McGriff joins Triple-A Durham, will be called up to majors
May 19, 2004
SportsLine.com wire reports
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Fred McGriff may yet get his chance to reach 500 home runs.
The 40-year-old slugger has decided to join Triple-A Durham, and the sagging Tampa Bay Devil Rays expect to promote him to the majors by the end of May.
"I think three left-handed hitters in the lineup hitting .200 or below prompts us to make this move," Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar said Wednesday. "Fred McGriff gives us an experienced bat in the line up. We're looking for offense."
McGriff is nine home runs short of 500.
The Devil Rays were a major league worst 10-27 entering Wednesday night's game against Boston. They were hitting an AL-low .239, and their DHs were batting .157.
"Fred's had a wonderful career. Hopefully we'll be in a position to give him an opportunity to hit his nine home runs and he in turn can help us win some baseball games," manager Lou Piniella said.
Last season, the first in which he spent time on the disabled list, McGriff hit a career-low .249 with 13 homers and 40 RBI in 86 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Devil Rays signed McGriff to a minor league contract for spring training, giving him a chance to show he was healthy. After finding no takers, the Tampa native stayed home to get in shape.
The first baseman/DH will play in Durham's game Thursday night.
"We expect by the end of the month for him to be ready to be called up and will be called up to the major leagues provided he's healthy at that time," LaMar said.
"He's been working out everyday," he said. "Staying in shape is not a problem for Fred McGriff. Getting in baseball shape is what he needs to do in the next couple weeks. That's what he'll do in Durham."
McGriff was traded from Atlanta to the Devil Rays before the club's inaugural season in 1998. He played 3½ seasons for Tampa Bay before reluctantly accepting a trade to the Chicago Cubs in July 2001.
A .285 hitter over 18 seasons with the Blue Jays, Padres, Braves, Devil Rays, Cubs and Dodgers, McGriff has 1,543 career RBI.
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
I hope he gets his 500....does anyone think getting 500 gets him in the hall?