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MLB News and Notes June - 1

MLB News and Notes June - 1

Giants trade Benitez to Marlins for Messenger
May 31, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -The San Francisco Giants traded struggling closer Armando Benitez to the Florida Marlins for reliever Randy Messenger on Thursday night.

Benitez was not in the clubhouse after the Giants' 4-2 loss and his locker was completely cleaned out.

``Maybe Elvis has left the building,'' Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

Benitez was 0-3 with nine saves in 11 chances and a 4.67 ERA. His final game for the Giants was Tuesday night, when he balked twice in the 12th inning of a 5-4 loss to the New York Mets.

On his last pitch for San Francisco, he gave up a game-ending home run to Carlos Delgado.

Benitez is owed $5,066,666 from the remainder of his $7.6 million salary this year, of which Florida will pay $333,333 and San Francisco will pay $4,733,333.

The 34-year-old Benitez returns to Florida, where he set a team record with a career-high 47 saves in 2004. That was his only season with the Marlins, and he signed with the Giants as a free agent after that season.

A hard thrower, Benitez is prone to getting excitable on the mound. He has 289 saves in a major league career that began in 1994, but has had particular trouble in the postseason.

Last week, he caused himself trouble by blaming San Francisco hitters for not scoring enough runs.

Earlier Thursday, on his weekly KNBR radio program, Giants general manager Brian Sabean said the team needed to fix the bullpen.

``We've got to the point where we are going to have to do something, and hopefully within the next 24 or 48 hours we'll resolve it internally or externally,'' he said. ``Right now we are exploring options.''

Messenger was 1-1 with a 2.66 ERA going into the Marlins' game at Milwaukee. He is making the major league minimum of $380,000 this season.

In three seasons, the 25-year-old righty is 3-8 with a 4.98 ERA in 111 relief appearances.

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Brewers place Weeks on DL
May 31st, 2007

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - The Milwaukee Brewers placed second baseman Rickie Weeks on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right wrist. The move is retroactive to May 30.

Weeks is hitting .243 on the season with five home runs and 16 RBI in 44 games.

To take his place on the roster, the club recalled infielder Jose Capellan from Triple-A Nashville.

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Baseball Today - June 1
Fri, Jun 1, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Friday, June 1

Detroit at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EDT). The Tigers and the AL Central-leading Indians renew their rivalry.

STARS

Thursday

- Mike Cameron, Padres, hit a go-ahead homer in the 11th inning after tying it with a run-scoring double in the ninth, and San Diego beat Pittsburgh 4-2.

- Roy Halladay, Blue Jays, picked up his 100th career victory with seven shutout innings, leading Toronto to a 2-0 win over Chicago

- Ryan Zimmerman, Nationals, drove in four runs during an 11-4 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

- Travis Hafner, Indians, homered and drove in four runs, powering Cleveland to an 11-5 victory at home against Detroit.

ON THE HOP

Roy Halladay picked up his 100th career victory in his return from the disabled list, and Frank Thomas hit a homer to help the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox 2-0 Thursday night. The game lasted just 1 hour, 50 minutes, and was the second quickest in the majors this season, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Seattle beat the Athletics 2-0 on April 25 in Oakland in 1 hour, 47 minutes.

FOR THE RECORD

Prince Fielder set a franchise record with his 13th homer this month in a 4-3 win over Florida on Thursday. Fielder is tied for the major league lead with 19.

STREAKS

Ichiro Suzuki extended his hitting streak to a career-high 24 games and the Seattle Mariners held on to beat the Texas Rangers 9-5 on Thursday night. ... The Baltimore Orioles beat the AL West-leading Los Angeles Angels 6-2 for their sixth win in a row.

SNAPPED

Houston stopped a 10-game losing streak with a 10-2 win over Cincinnati on Thursday.

TRADE

The San Francisco Giants agreed to trade struggling closer Armando Benitez to the Florida Marlins for reliever Randy Messenger on Thursday night. Benitez was 0-3 with nine saves in 11 chances and a 4.67 ERA. His final game for the Giants was Tuesday night, when he balked twice in the 12th inning of a 5-4 loss to the New York Mets.

STRUGGLING

Detroit lost for the sixth time in seven games, 11-5 at Cleveland on Thursday. ... The White Sox dropped their fifth straight with a 2-0 loss at Toronto.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Chicago's Mark Buehrle gave up just two hits- both homers - in a 2-0 loss to Toronto on Thursday. ... Shawn Chacon struck out 10 over seven shutout innings, but Pittsburgh blew a two-run, ninth inning lead in a 4-2, 11-inning loss to San Diego.

SPEAKING

''You don't want to be left out of the 10-run party.'' - Houston slugger Lance Berkman after hitting a three-run homer in a 10-2 win over Cincinnati on Thursday.

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Cardinals' Duncan headed to hospital
June 1, 2007

DENVER (TICKER) -- St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Chris Duncan was sent back to St. Louis and admitted to the hospital with an apparent illness.

While his teammates played in Colorado on Thursday, Duncan was on his way back home to get IV antibiotics.

Duncan, who is hitting .277 with nine homers and 20 RBI, will be re-evaluated in the morning.

He will not join the team when it travels to Houston for a three-game series over the weekend.

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Marlins: Owens activated from DL

Henry Owens was activated from the 15-day DL on Thursday, according to the AP. He was the Marlins' closer until tendinitis in his right shoulder placed him on the DL May 9.

Angels: Figgins back in the lineup

Chone Figgins returned to the starting lineup Thursday after two days off. He came into the game hitting .133 and had made five errors in 25 games. "We haven't given up on Figgy as our long-term third baseman," manager Mike Scioscia told the the AP. "Right now, he just isn't into his game. We'll see if he can relax and play baseball the way he can."

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White Sox: Erstad to be put on DL

Darin Erstad had to leave Thursday's game with an ankle injury and is likely to be placed on the disabled list on Friday. According to the team's official website, preliminary X-rays were negative, but Erstad will be re-evaluated on Friday to assess how much damage might have been done to ligaments in the ankle. "We'll miss [Erstad] for a couple of weeks and hopefully not anymore than that," manager Ozzie Guillen said.

White Sox: Owens could get the call

A day after losing Darin Erstad to an ankle injury, the White Sox are expected to call up minor league outfielder Jerry Owens. Manager Ozzie Guillen told the Chicago Sun-Times the team is leaning towards Owens over Ryan Sweeney because Owens can bat leadoff.

Tigers: Guillen targets Saturday

Carlos Guillen reported improvement in his strained groin and aims to get back in the lineup by Saturday at the latest. "It's not bad," Guillen told the Tigers official website on Thursday. "I was scared [Wednesday] night because there was a lot of pain. Today it's better, really."

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Notes from Thursday's  AL games
May 31, 2007

DETROIT: Injuries forced manager Jim Leyland to alter his lineup Thursday for the start of a four-game series in Cleveland. Omar Infante started at 3B and Neifi Perez played 2B. 3B Brandon Inge (chip fracture of left big toe) and SS Carlos Guillen (left groin strain) were out. Inge was hit on the foot by a pitch Tuesday and could miss the next few games. Guillen left Wednesday's game, but ran in the outfield Thursday and hopes to play Friday or Saturday. The Tigers don't think either will have to go on the DL. The injuries left 1B Sean Casey and C Mike Rabelo as the only healthy players on the bench. ... RHP Fernando Rodney (right bicep tendinitis) has been throwing in the bullpen and is expected to come off the DL on Tuesday.

CLEVELAND: OF Franklin Gutierrez, recalled from Triple-A Buffalo on Thursday, could be in the starting lineup this weekend. ``We'll look at the matchups and get him in there because this is a tough stretch of games,'' manager Eric Wedge said. Cleveland is in the midst of 29 games in 30 days. Gutierrez hit .341 (44-for-129) with four homers, 16 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 30 games at Buffalo. ... RHP Mike Koplove was optioned to Buffalo. He allowed two earned runs in four innings for a 4.50 ERA and had no record in three games for Cleveland after being called up May 23. ... RHP Jake Westbrook, sidelined since May 7 by an abdominal strain, is scheduled to make his first rehab start Friday night for Triple-A Buffalo. ``They have me on a 50-pitch count, then we'll see how it goes from there,'' Westbrook said. ... RHP Adam Miller, the Indians' top pitching prospect, will miss three to four weeks with a strained tendon in his right middle finger. He is 4-1 at Buffalo.

CHICAGO: Manager Ozzie Guillen said he'll continue to use RHP Mike MacDougal as his setup man, even though MacDougal has allowed 13 runs in his past 5 2-3 innings. ``I don't want to take confidence out of him,'' Guillen said. ... With his team stuck in a four-game losing streak, Guillen called on his players to show more aggression. ``They're playing hard but I don't think they're playing hard enough to win,'' he said. ``I don't see the hunger, I don't see the killer instinct.'' ... Starting Thursday, the White Sox do not face an AL Central opponent again until June 29, when they visit Kansas City, a span of 27 games.

TORONTO: With an off day scheduled for Monday, Toronto will use a four-man rotation until June 9 when RHP Tomo Ohka will start against the Los Angeles Dodgers. ... 3B Troy Glaus (left hamstring) returned to the lineup Thursday against the White Sox. ... Manager John Gibbons said SS Royce Clayton (sore toe) and C Jason Phillips (neck) were both available for Thursday's game. ... RHP John Thomson (sore shoulder) earned the win for Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday. Thomson is 2-1 with a 1.59 ERA in four starts with the Chiefs.

BALTIMORE: Ten of the Orioles' last 16 games going into Thursday were decided by two runs or less, including all of their previous eight losses. ... The Orioles went 4-6 against the Angels last season, the fourth time in five years they've dropped the season series.

LOS ANGELES: Struggling 3B Chone Figgins returned to the starting lineup Thursday after two days off. He came into the game hitting .133 and had made five errors in 25 games. ``We haven't given up on Figgy as our long-term third baseman,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``Right now, he just isn't into his game. We'll see if he can relax and play baseball the way he can.'' ... LHP Joe Saunders will start Saturday against Baltimore after being recalled from Triple-A Salt Lake, where he was scheduled to pitch Friday. He got pushed back a day so he could be aligned with RHP Bartolo Colon, who has been diagnosed with triceps tendinitis and won't start again until June 8 at St. Louis. RHP Dustin Moseley was a candidate for a spot start, but Scioscia said he didn't want to disrupt Moseley's momentum as a late-inning reliever in place of RHP Justin Speier, who is on the DL.

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Notes from Thursday's  NL games
May 31, 2007

SAN DIEGO: OF Hiram Bocachica was claimed on waivers from the Oakland Athletics and will be activated before Friday night's game in Washington. He has a .212 career average in 472 at_bats with the Dodgers, Tigers, Mariners and Athletics. Manager Bud Black likes that Bocachica provides him an extra right-handed bat off the bench. ... The Padres' eight shutouts in their first 52 games were the most in the majors. ... Jake Peavy, who starts Friday night in Washington, has a 0.33 ERA in road games - one earned run allowed in 27 innings. Peavy is 2-4 with a 4.22 ERA in eight career games against the Nationals.

PITTSBURGH: RHP Masumi Kuwata, the longtime Japanese pitching star attempting to break into the majors at age 39, will be activated Friday by Triple-A Indianapolis. He hasn't pitched since badly spraining his right ankle during a March 26 spring training collision with umpire Wally Bell. A starter throughout his Japanese career, the right-hander will be a reliever in Triple-A after getting back into shape at the Pirates' extended spring camp in Bradenton, Fla. ... LHP Zach Duke, the loser of five of his last six decisions, starts Friday night against the Dodgers. Last season, he was 0-2 with a 10.45 ERA in two starts against Los Angeles.

LOS ANGELES: RHP Jason Schmidt will join the team in Pittsburgh this weekend after pitching six shutout innings with seven strikeouts in a rehabilitation start Wednesday night for Class-A Inland Empire. Manager Grady Little would not say when he expects Schmidt (right shoulder inflammation) to come off the 15-day DL. ... Little declined to name a starter for Saturday's game against Pittsburgh, and he left open the possibility that someone could be called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. ... More than 20 players and team officials, including 1B Nomar Garciaparra and LF Luis Gonzalez toured the Pentagon Wednesday.

WASHINGTON: RHP Shawn Hill learned that his pitching elbow is not seriously injured and that his recovery from a strained left shoulder can proceed as planned. Hill (3-3, 2.70 ERA), who is on the 15-day disabled list, felt discomfort in his pitching elbow after changing his mechanics to compensate for a left shoulder strain that he suffered on April 20 while running the bases. He had his elbow examined yesterday by an orthopedist in Cleveland and won't throw again until his left shoulder is pain-free. ... RHP Levale Speigner will start Saturday against San Diego despite having surrendered 17 earned runs in 10 1-3 innings over his last three starts.

SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Bonds put on another impressive show in batting practice. He homered on five straight swings, hitting four shots far up the scoreboard in right-center field. Booed when he stepped in for BP, he drew a few cheers for the power display. ... OF Dave Roberts celebrated his 35th birthday. ... The Giants had a chance to even the all-time series at Shea Stadium. They went into the game with a 124-125 mark at the ballpark.

NEW YORK: LF Ben Johnson got his first start for the Mets. Acquired in a trade with San Diego last November and promoted from Triple-A New Orleans this week, Johnson went 0-for-2 in the Mets' 12-inning win Tuesday night. ``I like his energy,'' manager Willie Randolph said. ``I don't like my guys to sit too long.'' ... 2B Jose Valentin (torn knee ligament) played five innings in the field at Mets' extended spring training. He went 0-for-4 with a walk.

FLORIDA: RHP Josh Johnson will make his first rehab start Sunday for Single-A Jupiter. Johnson has been sidelined since January with a right elbow injury, but hopes to make three rehab starts before rejoining the Marlins. ... RHP Henry Owens was activated from the 15-day DL Thursday, and RHP Lee Gardner was optioned to Triple-A Albuquerque. Owens was the team's closer until tendinitis in his right shoulder placed him on the DL May 9. RHP Kevin Gregg converted all six of his save chances while Owens was on the DL and will remain the team's closer.

MILWAUKEE: 2B Rickie Weeks is day-to-day with an injury to his right wrist. Craig Counsell started at second for the second straight day and RF Corey Hart took Weeks' leadoff spot in the order. Hart has started four consecutive games and has at least one hit in each contest. ... The Brewers started the season 25-11 but won only four of their next 17. Over that stretch, the team scored three runs or fewer 12 times. ... The team used its eighth consecutive different starting lineup when it began its four-game series with the Marlins.

CINCINNATI: LF Adam Dunn was steamed when he realized that an error by Astros 2B Craig Biggio on Wednesday resulted in a ``caught stealing'' in his stats. Dunn singled in the first inning and was caught between the bases when pitcher Wandy Rodriguez threw to 1B Lance Berkman for a pick-off attempt. Biggio bobbled Berkman's throw and Dunn reached second standing up. ``I'm a very smart base runner,'' said Dunn, who had been 7-for-7 in steal attempts. ``I was safe. I was standing there, brushing off. That's bull, dude.'' Teammates, holding back laughter, called up the replay on a computer in the clubhouse before the game. ``I don't care what you say,'' Dunn said. ``Safe, dude.'' ... Manager Jerry Narron said OF Josh Hamilton will likely rejoin the team in St. Louis on Tuesday after recovering from a bout with gastroenteritis. Hamilton was placed on the 15-day disabled list on May 22. ... OF Ryan Freel met with a head and neck specialist on Thursday and will see the doctor again next Tuesday, Narron said. Freel suffered contusions to his head and neck after colliding with right fielder Norris Hopper in the third inning of Monday's 4-0 win over Pittsburgh in Cincinnati. Freel was placed on the 15-day disabled list and Narron doctors haven't told him when he can expect to get Freel back.

HOUSTON: Manager Phil Garner is running out of possible tweaks he can make to the lineup to shake the Astros out of their hitting slump. 2B Craig Biggio was back in the leadoff spot Thursday, despite a .212 average in May. Garner said he's considered moving 1B Lance Berkman around in the order. Berkman remained in his regular No. 3 spot on Thursday, despite hitting .237 this month. ``You've got to have somebody sitting in the middle (of the lineup) that's going to drive in a run,'' Garner said. ... Brad Ausmus was the Astros' catcher for the second time in Woody Williams' 12 starts. Williams has mostly used backup catcher Humberto Quintero.

ST. LOUIS: OF Chris Duncan returned to St. Louis to have more tests on his left knee. ``Duncan is feeling better, but he still has the infection,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``He's better off being at home and letting the antibiotics take effect.'' ... 1B Albert Pujols was out of the starting lineup. ``He needed a day off,'' La Russa said. ``He's been wearing down.'' ... By winning his first career start, RHP Todd Wellemeyer earned a second start Tuesday when the Cardinals play Cincinnati. ... La Russa senses a change in the way the baseball is flying because of the humidor at Coors Field. ``I think the people have reached a happy medium with the humidor,'' he said. ``I noticed a year ago when we hit balls hard they barely made the warning track.''

COLORADO: OF Willy Taveras was held out of the starting lineup for the third straight game. Taveras had a ball smash off his right index finger on a bunt attempt. ... RHP Josh Fogg will be sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs for a rehab assignment on Saturday. Fogg is on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin. ``He said he's feeling pretty good,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ... OF Brad Hawpe has seven homers since May 16, the most in the majors in that span. ``It's a welcomed sight and a big part of our offense,'' Hurdle said. ... OF Matt Holliday leads the majors with 10 three-hit games

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Giants 2B Ray Durham (abdominal) and 1B Ryan Klesko (back) are doubtful.

Cubs C Michael Barrett (rest) is doubtful.

Braves 3B Chipper Jones (thumb) is doubtful.

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Cubs place Blanco on DL
June 1st, 2007

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - The Chicago Cubs placed catcher Henry Blanco on the 15-day disabled list on Friday.

Blanco is suffering from a cervical herniated disc. He last played on Wednesday against Florida and went 0-for-3. In 14 games this season, Blanco is hitting just .194 with three RBI.

In a corresponding roster move, Chicago has recalled catcher Koyie Hill from Triple-A Iowa. Hill, 28, has batted .304 (38-for-125) with two home runs and 21 RBI in 39 games for Iowa this season.

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Braves' Gonzalez has successful surgery; Cormier retires
June 1st, 2007

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez had successful "Tommy John" surgery Thursday.

Gonzalez had the surgery to repair a slight ligament tear in the lower part of his left elbow. It was performed by noted sports surgeon Dr. James Andrews in Birmingham, Alabama. No timetable was set for the left-hander's return.

Gonzalez, acquired in an offseason trade from Pittsburgh for first baseman Adam LaRoche, had a 2-0 record with two saves and a 1.59 earned run average in 18 appearances.

In addition, the Braves announced that relief pitcher Rheal Cormier informed the club that he has retired. Cormier signed with the Braves on May 13 after being released by the Reds following a sub-par start to the season. In six games he had a 9.00 ERA, allowing three runs on four hits in three innings with Cincinnati. He did not appear in a game for the Braves.

Over his career, which started in 1991, the left-hander was 71-64 with a 4.03 ERA in 683 games (108 starts). He played for St. Louis, Boston, Montreal, Philadelphia and Cincinnati.

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C. Jones headed to 15-day DL with bruised right hand
June 1, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is going on the 15-day disabled list with a bruised right hand.

Manager Bobby Cox said the team will place Jones on the disabled list on Saturday. He has been experiencing pain in both hands since a baserunning collision on May 11 and had missed seven straight games before the Braves opened a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs on Friday. Jones received a cortisone shot following the game on May 23 but noticed no improvement.

``I don't think it's gotten any better at all,'' he said. ``It was getting worse when I was playing. It hasn't gotten much better since.''

Jones, who is batting .300 with 12 homers and 27 RBIs, said the pain has spread from the base of his thumbs into both palms and wrists.

``The central part of the pain is in the base of the thumb,'' he said. ``When I swing, my wrists hurt, my thumbs hurt. It's just impossible to use my hands at all.''

With the pain spreading, Jones thinks the injury might be more severe than he first thought.

``I think there's something else. I don't know what,'' he said. ``I've got pain in both hamate bones in the outside of the palms. I've got pain radiating into my wrists.''

Jones believes he might have damaged a ligament in his wrist, making it ``very uncomfortable to swing the bat,'' he said.

Jones will be inactive for the next week and refused to give a timetable for his return.

``I'm not going to make any predictions,'' he said. ``I would have certainly thought that I'd be past this and pain free.''

The Braves will purchase the contract of infielder Yunel Escobar from Triple-A Richmond on Saturday.

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