MLB News and Notes June - 4

MLB News and Notes June - 4

Tigers release Mesa
June 3rd, 2007

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - The Detroit Tigers released relief pitcher Jose Mesa following Sunday's victory over the Cleveland Indians.

After signing with the Tigers as a free agent in the offseason, Mesa struggled with Detroit, going 1-1 with a 12.34 earned run average in 16 games.

In 982 career games, the well-traveled Mesa is 79-107 with a 4.33 ERA and 320 saves with Baltimore, Cleveland, San Francisco, Seattle, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Colorado.

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Astros option Lane; recall Burke
June 3rd, 2007

Houston, TX (Sports Network) - The Houston Astros optioned outfielder Jason Lane to Triple-A Round Rock and recalled infielder/outfielder Chris Burke from Round Rock following Sunday's 8-6 loss to St. Louis.

Lane was hitting just .165 with four homers and 10 RBI this season.

Burke, who was with the Astros earlier this year before being optioned down, had 12 hits in his last 39 at-bat for the Express. With Houston, he was hitting .238 with one homer and six RBI in 28 games.

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Overbay out 4-to-6 weeks with broken hand
June 3rd, 2007

Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Lyle Overbay is expected to miss the next four-to-six weeks with a broken right hand.

Overbay suffered the injury after being hit by a John Danks pitch in the third inning of the Blue Jays' 4-3 win over the White Sox.

Overbay, who is expected to placed on the 15-day disabled list before the Blue Jays play again on Tuesday, is hitting .256 with eight homers and 27 RBI this season.

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Cardinals acquire Stinnett from Dodgers
June 3, 2007

HOUSTON (AP) -The St. Louis Cardinals acquired catcher Kelly Stinnett from the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash on Sunday.

The 37-year-old Stinnett is scheduled to join the Cardinals before Tuesday's game against Cincinnati. Stinnett was playing for Triple-A Las Vegas, where he appeared in 31 games.

The Cardinals, who were playing the Houston Astros on Sunday, will make a corresponding roster move before Tuesday's game.

Stinnett has played for seven teams in 11 major league seasons. He hit a career-high 14 homers with Arizona in 1999.

Stinnett was hitting .196 with Las Vegas. He has a .237 lifetime average in the majors.

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A's designate Witasick for assignment, call up Casilla
June 3, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Oakland Athletics designated veteran right-hander Jay Witasick for assignment Sunday, giving a chance to Santiago Casilla by calling up the righty from Triple-A Sacramento.

Witasick, limited to 20 games and 22 2-3 innings in 2006 because of an ankle injury, went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in just 16 games and 15 innings for the A's this season. He hasn't pitched since May 29, and had surrendered two runs in his previous five outings - allowing all three of his inherited runners to score.

``It was a situation obviously of where the A's are and where I'm at,'' Witasick said in between handshakes and goodbyes in the clubhouse. ``I enjoyed my time here and my teammates. That's the hardest part, leaving the guys in this room. I wasn't getting a lot of innings. It's not about anything but playing. I want to go somewhere where I can contribute.''

Healthy and eager to be pitching more regularly, the 34-year-old Witasick hopes to land on a team that can use him. If nothing works out, Witasick said he would consider calling it a career. He broke into the bigs with the A's in 1996.

``I feel good health-wise and arm-wise,'' Witasick said. ``Everything feels great. I enjoy pitching. I'm sure I'll be entertaining some potential offers.''

A's manager Bob Geren managed Casilla in winter ball in the Dominican Republic after the 2005 season. Casilla went 2-1 with three saves and a 4.13 ERA in a team-high 22 relief appearances for Sacramento this season.

``I've been working hard to get an opportunity,'' the pitcher said in Spanish. ``I'm thankful for this chance.''

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Braves activate Cormier
June 3, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -The Atlanta Braves activated pitcher Lance Cormier from the 15-day disabled list before Sunday's start against the Chicago Cubs and optioned infielder Marin Prado to Triple-A Richmond.

John Smoltz had his scheduled start pushed to Tuesday because of discomfort in his right shoulder and an injured right pinkie finger. So Cormier, who was 2-1 with a 2.70 ERA in four minor league rehab starts, made his regular-season debut.

Prado batted .179 in eight games with the Braves.

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Cubs call up Pie, place Ward on DL
June 3, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -The Chicago Cubs recalled top prospect Felix Pie from Triple-A Iowa and placed infielder Daryle Ward on the 15-day disabled list with a strain in his left hip on Sunday.

It's the second stint this season with the Cubs for Pie, who started in center field and batted second against the Atlanta Braves. He batted .224 in 18 games for Chicago from April 17 to May 9 before being sent back to Iowa, where he began the season.

Ward, used mainly as a pinch hitter, is batting .270. The hip started bothering him a few weeks ago.

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Iwamura expected to miss 4-5 games with eye injury
June 3, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -Tampa Bay Devil Rays third baseman Akinori Iwamura is expected to miss four to five games with a left eye injury.

Iwamura chased after a ball Saturday night in the bullpen down the third-base line in the eighth inning that bounced and hit him in the eye. He was checked by a team trainer and stayed in the game for the rest of the inning, but then left the game after the inning.

Iwamura, through an interpreter, said it feels like he ``got punched by a heavyweight.''

``It's better than when it happened,'' Iwamura said before Sunday's game against Kansas City.

Iwamura has a small cut above the eye, but no fractures. He was examined by an eye doctor late Saturday, who recommended Iwamura sit out for a few days.

``It's kind of a bruise on his eye,'' Tampa Bay manager Joe Maddon said. ``I don't think it's going to exceed five days. I don't know if it could be less, but it shouldn't be much more than that. He got hit in a bad spot.''

Iwamura is hitting .370 with one homer and six RBIs. The former Japanese Central League star was 8-for-17 in five games since returning from a right oblique strain that sidelined him for a month.

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Baseball Today - June 4
Mon, Jun 4, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD Monday, June 4

Minnesota at L.A. Angels (10:05 p.m. EDT). Boof Bonser and Jered Weaver square off.

STARS Sunday

-Vladimir Guerrero, Angels, hit a game-winning, two-run homer in the ninth inning to lift the Los Angeles Angels over Baltimore 4-3.

-Shane Victorino and Ryan Howard, Phillies. Victorino hit a game-ending homer in the ninth inning and Ryan Howard's three-run shot helped Philadelphia beat San Francisco 9-8.

-Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, hit a tiebreaking homer in the ninth inning to lead New York past Boston 6-5.

-Garrett Atkins, Rockies, homered and singled in the winning run in the 10th inning to help Colorado rally past the Cincinnati Reds 10-9.

-Albert Pujols, Cardinals, homered twice, including a two-run shot in the 10th inning of St. Louis' 8-6 victory over Houston.

-Josh Bard, Padres, homered and drove in a career-high four runs in a 7-3 win over Washington.

LATE GAME HEROICS

Shane Victorino hit a game-ending homer in the ninth inning in the Philadelphia Phillies' 9-8 victory over the San Francisco Giants on Sunday. ... Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth off Chris Ray, and the Los Angeles Angels pulled out a 4-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. ... Garrett Atkins homered and singled in the winning run in the 10th inning to help the Colorado Rockies rally past the Cincinnati Reds 10-9. ... Alex Rodriguez's solo home run off star closer Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth inning gave New York a come-from-behind 6-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox.

WINDY CITY BLOWHARDS

Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella was suspended indefinitely and fined an undisclosed amount by Major League Baseball on Sunday for his dirt-kicking, hat-tossing tirade against an umpire that got him tossed in the eighth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to Atlanta. MLB said Piniella made contact with umpire Mark Wegner during the outburst - which Piniella denied - over Chicago's Angel Pagan being called out trying to steal third base. The Cubs defeated the Braves 10-1 Sunday in Piniella's absence. ... White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected in the third inning of his team's 4-3 loss to Toronto. Guillen was ejected as he continued yelling on his way back to the dugout after arguing that the Blue Jays' Lyle Overbay was swinging at a pitch that hit him and should not have been awarded first base.

SNAPPED

Brad Penny hadn't allowed a homer in 71 innings dating to Sept. 2006 before surrendering one to Adam LaRoche in the second inning of Los Angeles' 5-4 victory over Pittsburgh on Sunday.

SWEEPING

Milwaukee won its first series in nearly a month with a 3-0 victory over Florida on Sunday. The Brewers' last sweep was May 7-9 against Washington.

SPEAKING

''Pretty ironic, isn't it? In the dugout, Wes Helms was saying it would be something if I won the game on the day my bobblehead was given out. It's funny how it happened. I got a good pitch and drove it out.'' - Shane Victorino, who hit a game-ending homer in the ninth inning of the Phillies' 9-8 win over the Giants on Sunday. The crowd of 39,293 received a hula figurine of Victorino, who was born in Hawaii.

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Notes from Sunday's AL games
June 3, 2007

DETROIT: Manager Jim Leyland said it was a difficult decision to release 41-year-old Jose Mesa on Sunday despite the right-hander's 12.34 ERA in 16 games. ``I'm not sure I gave him a fair chance to get settled in,'' Leyland said. ... The Tigers' four doubles and one home run in a 9-2 win at Cleveland added to their impressive totals. Through 56 games, they have 139 doubles and 953 total bases, both best in the majors. ... C Ivan Rodriguez has hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .409 (27-for-66). ... 1B Sean Casey has an 11-game hitting streak, going 14-for-32 (.424). ... Since April 30, DH Gary Sheffield has batted .306 (41-for-134) with 12 homers and 25 RBIs. ... The Tigers are 27-5 when scoring five or more runs.

CLEVELAND: Manager Eric Wedge expressed confidence that LHPs Cliff Lee and Jeremy Sowers will start pitching better. He admitted that having two-fifths of the rotation pitch poorly puts a strain on the entire staff. ``Both are very capable of giving us quality starts,'' Wedge said. ``They have done it before. They need to get it done.'' Lee is 2-3 with a 6.35 ERA and Sowers 1-6 with a 6.63 ERA. ... 3B Casey Blake's 13-game hitting streak was put on hold Sunday as Wedge gave him a day off. Blake has hit .360 (18-for-50) with five homers and 12 RBIs during the streak. ... SS Jhonny Peralta is batting .388 (19-for-49) during a 12-game hitting streak. He has four homers, 11 RBIs and a .383 mark in his last 20 games. ... RHP Rafael Betancourt has not allowed a walk in his last 21 2-3 innings covering 20 appearances.


CHICAGO: The White Sox snapped an 0-for-61 slump against opposing relievers with A.J. Pierzynski's ninth-inning double. ... Chicago has lost seven of eight and went 1-6 on its road trip. ... White Sox relievers are 2-6 with five blown saves and a 9.06 ERA in their past 22 games. A reshuffling of the bullpen is expected when Chicago returns home Monday. ... Jim Thome hit his 497th home run, giving him sole possession of 25th place on the career list. ... Manager Ozzie Guillen was ejected for the first time this season and the 10th time in his career.

TORONTO: 1B Lyle Overbay broke a bone in his hand when he was hit by a pitch from LHP John Danks in the third inning. Overbay is expected to miss four to six weeks. Matt Stairs will get the bulk of the playing time with Overbay out. ... RHP A.J. Burnett will get an extra day of rest before his next start because he has thrown more than 100 pitches in each of his past five starts. RHP Tomo Ohka will start in Burnett's place against Tampa Bay on Wednesday and Burnett will start the series finale Thursday afternoon. ... RHP Brandon League (sore shoulder) has moved from Class-A Dunedin to Double-A New Hampshire as he continues his rehab assignment. The Blue Jays hope to have League back by the end of June.


KANSAS CITY: RHP Scott Elarton made his fifth start since returning from shoulder surgery. ``I see progress every time out,'' manager Buddy Bell said. ``He's fine. He's healthy. Each time I'm sure he feels a little bit more comfortable.'' ... 3B Alex Gordon, mired in an 0-for-14 slide, was out of the lineup. ... RHP Gil Meche (3-4, 3.00 ERA), Monday's scheduled starter, will look to stop a five-game winless stretch. He hasn't won since beating the Los Angeles Angels on May 3. ... LHP John Bale (left shoulder) gave up three hits in two scoreless innings for Triple-A Omaha on Saturday.

TAMPA BAY: Manager Joe Maddon said it hasn't been determined if 2B B.J. Upton will eventually wind up as a full-time infielder or center fielder. ``Center field is intriguing because of the way he goes after the ball,'' Maddon said. Maddon thinks one day Upton will be an All-Star at either position. ... RHP James Shields (4-0), coming off a complete-game win last Wednesday, will attempt to set a career high by winning his fifth straight decision Monday against Kansas City. He has gone seven or more innings in each of his last eight starts.


BALTIMORE: Chris Ray's blown save was his fourth this season in 16 chances. The two-run homer he gave up to Vladimir Guerrero was the third against him, including a go-ahead grand slam by Boston's Wily Mo Pena and a game-ending grand slam by Alex Rodriguez on April 8. ... The Orioles have the fifth pick in Thursday's first-year player draft. ... CF Corey Patterson, in a 2-for-19 rut, sat out his second straight game. ... Jay Gibbons was 0-for-3 with two strikeouts, and is 4-for-34 over his last 11 games.

LOS ANGELES: The Angels' 14th victory in 18 games improved their record to 36-22, equaling the best start in franchise history (1989), and put them a season-best 14 games over .500. Their 22-8 home record is the best in the majors. ... Vladimir Guerrero is batting .362 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs in the Angels' 36 wins and .293 with two homers and eight RBIs in their 17 losses with him in the lineup.


TEXAS: Part-time OF Victor Diaz had two home runs and a career-high five RBIs. Manager Ron Washington said Diaz was making a strong case to play every day. But Sammy Sosa, Frank Catalanotto, Marlon Byrd and Brad Wilkerson - whom Texas expects to have back off the DL soon - have also started games in right field. ``I've got to play other guys, too,'' Washington said. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy, who missed a start Wednesday because of a finger blister, will throw a simulated game at home on Tuesday. If his finger is OK, he will start Saturday, Washington said. ... Washington said utilityman Jerry Hairston Jr., who has been on the DL retroactive to May 17 with a pinched nerve in his neck, will be activated on Tuesday - provided his final two rehabilitation games at Double-A Frisco go well. ... Texas pitching allowed 33 runs in the four-game series at Seattle.

SEATTLE: RHP Jeff Weaver threw 85 pitches in a simulated game, after refusing to take the minor league rehabilitation start the team initially wanted. That might be his final test for what he hopes is a return to the rotation next weekend at San Diego. Weaver, 0-6 with a 14.32 ERA, went on the DL on May 11 with shoulder tendinitis. Weaver generally threw in the upper 80 mph range, noticeably below his normal velocity. Weaver said he threw only fastballs for an entire inning to test his velocity. ``I was probably letting it go 90 percent. ... I mean, it was still not full bore. I didn't want to go out there and do something stupid.'' Weaver is waiting for manager Mike Hargrove to return Monday from his daughter's high school graduation in Ohio to learn what his next assignment will be. ... SS Yuniesky Betancourt's double in the second inning extended his hitting streak to 15 games, a career high.


MINNESOTA: Nick Punto stole his 10th and 11th bases of the season and walked three times. ... C Joe Mauer, on the DL since May 6 with a strained left quadriceps, left for extended spring training in Florida with hopes of rejoining Minnesota soon. ... Johan Santana allowed a season-high four walks, but he hasn't allowed more than four free passes since July 15, 2002, when he walked seven in 5 2-3 innings of a 10-8 win against the Angels in which he had a no-decision. ... The Twins had their streak of four straight series victories snapped. ... Jason Kubel's third homer of the year - a solo shot to start the sixth - was the Twins' first long ball since May 29 against Chicago, a span of 178 plate appearances. Kubel hit the team's previous homer, too.

OAKLAND: Shannon Stewart got his 1,500th hit with a third-inning single. ... Santana was the 21st lefty starter the A's have faced this year, most in the American League. ... The A's designated RHP Jay Witasick for assignment before the game and called up RHP Santiago Casilla, who got his first chance in the sixth and struck out three of the four batters he faced. Witasick, limited to 20 games and 22 2-3 innings in 2006 because of an ankle injury, went 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in just 16 games and 15 innings for the A's this season. He hasn't pitched since May 29, and had given up two runs in his previous five outings - allowing all three of his inherited runners to score. ``It was a situation obviously of where the A's are and where I'm at,'' Witasick said in between handshakes and goodbyes in the clubhouse. ``I enjoyed my time here and my teammates. That's the hardest part, leaving the guys in this room. I wasn't getting a lot of innings. It's not about anything but playing. I want to go somewhere where I can contribute.'' ... CF Mark Kotsay, activated from the 60-day DL on Friday to play for the first time all season following lower back surgery, is slated to get a day off during the series against Boston. ... OF Chris Snelling (bruised left knee) is slated to begin a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento on Monday.


NEW YORK: Mike Mussina's 52nd start against Boston on Saturday passed Jim Kaat for third-most against the Red Sox. ... RHP Carl Pavano is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on his right elbow Tuesday in New York. ... Rookie RHP Matt DeSalvo, scheduled to start Monday night against the Chicago White Sox, ``just needs to be aggressive and if he's aggressive he's going to give himself a good chance,'' manager Joe Torre said. DeSalvo (1-2, 5.40 ERA with the Yankees) is expected to be called up from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre with 1B Doug Mientkiewicz headed for the disabled list.

BOSTON: RF J.D. Drew missed his second straight game with a hamstring injury and was replaced in the lineup by Wily Mo Pena, who also started Saturday. Manager Terry Francona said Drew should be available to play in Oakland on Monday night. ... 2B Dustin Pedroia (.465) and 1B Kevin Youkilis (.396) had the two highest batting averages in the majors among hitters with at least 70 at_bats from May 3 to June 2. ... RHPs Julian Tavarez and Daisuke Matsuzaka were sent to Oakland before the game. They are scheduled to start the first two games of the four-game series.

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Notes from Sunday's NL games
June 3, 2007

ARIZONA: 3B Chad Tracy, sidelined since May 16 because of a strained rib cage, took batting practice and could return from the 15-day DL next weekend against the Boston Red Sox, manager Bob Melvin said. ... SS Stephen Drew, battling a shin injury, was available to play but was given the day off against LHP Oliver Perez. ... CF Eric Byrnes has hit in 11 straight games. ... 1B Conor Jackson has hit in eight straight games and has seven multihit games in his last 12 contests. ... The Diamondbacks haven't lost a game in which they scored more than one run since May 18 at Pittsburgh, a span of 15 games.

NEW YORK:
The Mets released RHP Chan Ho Park, who gave up seven runs and six hits over four innings in his only start for New York this year. He was 4-4 with a 5.57 ERA in nine starts for Triple-A New Orleans. ... Three-time Cy Young Award winner Pedro Martinez, recovering from rotator cuff surgery, is scheduled to throw off a mound for the first time Tuesday in Port St. Lucie, the team said. ``Everything is very positive with Pedro,'' manager Willie Randolph said. ... CF Carlos Beltran, out since Thursday with a bruised right knee, said he hopes to play Tuesday. ``It's a lot better and it's going to continue to get better,'' he said. ... LF Moises Alou on the 15-day DL because of a strained left quad since May 17th, is getting close to 100 percent and will hopefully return soon. ``Guys like that, veteran guys, they let me know when they're ready to go,'' Randolph said.


LOS ANGELES: Derek Lowe is 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA in four career starts against Pittsburgh heading into Monday night's start in PNC Park. ... INF Jeff Kent is in a 1-for-28 slump, going 0-for-2 on Sunday after entering the game as a pinch-hitter. ... The Dodgers are 4-2 with four games remaining on a 10-game road trip to Washington, Pittsburgh and San Diego. The Pirates chose to play Monday's game at night, meaning the Dodgers must fly all night to San Diego. Home teams often schedule a day game out of courtesy to the opposing team when such a travel situation exists.

PITTSBURGH: With the Yankees' Roger Clemens scratched from his scheduled Monday start against the White Sox because of a fatigued right groin, it's possible he may make his 2007 debut against the Pirates next weekend in Yankee Stadium. Clemens is 5-1 with a 2.92 ERA in eight career starts against the Pirates, losing only to Ian Snell - Snell's first career victory - late in the 2005 season. ... Pirates OF prospect Rajai Davis has a 21-game hitting streak for Triple-A Indianapolis. ... Former Japanese pitching star Masumi Kuwata pitched a scoreless relief inning Saturday for Triple-A Indianapolis, the 39-year-old right-hander's first North American appearance. He sat out the first two months of the season with an ankle injury that occurred late in spring training. ... Florida International C Luis Bautista, the younger brother of Pirates 3B Jose Bautista, was among nine players who worked out for the team Sunday before Thursday's draft.


SAN DIEGO: OF Mike Cameron was a late scratch from Sunday's lineup with a tight hamstring. He was replaced in center field by Hiram Bocachica, while C Josh Bard moved into Cameron's cleanup spot in the lineup. Cameron flew out as a pinch-hitter in the ninth. ... Bocachica is 2-for-26 with the A's and Padres this season and both his hits have been home runs. San Diego claimed Bocachica off waivers Thursday. ... OF Jose Cruz Jr. (back spasms) is expected to play Tuesday when San Diego hosts the Dodgers. ... OF Brian Giles (right knee contusion) won't come off the the 15-day disabled list when he's eligible Tuesday, manager Bud Black said. ``Maybe he'll be ready by the weekend,'' Black said of Giles. ... San Diego has won nine consecutive series against the Washington franchise, and the 21 runs the Padres scored in Washington was a season high for a series.

WASHINGTON: The grounds crew at RFK Stadium was prepared for the remnants of Tropical Storm Barry, which moved through the mid-Atlantic before Sunday's game. Groundskeepers lined the field and drew the batter's boxes Saturday night before putting the tarp on the field. ... Right-hander John Patterson, on the 15-day DL with a sore right biceps and elbow, thought he had a more efficient delivery in his Sunday bullpen session. ``I felt very loose and comfortable,'' he said. ``My body was relaxed, smooth and unfolding at the end. There was good rhythm in my delivery.'' ... Washington signed Dominican SS Luis Castillo to a professional contract Sunday. The team had recently worked out Castillo, 17, at its facility in San Cristobal, D.R.


SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Bonds wasn't in the Giants' starting lineup Sunday. Bonds was given the day off and replaced by Mark Sweeney in left field. Bonds, who has 746 career homers, needs 10 more to break Hank Aaron's record of 755. ... CF Dave Roberts continues to throw as he rehabilitates his left elbow, which required surgery on May 11. Roberts could return for the three-game series against the Oakland A's on June 8-10. ``He was throwing free and easy,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``It's time for him to start his rehab.'' ... The Giants began the season 6-3 on the road, but have dropped 12 of their last 18 entering Sunday's game.

PHILADELPHIA: Closer Tom Gordon believes he's close to returning to the team. Gordon threw before Sunday's game and said he's flying to the team's spring training complex in Clearwater, Fla., on Monday with a goal of throwing again Tuesday. Gordon was placed on the DL on May 4 with a strained right rotator cuff and then suffered an upper respiratory infection which landed him in an area hospital for five days starting May 11. ... One day after pitcher Cole Hamels recorded his NL-best eighth victory with a complete-game effort, he recognized how difficult it is to throw nine innings. It was Hamels' second complete game of the season. ``I felt good in the ninth, and you don't always feel good like that,'' he said. ``It was good to give the bullpen a rest, too.''


FLORIDA: RHP Wes Obermueller will start for Florida on Monday in place of RHP Sergio Mitre, who injured his right hamstring Wednesday in Chicago. Obermueller will open a three-game series against the Braves on three days' rest while Mitre will pitch Tuesday, when the Marlins and Braves play a doubleheader at Turner Field. ... RHP Dontrelle Willis allowed a career-high six walks Sunday. It was the first time Willis pitched more than three innings without recording a strikeout. ... 3B Miguel Cabrera went 1-for-3 with three strikeouts Sunday. He came in batting .384 (10-for-26) through the first six games of the Marlins' current road trip.

MILWAUKEE: 3B Ryan Braun has committed just one error in his first 10 games since being called up on May 24. Despite gaudy spring offensive numbers, Braun was sent to Triple-A Nashville to work on his defense. ... Sheets has made seven consecutive quality starts, and leads all Brewers pitchers with nine. He has a 5-1 record in those last seven starts. ... C Damian Miller was unavailable due to a sore wrist. He took a foul tip off the wrist in the game last Wednesday against Atlanta.


ST. LOUIS: SS David Eckstein was back in the lineup, two days after taking a fastball from Roy Oswalt off his left elbow. He homered on the third pitch of the game, the sixth of his career leading off a game. ... Regular 3B Scott Rolen sat out for the second straight game with a strained right hamstring. ``Another day of rest,'' St. Louis manager Tony La Russa said. ``We'll check him out on Tuesday.'' The Cardinals are off on Monday, before opening a home series with Cincinnati on Tuesday. ... OF Chris Duncan, sidelined since May 27 with bursitis in his left knee, went through a full workout in St. Louis on Sunday. La Russa said he would go through another workout Monday - batting and fielding practice mixed with some running - and be evaluated after that. ... La Russa said RHP Kip Wells hasn't lost his job - yet. Wells lost his league-leading 10th game Saturday, giving up six runs on seven hits in five innings. ``He's in a tough rut,'' La Russa said. Wells has given up 50 earned runs and 33 walks, tops on the Cardinals' staff. La Russa thinks it would be a mistake to take Wells out of the rotation or send him down to the minors. ``We'll do anything and everything to get him right,'' La Russa said.

HOUSTON: The Astros have lost their last five series. They open a seven-game road trip in Colorado on Tuesday. ... Manager Phil Garner shook up his lineup, mostly to get rest for some players. Craig Biggio, Lance Berkman and Brad Ausmus didn't start, though all of them played later in Sunday's 8-6 loss to St. Louis. Biggio went 0-1 and remains 22 hits from 3,000. He's hitting .242 at home and .224 on the road, but Garner said he's not considering playing the 41-year-old second baseman less away from Houston. ``I have not said that to anybody because I haven't even been thinking about that,'' Garner said. ... Eric Munson was the Astros' starting catcher for the second straight game since being called up from the minors. Munson was batting .285 at Round Rock. Ausmus, the regular catcher, is hitting .236. ``I'm going to catch Munson a couple of times,'' Garner said. ``Brad's one of the top catchers around in terms of handling the staff. Munson has never hit for a high average, but he has hit some home runs in the big leagues and showed a little bit of pop. It gives you a little bit of pop in the bottom of the order.'' Munson went 1-for-4 with a run scored in Sunday's loss.


ATLANTA: John Smoltz expects to start one of Tuesday's doubleheader games against Florida, after having his scheduled start pushed back from Sunday due to discomfort in his right shoulder and an injured right pinkie. Smoltz, 7-2 with a 2.82 ERA, threw on the side Sunday. ``I threw a lot better today,'' said Smoltz, who also threw Friday. ``Today, I could have gotten guys out, whereas Friday when I threw, no way. So that's progress.'' Manager Bobby Cox said the right-hander ``threw really good today.'' ... RHP Lance Cormier started Sunday after being activated from the DL, and the Braves sent INF Martin Prado to Triple-A Richmond. ... The Braves had won six straight at Wrigley Field before Sunday's 10-1 loss.

CHICAGO: CF Felix Pie's second tour with the Cubs this season got off to a good start. The prized prospect batted second and went 2-for-5 with a double, RBI and two runs scored after being recalled from Triple-A Iowa. ``I'm so happy for him,'' OF Alfonso Soriano said. ``It's very important for him.'' The Cubs want Pie, who batted .224 during a three-week span, to be more patient at the plate. ... INF Daryle Ward went on the 15-day DL with a strained left hip Sunday, but expects to be ready once he's eligible to be activated. Primarily a pinch-hitter, Ward is batting .270. ... Derrek Lee hit his 92nd homer as a Cub, putting him in a tie for fifth place among first basemen on the club's career list with Phil Cavaretta. Cap Anson is fourth with 97.


CINCINNATI: OF Adam Dunn was removed from the original lineup card an hour before the game and replaced by OF Dewayne Wise. ``Adam wasn't feeling good,'' manager Jerry Narron said. ... OF Josh Hamilton will join the team in St. Louis on Tuesday. Hamilton was eligible to come off the DL on Sunday. ... RHP Kyle Lohse is the likely choice to make a start Saturday against Cleveland. ``It's still a TBA, if everything works out,'' Narron said. ... RHP David Weathers converted six straight save chances before blowing the save Sunday. ... The stolen base by RHP Matt Belisle was the first by a Reds pitcher since Danny Graves had one on July 9, 2003, at Houston.

COLORADO: SS Troy Tulowitzki's right groin was sore enough to keep him out of the starting lineup. Tulowitzki strained it running out a grounder in the fourth inning Saturday night. ... Colorado won its second home series of the season and first since winning its home opening series. The Rockies won the season series with the Reds 4-2. ... RHP Josh Fogg's (strained left groin) scheduled return off the DL on June 7 provides the Rockies with decisions. Who will fill two spots in the rotation? ``It comes down to Jason Hirsh, Taylor Buchholz and Fogg,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ``It's three for two spots.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 4

White Sox option MacDougal, Aardsma
June 4, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -The Chicago White Sox shook up their struggling bullpen Monday, optioning Mike MacDougal and David Aardsma to Triple-A Charlotte while purchasing the contracts of pitchers Ryan Bukvich and Bret Prinz from the minor league club.

Chicago also transferred utility player Pablo Ozuna from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. He has a fracture in his lower right leg and a shoulder injury.

Aardsma, 2-1 with a 6.18 ERA in 22 appearances, was sent down following Sunday's 4-3 loss at Toronto. The White Sox optioned MacDougal, 1-3 with a 7.13 ERA, and called up Bukvich and Prinz before Monday's game against the New York Yankees.

The White Sox are coming off a 1-6 trip, and they're getting no help from their relievers. The bullpen was 2-6 with a 9.06 ERA and five blown saves in its past 22 games following Sunday's loss.

Prinz is 5-4 with nine saves and a 4.77 ERA in 98 major-league appearances with Arizona (2001-03), the Yankees (2003-04) and Dodgers (2005). Bukvich is 2-0 with a 6.94 ERA in 48 appearances with Kansas City (2002-04) and Texas (2005).

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 4

Piniella's suspension set at four games
Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) - Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella's suspension was set at four games Monday by Major League Baseball for his weekend dirt-kicking tantrum against an umpire.

The commissioner's office originally planned to suspend Piniella for five games, then reduced the penalty by one game after the manager spoke with John McHale Jr., MLB's executive vice president for administration.

Piniella started serving the penalty Sunday, when baseball said he was being suspended indefinitely pending his talk with McHale.

He was ejected by umpire Mark Wegner in the eighth inning of Saturday's 5-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves at Wrigley Field after Angel Pagan was thrown out trying to steal third.

Piniella ran onto the field and kicked dirt as he argued and tossed his cap. The commissioner's office said Piniella made contact with Wegner, an allegation the manager denied.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 4

Hamilton, Coffey to return to Reds from Triple-A Louisville
June 4, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) -The Cincinnati Reds said Monday they plan to recall outfielder Josh Hamilton and reliever Todd Coffey from Triple-A Louisville for a game Tuesday in St. Louis.

To make room for them, the Reds plan to send right-hander Brad Salmon and outfielder Dewayne Wise to Louisville.

Hamilton was the National League's rookie of the month in April. He has been on the disabled list since May 22 after a bout with gastroenteritis that flared up during a series in Cleveland.

He was hitting .261 with eight home runs and 18 RBIs then, and hit .333 with four home runs in six rehab appearances with the Bats.

Coffey began the season with the Reds and was 1-1 with a 4.94 ERA in 26 relief appearances before he was optioned to Louisville on May 24. He did not allow a run in six appearances for the Bats, striking out nine in 5 2-3 innings.

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