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Three called up for late duty

Randy Winn, Ozzie Timmons and Toby Hall all played key roles in getting Triple-A Durham into the playoffs. And the day after the Bulls were eliminated, they were rewarded with promotions to the big leagues.

Durham manager Bill Evers also was called up to work as an extra coach for the rest of the season.

To make room for Timmons and Hall on the 40-man roster, the Rays put Ryan Rupe on the 60-day disabled list, officially ending his season, and designated Mike Duvall for assignment, meaning they have 10 days to trade, release or expose him to waivers.

Timmons, 29, had a spectacular season for the Bulls, hitting .300 with 29 homers, 104 RBI and 100 runs.

"He had a heck of a year," Rays manager Larry Rothschild said. "He earned his call-up."

Timmons, a product of Brandon High and the University of Tampa, has played parts of four seasons, including the entire 1995 campaign, in the majors, having been with the Cubs, Reds, and Mariners before the Rays.

"I'm glad they gave me a chance and gave me a call-up," Timmons said.

Hall, 24, is the top catching prospect in the organization, having moved from Double-A Orlando to Durham to the majors in one season. "I never expected it," Hall said.

He hit .343 with nine homers and 50 RBI in 68 games for Orlando, then .304 with seven homers and 35 RBI in 47 games for Durham.

"We need to see him and he earned it also," Rothschild said.

Winn, 26, has been up and down during each of his three years in the Rays organization. He didn't do much during seven weeks with the Rays in mid-season (hitting .227 while bothered by a sore left wrist), but had a strong second half with Durham and finished with impressive Triple-A numbers: .330 average, 40 RBI, 36 extra-base hits, 67 runs and 18 steals in 79 games.

"I got to take some time off to get my wrist healthy, and after that I tried to put together a good second half and I think I did that and the numbers show it," Winn said.

Winn will join the crowded outfield rotation, and will help fill in for Gerald Williams if his suspension is not overturned. Rothschild said Hall likely will make a few starts and Timmons will be mostly a pinch-hitter.

FOR EVERY ACTION : Duvall, the 16th pick in the expansion draft, was never really effective during parts of three seasons with the Rays. Worse, the left-hander didn't do very well at Triple-A this season, posting a 6-2 record and 4.59 ERA while allowing 85 hits and 44 walks in 80 innings.

Rupe's season was most likely over when he was hospitalized last week because of a blood clot in his right arm, and Monday's action made it official.

NO Q-BALL: The Rays did not call up outfielder Quinton McCracken, who had four prior stints with the team this season. McCracken hit .129 in 15 games with the Rays, .260 in 85 games at Triple-A.

"He hadn't played that well, from what I understand," Rothschild said.

McCracken voiced his displeasure and asked for a trade after two of the demotions and reported nearly a week late to Durham after the final move.

SHOULDERING THE LOAD: Greg Vaughn will be examined by two leading sports doctors this week in an attempt to find out why his right shoulder continues to hurt and prevents him from throwing.

He will be examined today in Anaheim by Dr. Lewis Yocum and at home over the weekend by Dr. James Andrews.

"I need to know what is wrong and then at least I can have peace of mind," Vaughn said. "If it's strained and needs rest, fine. And if there's something wrong (that needs to be repaired), fine. I just need to know."

In any case, it doesn't look like he will return to the outfield this season.

STURTZE BETTER: Pitcher Tanyon Sturtze, on the disabled list with a strained left oblique muscle, is feeling much better but still has some discomfort, Rothschild said. Sturtze won't be allowed to throw off a mound until he is pain free and it is not certain whether he will make it back to pitch this season.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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