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Rays cut Abbott, call up prospect Brazelton

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Tampa Bay Devil Rays shook up their
struggling pitching staff on Thursday, releasing veteran starter
Paul Abbott and calling up prized prospect Dewon Brazelton.

They also designated right-hander Jason Standridge for
assignment and recalled right-hander Jesus Colome, who will pitch
in middle relief.

Brazelton, a right-hander, replaces Abbott in the rotation and
will start Sunday at Baltimore.

"With Paul, it was difficult letting him go," manager Lou
Piniella said before Thursday's game at Minnesota. "We're going
younger, obviously. This will give Paul another chance to catch on
with another team, and hopefully he will."

Abbott, 36, was 2-5 with a 6.70 ERA -- giving up 30 runs in 21
2-3 innings. He's been in pro baseball since 1985, making his major
league debut in 1990 with the Twins and pitching for Piniella in
Seattle from 1998-2002. He went 17-4 for the Mariners in 1999.

Brazelton, who turns 24 on June 16, was taken by Tampa Bay with
the No. 3 pick in the 2001 amateur draft out of Middle Tennessee
State. He was expected to make the Devil Rays' rotation out of
spring training last season, but injuries slowed him and he went
just 1-6 with a 6.89 ERA in 10 starts.

In 10 starts for Durham this year, Brazelton was 4-4 with a 4.71
ERA in 49 2-3 innings. He didn't give up a home run.

The hard-throwing Colome tied for the club lead in appearances
last season with 54.

Standridge, a first-round draft choice in 1997, struggled in
three appearances (one start) this year -- giving up 10 runs and
five homers in 10 innings. He had shoulder surgery after last
season. Tampa Bay has 10 days to trade, release or ask waivers on
him.

"For his sake, I hope he gets claimed so he can stay in the big
leagues," Piniella said. "But if not, we'd love to have him in
Triple-A."

During Thursday's game, the Devil Rays announced they claimed
utility man Jose Bautista off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles.
He will join the team Friday, and a corresponding move will be
announced then.