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Pills prove grievous to Grieve

Ben Grieve has sworn off nutritional supplements after a scary episode that forced him to miss the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader.

Grieve said he was looking for a pick-me-up when he purchased a bottle of Energy Fuel capsules Monday. He took two pills Tuesday morning and began to feel dizzy and lightheaded.

"It scared me more than anything," Grieve said. "I knew I'd taken them, and then I started feeling bad."

Grieve said he occasionally has taken similar supplements but never has had that type of reaction. According to copies of the label posted on various Web sites, Energy Fuel includes ephedrine group alkaloids and herbal ingredients such as mattvang and guarana seed extract and ginseng.

"It's got all the stuff I should be smart enough to know to not put in my body," Grieve said. "After this I won't be taking this stuff anymore. I threw the bottle in the trash."

Grieve came back to play the second game with no ill effects and went 1-for-3.

LABOR PAINS: Rays player rep John Flaherty reiterated Tuesday that the players union has not set Sept. 16 or any other date for the start of a potential strike.

He did say Rays players have agreed to go along with whatever the union does as far as setting a strike date or walking out.

"We have authorized it in a roundabout way. We took care of everything we needed to," Flaherty said. "We're 100 percent behind whatever the executive board needs to do. Hopefully, the executive board won't need to do anything."

ACTION PENDING: The Rays should know by Thursday if Esteban Yan will be suspended for hitting Manny Ramirez with a pitch Thursday. Major League Baseball vice president Bob Watson was reviewing tapes and reports and was said to be close to a decision.

FIGHTING WORDS: The Rays who opened Tuesday's Boston Herald found more derogatory comments from Red Sox players stemming from recent beanball episodes.

Derek Lowe said: "Just because a guy hits a home run off you, you don't automatically plunk him the next day. Are they told to do that or don't they know how to play the game?"

Trot Nixon said: "I don't know what the problem is with them. If it's not the players, then it's the coaching staff. And if it's not the coaching staff, then it's the owner."

COMING UP: Travis Harper is tentatively scheduled to start Saturday's game against the Yankees. The Rays are short a starter because of Tuesday's doubleheader. Harper is 1-2 with a 4.30 ERA in three starts.

INTERESTED OBSERVERS: McRae, Rays coaches and managing general parter Vince Naimoli enjoyed a closeup view of Monday's Ted Williams celebration.

Pitching coach Jackie Brown, who played for Williams in 1970-71 when he managed the Washington Senators, was especially touched.

"I enjoyed it very much," Brown said. "It brought back a lot of memories, and memories were something I didn't ever consider when I was with him."

MISCELLANY: The Rays will give infielder Felix Escalona, out since July 17 with a strained right groin, a few more days. Steve Cox matched his career high by hitting his 12th home run. The 22 runs the Red Sox scored in the opener were their most in a regular-season home game since a 23-3 win over Detroit June 16, 1953. Twelfth-round draft pick Blair Irvin, an outfielder from Patterson, La., signed. Scouts from the Astros were among those watching Paul Wilson pitch. The elapsed time from the start of game 1 to end of Game 2 was 10 hours, 48 minutes.

_ MARC TOPKIN

TONIGHT: RAYS AT RED SOX

WORTH NOTING: Kennedy is coming off the worst start of his career, a four-inning, six-run outing at Toronto on Friday. He has no decisions and a 2.08 ERA in two starts against Boston. Castillo, who pitched 2 innings in relief Sunday, lasted only four innings against the Rays on Thursday. He is 2-0 with a 2.60 ERA overall against the Rays.

OUTTA LEFTFIELD

After the Rays' 22-4 loss in the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader, manager Hal McRae politely answered all questions and then said he was going for a walk. So, someone asked, after that particularly ugly display, was he planning on coming back? "It's like the stock market," McRae said. "It's too late to get out now."

Up next:IN BRIEF

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