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Vaughn won't need surgery on shoulder

Greg Vaughn needs to keep doing exercises and taking anti-inflammatory medicines, but he doesn't need surgery to heal his sore right shoulder.

That was the word Wednesday from orthopedic surgeon Lewis Yocum, who found only inflammation in the shoulder.

Vaughn took it as good news: "I was happy. It gave me a little peace of mind."

Vaughn strained the shoulder July 27 and, unable to throw without pain, has been limited to designated hitter duties since Aug. 7.

Trainer Jamie Reed said Vaughn did extremely well on strength tests, which is a good indication there is no damage to the rotator cuff. Vaughn has a history of shoulder problems, having had one open surgery and two arthroscopic procedures.

"(Yocum) said he's as strong now as he's ever been," Reed said.

"Stronger," Vaughn said.

Vaughn also will be examined by noted surgeon James Andrews, the Rays medical director, this weekend in St. Petersburg, but the most likely course of action will be to make slight adjustments to his workout routines and medicines in hopes of reducing the inflammation over the next 10 days.

If it works, Vaughn might return to the outfield for the final week of the season. Going into Wednesday's game, Vaughn has hit .154 as a designated hitter, .294 when playing leftfield.

"Whatever it takes," Vaughn said. "I can't handle this DH thing."

RESHUFFLED: It turns out the Rays won't juggle their rotation after all. Rookie Travis Harper will take his scheduled turn against Oakland on Sunday, following Albie Lopez and Paul Wilson. Bryan Rekar, Cory Lidle and Lopez likely will work the Seattle series.

CAUTIOUS APPROACH: Jesus Colome, the top pitching prospect acquired from Oakland, was shut down more for precautionary reasons than indications that the tightness in his right forearm is a sign of a serious injury, general manager Chuck LaMar said. "We were just being overly cautious," LaMar said. "He didn't feel 100 percent and we didn't want to push it." Colome, for whom the Rays gave up relievers Jim Mecir and Todd Belitz, will report to instructional league next week and may pitch in winter ball.

EVERS READY: Making it to the big leagues as a coach for the final weeks of the 1999 season was a significant accomplishment for Triple-A Durham manager Bill Evers. It was the first time he'd been part of the show during his 21-year coaching career.

Getting to come back for another couple weeks again this year is even better. "It's good to make another appearance and it's going to be another learning process," Ever said. "I'll get to see how things are going and see some of the younger guys that I had and see how they are doing."

The call-up to the big leagues was a reward for a job well done at Durham, Rays manager Larry Rothschild said. "Everytime we made a move here, which almost seemed daily with all the injuries, he got impacted there, and it's tough. But he always handled everything great."

WINN-WIN SITUATION: The positive side of being left at Triple-A Durham for most of the second half was that outfielder Randy Winn got to play every day and focus on putting together a strong second half.

Having done that, he plans to take the same simple approach over the final couple weeks with the big-league team.

"I'm going to approach it how I approached things down there _ concentrate on the game at hand," Winn said. "I'm not really trying to play for any ulterior motives, I'm not trying to do too much, I'm not trying to go out and impress the world. I just want to concentrate on what I can do and what I'm doing in that game."

RAYS BITS: The 2001 schedule is expected to be released today; the Rays open at home April 3 against Toronto. Right-hander Dave Eiland plans to test his hyperextended right knee in a bullpen session Friday afternoon and expects to be available on Friday or Saturday.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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