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NOTEBOOK From PNC Park



Published: Sat, June 16, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Boos and cheers: Pirates outfielder Derek Bell played his first game with the Pirates after a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Nashville. Batting .136 after 110 at-bats, the $4.5 million player suggested to the media Thursday that he doesn't deserve to be booed until he's had at least 250 at-bats. When Bell came to bat for the first time in the second inning Friday, the boos were louder than the cheers. Bell walked and scored on Jack Wilson's base hit. In the third inning, Bell singled to bring home Aramis Ramirez with the Bucs' fifth run, earning cheers. "I hope it's the start of something good for us," Bell said. "But we face another tough starter tomorrow."

On deck: The Indians will send right-hander Jaret Wright (2-1, 4.91 earned-run average) against the Pirates' Jason Schmidt (2-2, 6.16) in tonight's game. WUAB Channel 43 and Fox Sports Pittsburgh will begin televising at 7 p.m.

Vander Wal is OK: Pirates first baseman John Vander Wal left the game after a seventh-inning collision with catcher Jason Kendall, who was catching a foul popup. Bucs manager Lloyd McClendon said Vander Wal "was a little cloudy" after the play and took him out "because of the heat. Jason hit him pretty [hard]." Vander Wal said he feels he will be able to play in tonight's game.

Sellout: Friday's paid attendance was 36,235 for the Bucs' fourth sellout at PNC Park. The games tonight and Sunday afternoon also are sold-out, but standing-room tickets are available.

Turnpike update: The Indians lead the five-year regular-season rivalry with a 7-6 mark. The Tribe won four of the six games at Jacobs Field in 1998 and 2000. The Pirates and Indians split the six games played at Three Rivers Stadium in 1997 and 1999.

Road warriors: At 22-10, the Indians have the second-best road record in baseball. The Tribe has won 22 of 29 games away from Jacobs Field since April 12. Entering this series, the Indians had a .305 batting average away from home compared to .289 at Jacobs Field.

Thome cooled: Indians first baseman Jim Thome has 12 homers in his past 19 games. With 19 homers, he's tied with the Rangers' Alex Ramirez and Blue Jays' Carlos Delgado for second in the American League, trailing Boston's Manny Ramirez (21). Pirates left-handers Jimmy Anderson and Scott Sauerbeck struck the Tribe slugger out three times. He also lined out to left field in the second inning.

Lead-off woes: The Pirates' lead-off batter hasn't scored a first-inning run in 24 games. Emil Brown was the last to do so on May 17 against the Cardinals.




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