemming essentially exonerated Esteban Yan, saying the Rays pitcher was not intentionally throwing at Mark McLemore.

"I would think that would help," manager Larry Rothschild said of Froemming's comments. "I'm not going to anticipate anything. I'll react to whatever happens, if anything."

Since he charged the mound, McLemore likely will be suspended.

Rothschild said he was certain Yan was not throwing at McLemore when the Mariners second baseman called time and stepped out of the box.

"I think if Esty had the intention of hurting someone, you would have seen a 94 mph fastball in his back or over his head," Rothschild said.

HERE AND THERE: After seeing Frank Catalanotto record eight consecutive hits in the Texas series, the Rays watched John Olerud reach base eight times in a row Saturday and Sunday. Olerud had four singles, two doubles and two walks. Ozzie Guillen played first base in the eighth and recorded three putouts. It was the second time in his 15-year career he has played at first. Gerald Williams extended his hitting streak to seven games. He has hit safely in 16 of 17.

_ JOHN ROMANO

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