MLB News and Notes May - 21

MLB News and Notes May - 21

Baseball Today - May 21
Mon, May 21, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD Monday, May 21

Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (7:05 p.m. EDT). Tim Wakefield squares off against Chien-Ming Wang.

STARS Sunday

-Geoff Jenkins, Brewers, homered and had five RBIs in a 6-5 win over Minnesota.

-Matt Morris, Giants, pitched a complete game two-hitter and struck out a season-high nine in a 4-1 win against Oakland.

-A.J. Pierzynski and Nick Masset, White Sox. Pierzynski hit a grand slam in a seven-run seventh inning and Masset won his first major league start in a 10-6 win over the Cubs.

-Kelvim Escobar, Angels, threw eight scoreless innings in a 4-1 victory over the Dodgers.

-Ramon Vazquez, Rangers, went 3-for-3 with a homer and five RBIs in a 14-1 rout of Houston.

REMATCH A MISMATCH

St. Louis was no match for Detroit in a World Series rematch. Justin Verlander stayed unbeaten in May to help the Tigers win 6-3 Sunday, completing a sweep of the defending world champions. The Tigers outscored the Cardinals 28-14 in the three-game series.

HOME SWEET HOME

Cleveland matched the best home start in their 107-year history with a 5-3 victory over Cincinnati to improve to 16-4. The only other time they started as well in their own ballpark was 1995, when they also opened 16-4 - on the way to their first World Series appearance in 41 years. The Indians are 14-3 at Jacobs Field and went 2-1 at Milwaukee's Miller Park when an April home series was moved there because of cold weather.

TEEING OFF

Mark Teixeira and Victor Diaz each hit two of Texas' season-high six home runs, and Ramon Vazquez also homered and drove in five runs to lead the Rangers to a 14-1 victory over the Houston Astros on Sunday. The 14 runs tied a season high for Texas.

STREAKS

Brandon Phillips extended his career-high hitting streak to 22 games in Cincinnati's 5-3 loss to Cleveland on Sunday. ... Randy Winn extended his hitting streak to 19 games in San Francisco''s 4-1 win over Oakland.

WHIFF

Andruw Jones struck out five times - including for the final out - when he represented the tying run in Atlanta's 6-3 loss to Boston on Sunday.

SPEAKING

''I've left a small village out there lately, so it's good to finally come through one time and be productive.'' - Arizona catcher Chris Snyder, who was 1-for-17 before getting three hits, one a three-run double, in the Diamondbacks' 5-2 win over Pittsburgh.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

Yankees' Rasner goes on 60-day DL; Clippard wins in debut
May 20th, 2007

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - New York Yankees starting pitcher Darrell Rasner went on the 60-day disabled list Sunday due to a fractured index finger on his throwing hand.

Rasner was hurt in Saturday's game against the New York Mets. Trying to field a comebacker off the bat of Endy Chavez, the ball hit off Rasner's right hand before squeaking through his legs. After locating the ball behind the mound, he picked it up to hold Chavez to an infield single.

Rasner, who is 1-3 with a 4.01 ERA this season, had surgery Saturday night and is expected to miss three months.

The Yankees replaced Rasner on the roster by purchasing the contract of pitcher Tyler Clippard from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Clippard allowed three hits and a run with three walks and six strikeouts over six innings in a 6-2 Yankee win Sunday night.

Clippard became the seventh rookie starting pitcher used by the Yankees in the team's first 42 games this season. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no team in the last 50 years have had as many different rookies start so early in the season.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

NL MVP Howard eyes return this week after rehab stint
May 20, 2007

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -NL MVP Ryan Howard, on the disabled list with a left quadriceps strain, fielded grounders Sunday and is on target to return to the Philadelphia Phillies this week.

Howard said he felt fine after taking ground balls for nearly 45 minutes before the Phillies beat the Toronto Blue Jays 5-3, and planned to play at Atlanta when he's activated from the DL on Friday.

``I felt good. I'm ready to go,'' Howard said. ``That's the plan, to try and be ready to go. Right now, things are looking pretty good. Hopefully they keep going the same way and the leg keeps getting better.''

Howard is scheduled to serve a rehab assignment as a designated hitter Wednesday and Thursday at Class-A Lakewood.

Howard slumped this year after hitting .313 with 58 homers and 149 RBIs in one of the best seasons ever for a sophomore player. He's batting just .204 with six homers and 23 RBIs, and has 39 strikeouts in 98 at_bats.

The Phillies on Sunday also sent LHP Fabio Castro to Double-A Reading, leaving the Phillies without a lefty in the bullpen. Castro was 0-0 with a 12.57 ERA in five games.

Also, injured Phillies reliever Ryan Madson struck out two and gave up three hits in two scoreless innings in a rehab appearance at Reading. Manager Charlie Manuel said Madson should be activated before Tuesday's game at Florida.

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Notes from Sunday's games
May 20, 2007

ST. LOUIS: Yadier Molina doubled Sunday to extend his hitting streak to 13 games, the longest by a Cardinals catcher since Ted Simmons hit safely in 19 straight during the 1975 season. ... Chris Duncan's 429-foot solo homer to straightaway center at Detroit's Comerica Park was the first such shot since Chicago's Paul Konerko hit one on Sept. 26, 2005, off Jason Johnson. ... The Cardinals' 16-25 start is the club's worst since the 1986 season and manager Tony La Russa's worst since he joined the club in 1996.

DETROIT: The club should know by Tuesday whether RHP Jeremy Bonderman will return from the disabled list. He missed Friday's start with a blister on his right middle finger. ... The Tigers lead the American League with 133 extra-base hits after collecting four during Sunday's win over St. Louis. Sean Casey and Carlos Guillen each doubled in the game to maintain the club's league lead (105) in that category. ... Detroit has had an extra-base hit in 30 of its last 31 games and a home run in 18 of its last 20.

CINCINNATI: RHP Aaron Harang doesn't believe being away from the team for three days to visit his ailing grandfather affected his performance Sunday. ``I threw my bullpen on my normal bullpen day when I was home,'' said Harang, who was activated from the bereavement list and gave up five runs over five innings in a 5-3 loss to Cleveland. ``Everything was normal. I felt fine.'' ... 2B Brandon Phillips is batting .351 (34-for-97) during a career-high 22-game hitting streak. He has four homers and 15 RBIs during the streak which is the longest in the NL this year and longest by a Reds player since Hal Morris hit in 29 straight in 1996. ... OF Ryan Freel has hit in seven of eight games, going 10-for-33 (.303) with five RBIs.

CLEVELAND: The Indians have won all seven of their home series this season. ``I don't know why. I can't put my finger on it,'' said RHP Paul Byrd, who's 4-0 in four home starts. Byrd has pitched at least six innings in all seven of his starts overall. ... SS Jhonny Peralta has 20 RBIs in his last 19 games. During a six-game hitting streak, he has batted .417 (10-for-24) with three homers and seven RBIs. ... C-1B Victor Martinez has hit .359 (23-for-64) with three homers and 12 RBIs since May 3. ... 2B Josh Barfield has hit .303 (10-for-33) with eight RBIs over his last eight games to put his average at .225. ... 3B Casey Blake has hit safely in 11 of 12 games, going 17-for-48 (.354).

TORONTO: The Blue Jays hit three homers in the eighth inning, tying their season high for most in an inning. They hit three in the first inning against Cleveland on May 1. ... LF Matt Stairs homered in three straight games for the first time since he went deep in four straight in 2001. ... The Blue Jays play Baltimore on Monday in the Hall of Fame Game in Cooperstown, N.Y.

PHILADELPHIA: RHP Adam Eaton made his third straight quality start, going 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA during that span. ... LF Pat Burrell hit five homers on the Phillies 7-3 homestand. The Phillies hit 12 home runs on the 10-game homestand. ... Phillies outfielders lead the NL with 20 assists. RF Shane Victorino leads the league with seven. ... The Phillies sent LHP Fabio Castro to Double-A Reading, leaving them without a lefty in the bullpen. Castro was 0-0 with a 12.57 ERA in five innings. ... Injured Phillies reliever Ryan Madson struck out two and gave up three hits in two scoreless innings in a rehab appearance at Reading. Manager Charlie Manuel said Madson should be activated before Tuesday's game at Florida.

BALTIMORE: OF Corey Patterson didn't start Sunday, but popped out as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, extending his drought to 0-for-17. ``One of the things we did with him last year was have him bunt a little more. If he can get a couple of hits drag bunting, that will get his confidence up and will make a big difference,'' manager Sam Perlozzo said. ... Baltimore plays Toronto in the Hall of Fame game Monday in Cooperstown, N.Y. The Orioles will use 12 players from Class-A Frederick. Perlozzo said that none of his pitchers will appear in the game, but his position players will. ``They'll all start, but they won't play very long,'' he said. ... LHP Erik Bedard tied his career high with 12 strikeouts Sunday, something he did twice before.

WASHINGTON:
LF Ryan Church left Sunday's game with a bruised and swollen left forearm after getting hit by a pitch. An MRI exam showed the arm wasn't broken, and Church said he hoped to be able to play Monday at Cincinnati. ... RF Austin Kearns went 0-for-3 Sunday to drop to 1-for-20 in his past six games, leaving his season batting average at .244. ``It's trying to get things done and I'm just not getting any results,'' he said. ``It's nothing that I haven't been through before and I'll come out of it.'' ... CF Nook Logan didn't have an RBI this season as of Friday. But he drove in a run Saturday, then produced a go-ahead, two-run single in the eighth Sunday. ``I've been having good at_bats the last couple of days,'' he said. ... Nationals pinch hitters are batting 7-for-73 (a .096 average) this season. The team's pitchers are a combined 6-for-55 (.109).

FLORIDA: RHP Anibal Sanchez, on the minor league DL because of right shoulder tendinitis, is expected to begin playing catch Monday. ... RHP Josh Johnson, out since late March with a right elbow injury, will pitch a simulated game Tuesday in Jupiter, Fla. No date has been set for him to begin a minor league rehabilitation assignment. ... OF Alejandro De Aza, sidelined since mid-April with a sprained right ankle, still isn't ready to begin playing in minor league games.

TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays have hit 53 homers, their highest total ever through 43 games. ... LHP Jon Switzer began a minor league rehab assignment Saturday at Triple-A Durham. ... C Josh Paul was not available Sunday after being shaken up when the Marlins' Miguel Olivo slid hard into home plate Saturday night. X-rays were negative, however manager Joe Maddon's said Paul's sore left arm would be re-evaluated before Tampa Bay begins a three-game series against Seattle on Tuesday night. ... With the team having an off day Monday, struggling LHP Scott Kazmir's next start was moved up a day to Tuesday. Maddon said that would put him back on a normal schedule of pitching with four days' rest, instead of five, and give Kazmir a chance to regain ``the sharpness that he normally has.''

ATLANTA: OF Andruw Jones, who had been suffering from tightness in his back, was in the lineup after missing the second game of Saturday's doubleheader. He struck out five times. ... Recalled INF Martin Prado from Triple-A Richmond and put RHP Anthony Lerew on the 15-day DL because of inflamed nerves in his right forearm. ... Matt Diaz, who had four hits, also made a nice catch in foul territory down the left-field line to retire Alex Cora in the sixth. Boston's Manny Ramirez made one to retire Chipper Jones in the seventh. The line is only 3 feet from the wall in the area, and it's unusual to see even one catch there.

BOSTON: Recalled LHP Kason Gabbard from Triple-A to start Sunday against Atlanta and then optioned him back after the game. Devern Hansack, Saturday night's loser, was also optioned to Pawtucket, and Manny Delcarmen was to be brought up on Monday. Delcarmen is 2-2 with a 5.03 ERA in 14 appearances for Pawtucket. ... Kevin Youkilis extended his hitting streak to a career-high 13 games.

TEXAS: Texas recalled RHP Wes Littleton from Triple-A Oklahoma and optioned LHP John Koronka there Sunday. Koronka spent just one day with the Rangers after being called up Saturday and starting that night. He allowed six hits and three runs in five innings for the loss in his first major league start of the season. Littleton has appeared in one game for Texas this season and retired the three hitters he faced. ... 3B Hank Blalock will have surgery Monday because of a condition that affects the nerves in his shoulder and neck. On Monday, Rangers fans can send well wishes to Blalock by signing oversized get well cards at the ballpark. The cards will be placed at the first, third and home plate entrances to the stadium and sentiments can also be sent by e-mailing communitytexasrangers.com. ... Kenny Lofton got caught stealing in both the first and second innings of Sunday's 14-1 win over Houston. It marked the first time a Rangers player was caught stealing twice in one game since Tom Goodwin on Aug. 28, 1998.

HOUSTON: Former Astros outfielder Jimmy Wynn rejoined the club Sunday as a community outreach executive. Wynn, who had 291 home runs and 964 RBIs in his 15-year career, will serve as an ambassador for the Astros' youth baseball program and run youth coaching clinics among other duties. ``It's an opportunity to do a lot of things that I wanted to do,'' he said. ``Work with the kids and talk to them about education and staying away from drugs. It will also give me an opportunity to go to the clubhouse for the first time and say hello to some of the guys that I want to talk to. It's going to be a wonderful job.'' Owner Drayton McLane is excited about the team reuniting with Wynn, who spent 11 seasons in Houston. ``Jimmy helped build the foundation for the success of our franchise,'' McLane said. ``We look forward to his contributions as we continue to work to take the Houston Astros to new heights on and off the field.'' ... Before their husbands took the field Sunday, the Astros and Rangers wives competed in a charity softball game to benefit the Spina Bifida Association of America. The Astros' wives got 21 hits to win the spirited competition 12-7.

MINNESOTA: The Twins currently have a better record on the road (10-10) than at home (10-13). ... Minnesota came up short in its attempt to sweep the Brewers this weekend. The last time the Twins swept the Brewers in Milwaukee was September 1978. They swept the Brewers in Minnesota June 30-July 2 in 2006. ... Sunday's loss snapped a five-game winning streak against the Brewers dating back to last year. ... RF Michael Cuddyer's third-inning homer was only his second in 58 at_bats against Milwaukee. It measured 398 feet. ... Sunday was only the fifth loss in 20 games in which the Twins scored four or more runs. ... The four-run lead is the largest lead they have lost this season.

MILWAUKEE: The Brewers were 4-for-8 with runners in scoring position Sunday. Their previous five games, four of which were losses, they were 1-for-25, with the lone hit being a single by RHP Ben Sheets that did not score a run. ... The Brewers will start a west coast road trip Monday in Los Angeles with Jeff Suppan taking on Brett Tomko. Suppan is 3-4 with a 3.78 ERA against the Dodgers. ... Claudio Vargas was pulled in the bottom of the fourth inning for a pinch hitter. It was the third time this season he did not go at least five innings. ... Vargas has never lost at Miller Park. He came into the game 4-0 with a 1.41 ERA in Milwaukee. ... Geoff Jenkins' fifth-inning homer was the 200th of his career, all as a Brewer. He is fourth on the all-time Brewers home run list, one shy of Cecil Cooper for third place. ... The Brewers also erased a four-run deficit against the Chicago Cubs on April 23. They won that game 5-4 in 12 innings.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX:
3B Joe Crede left after three innings of Sunday's win with tightness in his back and received a cortisone shot. Crede has experienced back problems over his career but said that the most recent episode is the worst to date. ``It hasn't been to this extreme,'' he said. ``With the medication and the cortisone (shots), I think it will really calm down.'' Crede was 1-for-1 and is batting just .215. During the final three months of the White Sox's World Series winning season in 2005, he played with two herniated discs in his back. Manager Ozzie Guillen said he didn't know if Crede's back could force him to the DL. ``Joe's back is bothering him real bad,'' Guillen said. ``I had a feeling the last three days about his back because of the way he was walking, running, catching the ball, throwing and swinging.'' ... The bullpen struggled in the three-game series against the Cubs, giving up 13 runs over 5 2-3 innings. After Sunday's 10-6 win, Guillen let his relievers know how unhappy he is with their performances. ``The bullpen better look itself in the mirror and be careful,'' Guillen said. ``If they don't shake it up, I will shake it up. We've got guys down in the minor leagues that are throwing the ball well.'' ... A.J. Pierzynski's grand slam was the sixth of his career.

CHICAGO CUBS: Carlos Zambrano said he got a little too careful pitching to Jim Thome with two outs in the seventh inning and the walk helped set off the White Sox's seven-run rally. Thome had just come off the disabled list Sunday after a bout with a strained rib cage muscle. ``That was a mistake not to pitch to him you know, go right at him. I think that was the key of the game,'' Zambrano said. ... Cliff Floyd was ejected by home plate umpire Joe West after the pinch-hitter returned to the dugout following a ninth-inning strikeout. Floyd came back to the field to argue. It was the first ejection of a Cubs player or staff this season. ... Floyd has been bothered by a sore Achilles he aggravated on a wet field at Shea Stadium. ... Ryan Dempster was all ready to make the switch to the rotation, telling reporters he was excited about the change. But 30 minutes later after meeting with manager Lou Piniella, Dempster returned to his locker and said he was remaining in the bullpen. Piniella had promised some new alignments when the team opens a series in San Diego on Tuesday. ... Asked if he managed differently in cold weather, Piniella said, ``I don't know. (I'm) just an old grandpa.''

LOS ANGELES DODGERS: The Dodgers were outscored 19-4 by the Angels in their three-game interleague series. ``We started out this week great, and we ended up playing poorly and getting beat three games,'' manager Grady Little said. ``We feel like we can score runs and we've got the people to score runs. It just didn't happen for us this weekend. ... The Dodgers have lost five straight games at Angel Stadium and are 10-21 against the Angels in Anaheim. ... The Dodgers have lost 13 of their 18 interleague games since Little took over as manager last season, and 20 of their last 21 road games to AL teams. ... RHP Jason Schmidt, who hasn't pitched since April 14 because of inflammation in his pitching shoulder, threw about 60 pitches in the bullpen before the game. ``He keeps extending out his work load,'' Little said. ``He's throwing all his pitches.'' No timetable has been set for Schmidt's return. He's 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in three starts.

LOS ANGELES ANGELS: Manager Mike Scioscia will miss the Angels' games at Yankee Stadium next Saturday and Sunday to attend his son's graduation from Crespi High in Encino, Calif. ``It's never easy to miss a game,'' Scioscia said. ``Your son graduates from high school only one time.'' Matt Scioscia, who catches and plays first base, will attend Notre Dame on a baseball scholarship next fall. ... Scioscia said 2B Howie Kendrick, who hasn't played since April 17 because of a fractured middle finger on his left hand, should be ready to return sometime this week. Kendrick has been on a rehab assignment with Triple-A Salt Lake. ``His bat speed's there, his timing isn't quite yet,'' Scioscia said. ``We want to get him a few more at_bats. ... Angels INF-OF Chone Figgins, mired in an 0-for-22 slump, was given Sunday off. His batting average has dropped to .108. ... The Angels scored in the first inning in all three games against the Dodgers. They've outscored their opponents 48-15 in the first, and have a 19-3 record when scoring in the opening inning.

SAN FRANCISCO: Randy Winn extended his career-best hitting streak to 19 games with an infield single in the first and also homered. It is the longest streak by a Giant since Robby Thompson's 21-gamer in 1993. Winn insists he hasn't changed anything since he struggled early in the season, saying he is just getting some balls to fall that didn't in early April. ``There is absolutely no explanation for it,'' he said. ... RHP Russ Ortiz will be in the bullpen when he comes of the disabled list, perhaps as soon as Monday. He had an irritated nerve in the elbow of his throwing arm. He began the year as the team's fifth starter but has been replaced for now by hard-throwing rookie RHP Tim Lincecum, the club's top draft pick from 2006. ``It looks like he's ready to go,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He gives us some flexibility because he's been stretched out. It's going to be a bit of an adjustment for him.'' ... 1B Rich Aurilia returned to the Giants' lineup after not starting the previous four games because of a stiff neck - and was pain-free for the first time in several weeks. He hit his second homer of the year. ... C Bengie Molina had the day off. ... 2B Ray Durham, nursing a sore groin, likely will be back in the lineup Monday in the opener of a three-game home series against Houston. ... CF Dave Roberts did some running before the game and is continuing to work to gain strength and improve range of motion in his surgically repaired left elbow. He had a procedure May 11 to remove bone chips. Roberts hopes to begin doing baseball activities in about a week.

OAKLAND: Bobby Crosby had his nine-game hitting streak snapped. ... RHP Esteban Loaiza, on the 60-day DL recovering from a bulging disk in his neck and nursing an injured right knee, is scheduled to pitch Tuesday for Triple-A Sacramento and throw 40 pitches. After that, he could pitch again next Sunday for Class-A Stockton. ... LF Shannon Stewart had a day off. ... Injured CF Mark Kotsay is slated to play for Sacramento on Monday and he has a schedule for minor rehab assignments that likely will put him on pace to return to the A's around June 1. ... Oakland is leaning toward starting RHP Colby Lewis on Tuesday at Chicago.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

Notes from Sunday's games
May 20, 2007

NEW YORK YANKEES: Manager Joe Torre said he spoke to owner George Steinbrenner before Saturday's 10-7 loss to the Mets. ``It was all about support,'' Torre said Sunday. ... Torre on the upcoming home series vs. AL East-leading Boston: ``Until we can straighten ourselves out, we can't be concerned about catching someone else.'' ... DH Jason Giambi said he expects to play Monday night when the Red Sox visit Yankee Stadium. Slowed by an aching left foot, he has one hit in his last 26 at_bats. ... A light drizzle prevented the teams from taking batting practice on the field. The players hit in the indoor cages.

NEW YORK METS: 3B David Wright can sympathize with the spate of injuries that are hurting the Yankees. ``It's just so many different things out of their control. Like with these freak accidents that happened with their starting pitching, with their bullpen. They haven't been able to catch that break so far,'' he said. ``We've been there. Come playoff time last year when we lose Pedro, we lose El Duque, these freak things that happen. So you feel for them because you know they're such a good team and it's only a matter of time before they break out.'' ... RHP Orlando Hernandez, on the disabled list because of bursitis in his pitching shoulder, threw a simulated game at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Fla. He threw five innings and 78 pitches. ``He came through it nicely,'' manager Willie Randolph said. El Duque could be in the bullpen in the next few days and might start next weekend in Florida. ... Despite all the energy that the Subway Series generates, Randolph said he looks more toward the upcoming games against Atlanta. ``I really think they're more important,'' he said. ``They're in our division and we have to beat them. The Braves are really where we're going to earn our chops.''

SAN DIEGO: Rookie LHP Justin Hampson continues to make a solid impression on the Padres coaching staff. Hampson took over for struggling Greg Maddux Saturday and held the Mariners hitless for 2 1-3 innings. He is 1-1 with a 1.29 ERA in seven appearances. ``He has pitched extremely well,'' manager Bud Black said. ``He has shown that he can be a viable member of the pitching staff. His performance speaks for itself. He's a pitcher we can use at different times in a game.'' ... RF Brian Giles was given Sunday off. He has been bothered by a sore right knee. ... RHP Clay Hensley, on the DL with a right groin strain, made his first rehab start for Triple-A Portland Sunday, allowing six hits and two runs in six innings. When he returns, a decision will be needed to determine who stays in the rotation, Hensley or RHP Justin Germano, who is 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA in three starts. ``No use putting the cart before the horse,'' Black said. ``Just let the games play out.'' ... rookie third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, after a tough April (.113), has hit safely in seven of his past eight games. He's hitting .440 (11-of-25) in those games with five doubles and seven RBIs. ... Marcus Giles hit .462 (6-of-13) in the three-game series with Seattle.

SEATTLE: LF Raul Ibanez missed his second straight game with soreness in his lower back. ``It's significantly better than (Saturday),'' Ibanez said. ``It doesn't bother me on my swings. It's just running and standing around.'' Ibanez said the back flared up after flying home from Detroit at the end of the last road trip. ... 1B Richie Sexson also missed his second straight game Sunday. Manager Mike Hargrove is giving him a rest after struggling most of the first six weeks. He's hitting just .162. ``I'm working to get it right. Eventually, it'll turn,'' Sexson said. ``I'm trying to find a way to make things happen.'' ... RHP Jeff Weaver, who was placed on the DL May 11 with right shoulder tendinitis, has begun his throwing program. Weaver, who was 0-6 with a 14.32 ERA in six starts, likely will be on the DL well past May 26, when he's eligible to come off. ... The Mariners had a scheduled day off Monday but are flying to Cleveland for a makeup game. This is the first of three trips to Cleveland to make up four postponed games from an early April trip there. It also will be the seventh of 23 straight days without an off day. ``That's 23 straight. That's what we're thinking about,'' Hargrove said. ``Our bullpen is really thin right now. That's a lot of baseball to play.'' The Mariners also fly to Cleveland on June 11 and Aug. 30 for makeup games.

KANSAS CITY: RHP Joel Peralta, who began his career in the Dominican Republic as a shortstop, said he never developed a home run trot. ``I just hit the ball and ran,'' Peralta said after his 12th inning two-run double. ... The win secured a 6-4 road trip. ``We lost the game the first Saturday on this trip in Chicago with two outs in the ninth,'' manager Buddy Bell said. ``Since then, we are 6-2. That's pretty good.'' ... The Royals have been hit 32 times to lead the majors. ... 3B Alex Gordon, who was 2-for-5 on Sunday, had his second career multi-hit game. ... 1B Ryan Shealy has consecutive three-hit games.

COLORADO: RHP Rodrigo Lopez (strained right elbow) will throw Thursday for Triple-A Colorado Springs. ``We will evaluate him and go from there,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ... RHP LaTroy Hawkins experienced soreness in his right elbow Sunday after working back-to-back days with Colorado Springs. ... OF Jeff Baker will see more of his playing time at third base after the recall of OF Ryan Spilborghs. ... Colorado stranded nine baserunners from the eighth inning on. 3B Garrett Atkins left eight runners alone. ... 1B Todd Helton had his 20th multi-hit game of the year Sunday, finishing 2-for-4.

ARIZONA: Arizona is 7-2 against Pittsburgh the last two seasons. ... C Chris Snyder thinks there was a carryover from the Diamondbacks' 9-8 comeback victory against the Pirates on Saturday night to Sunday, when they led by four runs in the fourth before winning 5-2. The Diamondbacks trailed 7-1 Saturday before scoring seven runs in the final three innings. Snyder said, ``I think we picked it up yesterday (Saturday), and we fed off the momentum we built last night and took it into today.'' Snyder's three-run double in the fourth keyed Sunday's victory. ... Arizona totaled 19 runs in the three-game Pirates series, scoring at least five runs in every game. The Diamondbacks didn't score more than four runs in any of their first 15 games in May.

PITTSBURGH: SS Jack Wilson (shoulder) didn't start any of the three games of the Arizona series, but should be ready to play Tuesday at St. Louis. ... The Pirates are 10-10 on the road this season after going 24-57 last season, when they didn't get their 11th road victory until July 20. ... CF Chris Duffy, his average down to .220, didn't start the final two games of the Arizona series after starting all but five of the first 41 games. Sitting Duffy allows manager Jim Tracy to move Xavier Nady to center and start Ryan Doumit in RF. ... The Pirates infield nearly turned an exceptional defensive play during the 5-2 loss Sunday to Arizona. With Conor Jackson on first, 2B Freddy Sanchez made a backhanded stop of Orlando Hudson's grounder up the middle and made a backhand flip to SS Jose Castillo to start an apparent double play. But Castillo was ruled to be off the bag, and Jackson was ruled safe.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

Dempster goes from closer to starter back to pen
May 20, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -Ryan Dempster was all set to go from closer to starter. The switch was a short one.
   
After telling reporters Sunday how excited he was to join the Cubs' rotation, he was called in for a meeting with manager Lou Piniella. About 30 minutes later, Dempster returned to his locker with fresher news - now he was staying in the bullpen.

``It's not like I went and started. Obviously, it seems weird,'' Dempster said.

Piniella had approached Dempster last week after the reliever gave up five runs in the ninth inning in a 6-5 loss to the Mets and asked him if he'd like to be a starter again.

With Florida and Cincinnati from 1998-2003, Dempster was primarily a starter and was in the Cubs rotation for six games in 2005 before making the switch to the bullpen and becoming the closer.

He saved 33 games that season in 35 chances and was 24-of-33 a year ago. He is 9-for-10 this season.

His initial conversation with Piniella went like this:

``He said, `You want to start?' I said, `Yeah.' So he said, `I'll put you in the rotation,''' Dempster said before he was called into Piniella's office after Sunday's loss to the White Sox.

Dempster figured he'd throw a simulated game and then gradually build up his arm strength up so he could deliver more pitches and work more innings. And he was going to stay in the rotation.

``Everybody's angle is that if we're doing this, it's going to be a permanent thing. I'm not going to go start three or four games then go back and start closing again,'' he said.

He never got the chance.

The Cubs apparently want Dempster's experience as a reliever since they have young pitchers like Angel Guzman in the bullpen.

``The nice part is Lou told me you will start again, so I have that,'' Dempster said. ``That's fine with me, as long as I know that. If it's sometime this season, if it's next year, if it's the year after that, I don't know,'' he said.

``I'm just going to go out there and do what they ask me to do.''

Piniella wasn't available after Dempster's plans were changed again. But he said earlier making Dempster a starter had been discussed and so had all the ramifications that went with it.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

Pirates send down Eldred, McLeary, bring back Cota
May 20, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -The Pirates optioned right-handed reliever Marty McLeary to Triple-A Indianapolis on Sunday, a day after helping squander a six-run lead against Arizona by allowing Tony Clark's pinch-hit grand slam.

The Pirates also optioned first baseman-outfielder Brad Eldred to Indianapolis and activated catcher Humberto Cota from the disabled list.

McLeary, used mostly as a mop-up reliever before being asked to protect a lead during Arizona's 9-8 comeback victory Saturday, gave up four homers in 7 2-3 innings and had an 8.22 ERA.

The Pirates, who have Monday off, didn't immediately announce who would take McLeary's roster spot.

Eldred was hitting .119 in limited playing time. One of the Pirates' few power-hitting prospects, Eldred unexpectedly made the opening day roster after having six home runs and 12 RBIs during spring training. Unable to get regular at_bats once the season started, he was 5-for-42 with two homers and three RBIs.

``We need him to go down there and re-groove his swing,'' manager Jim Tracy said.

Cota, who becomes the third catcher on the Pirates' roster, went on the disabled list April 23 because of a sprained left shoulder. He was 10-for-33 (.303) with three doubles and five RBIs in an 11-game rehabilitation assignment with Indianapolis.

Tracy wanted another catcher on the roster because Ryan Doumit, who began the season as Ronny Paulino's backup, is making occasional starts in right field and at first base.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

Braves call up Prado, put Lerew on DL
May 20, 2007

BOSTON (AP) -The Atlanta Braves recalled infielder Martin Prado from Triple-A Richmond on Sunday and put right-hander Anthony Lerew on the 15-day disabled list because of inflamed nerves in his right forearm.

Prado batted leadoff in Sunday's game against the Red Sox. He batted .301 in 27 games at Richmond this season and .264 in 24 games with Atlanta last year.

Lerew started the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, lasting just two innings. He was 0-2 with a 7.71 ERA in three starts for the Braves this season.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

Reds send Hamilton back to Cincinnati
May 20, 2007

CLEVELAND (AP) -Rookie outfielder Josh Hamilton was sent back to Cincinnati by the Reds on Sunday to be checked out by team doctors a day after he had been diagnosed with gastroenteritis.

The 25-year-old outfielder had been taken to the hospital by ambulance early Saturday. A Reds spokesman said he was diagnosed with an inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract. Hamilton was released from the hospital, but remained in his hotel room when the Reds beat the Cleveland Indians 10-5 Saturday night.

It is not known whether Hamilton will be available Monday when the Reds open a four-game series at home against the Washington Nationals.

Hamilton struck out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning of the Reds' 9-4 loss Friday night, remained in the game in center field, and grounded out to end the game.

His comeback from alcohol and drug addiction has been one of baseball's most inspiring stories this season. He was named the NL's top rookie in April after hitting six homers and driving in 13 runs.

He had slumped of late, hitting only .167 with one RBI in his last 11 games. Overall, he's batting .261 with eight homers and 18 RBIs in 37 games.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft by Tampa Bay, Hamilton's addiction to crack cocaine kept him out of baseball for more than three years. The Reds acquired him through a Rule 5 draft trade in December.

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Re: MLB News and Notes May - 21

White Sox activate Thome
May 20, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -The Chicago White Sox activated Jim Thome from the 15-day disabled list Sunday and optioned outfielder Ryan Sweeney to Triple-A Charlotte.

Thome, on the DL since April 29 with a strained muscle in his rib cage, was called back from a rehab assignment with Charlotte.

Thome is batting .340 with five homers and 10 RBIs in 19 games for the White Sox. Sweeney batted .200 in 15 games with a homer and five RBIs since he was recalled from Charlotte.

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