1,500th win twice as nice for Piniella

AL notebook

Baseball Week

August 21, 2005

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays aren't exactly known for historic wins or for making manager Lou Piniella happy.

On Wednesday, though, they accomplished both.

Their second consecutive comeback victory against the New York Yankees at Tropicana Field also served as Piniella's 1,500th managerial victory.

He is the 18th manager to reach that mark and just the third person in baseball history to have 1,500 hits as a player and 1,500 wins as a manager.

The other two are Hall of Famer Fred Clarke and the Yankees' Joe Torre.

"The irony about this whole thing is that Joe is one of the two that had done it," Piniella said. "And here we beat his team for me to join that elite group. I'm honored."

It also was fitting because Piniella has been rumored to be returning to New York, where his managerial career began in 1986, if Torre is fired and Piniella can get out of his contract.

It's more likely Piniella, who turns 62 next Sunday, will stay at his home in Tampa and keep managing the Devil Rays - especially if they continue their dominance against the Yankees. The last-place Rays are 9-4 against New York this season.

After being showered with beer by his players, the normally grouchy Piniella spent the evening smiling widely and accepting congratulations from family and friends.

In Piniella's career, he has managed four different teams over 19 seasons. His 1,500 wins break down this way: 224 with the Yankees from 1986 to 1988; 255 (and the 1990 World Series title) with the Cincinnati Reds from 1990 to 1992; 840 with Seattle from 1993 to 2002, and 181 with the Devil Rays.

Podsednik hurting

Chicago's Scott Podsednik, possibly the Most Valuable Player of the league's best team, went on the disabled last week with a strained left groin.

He spent the past three weeks trying to play through the pain, but it was obvious he was hurting. The majors' current stolen-base leader with 54, Podsednik was thrown out just nine times in his first 59 attempts. He was thrown out five times in his past nine tries over the past three weeks.

"It got to the point to where I can't continue on," said Podsednik, who hopes to be back to full strength in September.

Royals on track?

Despite a historic losing streak this month, Kansas City general manager Allard Baird said the Royals will stick with their rebuilding plan.

"The alternative is to change direction. And that would be easy at this point, but it would be a mistake. ... I understand that people are upset. I understand why they're upset. But you can't change the direction."

Quick hits

Outfielder Joe Borchard, to whom the White Sox paid a record $5.3 million signing bonus in 2000, was passed over for a promotion last week. He'll be 27 in November and is out of options next spring. ... The Cleveland Indians have been shut out nine times this season. Kevin Millwood has started four of those games for Cleveland. ... A return this season for Toronto's Roy Halladay (broken leg) is still questionable.

League notebooks are compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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