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Rays of hope for Restovich?

Restovich might suffer a similar fate in Tampa

By Troy Young

tyoung@postbulletin.com

The knee-jerk assumption by some Minnesota Twins fans is that Michael Restovich will finally get his chance in the major leagues to play every day and show why he was picked by his hometown team in the second round of the 1997 draft.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays' response to that might be, "not so fast."

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Because they needed four catchers on their 25-man roster, the Twins waived Restovich, who two years ago was ranked by Baseball America as one of the top 10 prospects in major league baseball. Minutes after being waived Thursday, Restovich, a Rochester Mayo graduate, was picked up by the Devil Rays.

Upon receiving the news he had been waived by the Twins and picked up by the Devil Rays, Restovich reported directly to Tampa on Thursday night and was unavailable to return calls from the Post-Bulletin.

Restovich met with Devil Rays officials Thursday night and learned he would be in the lineup today for the Devil Rays' game against the Washington Nationals in Viera, Fla. Restovich is scheduled to remain with the team for Saturday's game against Washington at Tropicana Field in Tampa.

But barring a major roster shift the Devil Rays are expected to place Restovich on waivers again. If he clears, he would likely be assigned to Durham (N.C.), the site of the Rays' Triple-A team.

"The starting outfield is Carl Crawford in left, Alex Sanchez in center, and Aubrey Huff in right," Devil Rays beat writer Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times told the Post-Bulletin. "The fourth outfielder is likely Chris Singleton -- who didn't play last season -- and the fifth would be Eduardo Perez, who has to be on the team because he makes almost $1 million."

Restovich said repeatedly during the offseason that if the Twins would release him, he hoped it wouldn't be in the final days of spring training. "If they let me go at the end of camp then most teams have their rosters set," Restovich said before spring training. "I know it's a business, but that would make it tough for me."

Ironically he suffered that identical fate.

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