MLB News and Notes June - 7

MLB News and Notes June - 7

Baseball Today - June 7
Thu, Jun 7, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Thursday, June 7

Philadelphia at N.Y. Mets (7:10 p.m. EDT). Cole Hamels squares off against John Maine in a matchup of NL East rivals.

STARS

Wednesday

- Justin Verlander and Gary Sheffield, Tigers. Verlander threw seven shutout innings and Sheffield had a pair of homers and five RBIs in a 10-0 win at Texas.

- Carl Crawford, Devil Rays, drove in four runs and Tampa Bay won 6-2 over Toronto.

- Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees, threw a five-hitter, leading New York to a 5-1 win in Chicago.

- Jimmy Rollins, Phillies, hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the seventh inning, rallying Philadelphia to a 4-2 victory over New York.

- Brandon Webb and Chris Young, Diamondbacks. Young hit a solo homer a night after his game-ending shot in the 10th and Webb threw seven scoreless innings in Arizona's 1-0 win over San Francisco.

500

Trevor Hoffman became the first major leaguer with 500 career saves when he closed out the San Diego Padres' 5-2 victory over the Dodgers on Wednesday night. Hoffman set the career record with his 479th save on Sept. 28 against Pittsburgh, breaking Lee Smith's old mark of 478. Hoffman finished 2006 season with 482.

LIFTOFF

Roger Clemens appeared set to make his 2007 major league debut Saturday against the Pittsburgh Pirates after throwing 54 pitches during batting practice at the New York Yankees' minor league complex Wednesday. The seven-time Cy Young Award winner made 21 throws in the outfield and eight warmup tosses Wednesday before his 20-minute batting practice session against players from the Yankees' extended spring training team.

SIDELINED

The Chicago White Sox placed third baseman Joe Crede on the 15-day disabled list because of lower back inflammation on Wednesday. The 29-year-old Crede has a history of back problems, and it's been a nagging issue all season. After deciding not to have offseason surgery to repair two herniated discs, he is hitting .216 with four homers and 22 RBIs - a steep drop from last year when he batted .283 with 30 homers and 94 RBIs.

BOUNCE BACK

Carlos Zambrano threw 6 2-3 innings and struck out a season-high nine in Chicago's 6-2 win over Milwaukee on Wednesday. The right-hander melted down in his last start, giving up a career-high 13 hits Friday against Atlanta and getting into a dugout skirmish with catcher Michael Barrett. The hostilities continued in the clubhouse, and Barrett sustained a cut lip and went to a hospital for stitches.

SLUMPING

The New York Mets lost their season-high third straight and fourth in five games, 4-2 to Philadelphia on Wednesday. ... The White Sox have lost nine of 11 after a 5-1 loss to New York. ... Texas lost 10-0 to Detroit and have lost 11 of 14, leaving them with the worst record in the major leagues at 21-38.

STREAKING

Philadelphia's Adam Eaton improved to 5-0 with a 1.98 ERA in his career against the Mets after a 4-2 win on Wednesday. ... St. Louis has won six of seven and pulled five games behind first-place Milwaukee in the NL Central with a 6-4 win over Cincinnati. ... Arizona won for the 11th time in 12 games, 1-0 at home against San Francisco.

SNAPPED

Luis Castillo's major league-record errorless streak for second basemen ended at 143 games in Minnesota's 8-5 win over Los Angeles.

SPEAKING

''If this is the precedent that's going to be set - that if you do an interview and talk out against Major League Baseball and we don't like your answers, we're going to punish you even worse - I think it's a joke.'' - New York Yankees pitcher Mike Myers on commissioner Bud Selig deferring a decision on whether to discipline Jason Giambi for his remarks about steroids, saying how the slugger deals with former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell and his investigation into illegal enhancing drugs will be taken into account.

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Mets Chavez likely headed for DL with pulled hamstring
Thu, Jun 7, 2007
By Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Mets' banged-up outfield took another hit Wednesday night when Endy Chavez left a game against the Philadelphia Phillies with a hamstring injury that likely will land him on the disabled list.

Chavez hurt himself in the bottom of the seventh inning. With the bases loaded and one out and the Mets trailing by one, Chavez hit a grounder to shortstop and hustled to try to beat out a double play. But Jimmy Rollins stepped on second and threw out Chavez to end the inning. As Chavez passed first, he collapsed to the ground in pain. He was helped off the field and replaced by Carlos Gomez.

Chavez was to have an MRI exam Thursday, and manager Willie Randolph said after the Mets' 4-2 loss that he expected Chavez would probably wind up on the disabled list.

''It doesn't look too good,'' Randolph said. ''He went down pretty hard. I was sure it's going to be the DL for him. We've got him iced up right now.''

Chavez, normally a backup, went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. He is hitting .292 with a home run and 13 RBIs.

''I felt a pop and something went wrong in my leg,'' Chavez said. ''I've never had anything like this before. Right now I just want to know what it's going to take to get back.''

New York got good news earlier in the day, when Shawn Green did some light work in the outfield. He said he was optimistic he'll be ready to return from the disabled when he's eligible Sunday. He hasn't played since May 25 because of a broken right foot.

''If all goes well I should be ready for Sunday,'' Green said.

Left fielder Moises Alou also is on the DL with a quadriceps injury and isn't sure when he'll be able to return.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 7

Bonds held out of starting lineup again
Wed, Jun 6, 2007
By Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Barry Bonds' shins were so swollen in recent days that his socks left a thick imprint in his legs. That's how the slugger chose to describe how much pressure he has been feeling in his legs.

Bonds was held out of San Francisco's starting lineup for the second straight night Wednesday to rest and recover. He has been taking prednisone again lately - often his practice in the past - to help lessen the inflammation in his shins. His knees, ankles and feet also have been hurting, and Bonds is wearing compression socks to help matters.

''I won't go on the DL,'' Bonds said. ''Don't count on seeing me on the DL - ever. I won't let myself. I will work hard. I will play through it.''

He expects to be back in left field and batting cleanup in Thursday night's series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, resuming his pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record of 755. Bonds is at 746 and has homered just once in 61 at-bats since connecting May 8.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 7

Tigers put Robertson on the DL
June 6, 2007

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) -The Detroit Tigers placed struggling left-hander Nate Robertson on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with what was described by manager Jim Leyland as a ``tired arm.''

Robertson faced six batters in a start on Tuesday night against the Texas Rangers, allowing two walks, two singles, a triple and a grand slam before Leyland removed him from the game. Texas went on to a 7-4 victory as Robertson lost for the fourth time in his last five starts.

Following the game, Robertson insisted he had no physical problems, but Leyland said the ball wasn't coming out of Robertson's hand the right way.

Robertson and Leyland had a 45-minute discussion prior to Wednesday night's game against the Rangers. Afterward, Leyland announced that Robertson would be placed on the disabled list and left-hander Andrew Miller will be called up from Double-A Erie to replace Robertson for Sunday's start against the New York Mets.

Leyland refused to answer questions about the move, but he did say another pitcher would be called up from the minors on Thursday to be with the club until Miller's call-up on Sunday.

After the announcement that he was headed for the disabled list, Robertson wouldn't say his arm was hurting, but admitted that his stuff hasn't been the same recently.

``Physically I don't know how you diagnose tired arm, but (the ball) isn't coming out the same,'' Robertson said. ``It's probably the most beneficial decision for the team for them to make this move. I've said time and time again that I want to go out and do my part. Things happen like yesterday, you can't afford them in the position that we're in. You've got to battle through it and that's what I'm trying to do.''

Robertson said some time off from throwing might be what he needs to end his slump.

``I'll probably have better answers in five or six days,'' he said. ``We'll put something together with the trainers and go from there. I don't have any answers other than that. I want to do my part for this team and I know I'm capable of doing that.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 7

Royals designate Berroa; recall Gathright
June 6, 2007

CLEVELAND (AP) -Four years after winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award, infielder Angel Berroa was designated for assignment by the Kansas City Royals on Wednesday.
   
The Royals recalled outfielder Joey Gathright from Triple-A Omaha to take the roster spot of Berroa, who hit only .091 (1-for-11) with one RBI in nine games after being called up May 14.

``We need to give our offense a little boost,'' Royals manager Buddy Bell said. ``Joey can't do it by himself, but we think he can help.

``Angel's out of options, so we couldn't just send him down.''

The Royals have 10 days to try and make a trade for Berroa or have him clear waivers before they could send him to the minors.

Berroa, 29, had one of the best rookie seasons in Royals history in 2003. He hit .287 with 17 homers and 73 RBIs and edged out outfielder Hideki Matsui of the New York Yankees by four votes to win the rookie award.

Berroa got off to a slow start the next year and was sent back to the minors for 11 games. Overall in 134 games with Kansas City in 2004, he hit .262, though his power numbers dropped to eight homers and 43 RBIs.

He was the Royals' starting shortstop the past two seasons, but lost his job this spring to rookie Tony Pena Jr., who entered Tuesday batting .263 with no homers and 14 RBIs.

Gathright, 26, batted .328 with 50 runs, 20 RBIs and 21 stolen bases in 26 attempts at Omaha. In 229 games for Tampa Bay and the Royals over parts of the past three seasons, he hit .251 with one homer, 55 RBIs and 48 steals.

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Blue Jays call up RHP De Jong, demote RHP Wolfe
June 6, 2007

TORONTO (AP) -The Toronto Blue Jays purchased the contract of right-hander Jordan De Jong from Triple-A Syracuse on Wednesday and optioned righty Brian Wolfe to the minor league team.

The 28-year-old De Jong started the season at Double-A New Hampshire and was promoted after eight games, giving up just one run in 14 innings.

At Syracuse, De Jong went 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA and two saves in 13 games. He struck out 25 and walked seven in 23 1-3 innings.

The 26-year-old Wolfe did not record a decision in four games with the Blue Jays. He gave up two runs over 1 2-3 innings in Toronto's 12-11 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday.

``It gives us a fresh arm, nothing more than that,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said. ``We've got another arm today in case the game gets lopsided.''

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays designated right-hander Israel Rammer for assignment.

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Notes from Wednesday's AL games
June 6, 2007


MINNESOTA: The Twins began the day 7 1/2 games behind first-place Cleveland in the AL Central, but that deficit is nothing compared to what they overcame last season to win their fourth division title in five seasons. ``Obviously, Cleveland's going to be tough, Detroit's handled us well and Chicago's hitting is going to come around because they have too many guys who can hit. So it's going to be a battle, but we think we have a team that's good enough to do it,'' reigning AL MVP Justin Morneau said. ``We haven't played as well as we can, but we haven't really been healthy for the most part all year and guys in our bullpen have been hurt and banged-up.''

LOS ANGELES: Switch-hitting Gary Matthews Jr. is batting .213 right-handed and .321 left-handed. Last season he hit .313 against righties and .314 against lefties. ``I take the same amount of swings from each side every day and continue to work hard on that (right) side,'' Matthews said. ``It's just a matter of getting reps and seeing more lefties. I just don't see a lot of them, and sometimes your average suffers because of it. You can't simulate a game situation, and that's the most difficult part. But hopefully, by taking more swings and taking the same amount from both sides will keep me sharp. I'll continue to be aggressive and the hits will come sooner or later.''


BALTIMORE: Manager Sam Perlozzo said the team won't wait for its bullpen to suddenly turn around. The relievers entered the day with a blown save and a loss in each of the previous three games, and its bullpen ERA of 4.83 was 11th in the AL. ``I'm sure we're exploring options outside the organization,'' Perlozzo said. ``I'm not saying something's going to happen, but we're certainly exploring making the bullpen better, making it work again.'' ... One reason the bullpen has gone bad: repeated use. Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker, Danys Baez and closer Chris Ray had each appeared in at least 28 of the Orioles' first 59 games. Ray and Baez each have four losses, and Baez has a 6.84 ERA. That has caused Perlozzo to use Walker and Bradford far more than for just the one or two batters the manager had planned before the season. ... LHP Brian Burres will go to long relief as the team skips his next start because of off days on Thursday and Monday. ... The team's 16 hits were a season high.

SEATTLE: LHP Jarrod Washburn, starting with flulike symptoms, didn't get out of the fifth inning but struck out a season high-tying six and did not walk a batter for the first time this season. After going 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA in his first five home starts, Washburn is 0-1 with a 9.42 ERA in his last three in Seattle. ... When Jon Huber allowed a run in the sixth inning, it snapped a seven-inning scoreless streak for the bullpen dating to June 3. ... LHP Horacio Ramirez is eligible to come off the DL on Saturday. But manager Mike Hargrove said the No. 4 starter, out with left shoulder tendinitis, has yet to throw off a mound and that his return is ``going to be a while.''


KANSAS CITY: SS Angel Berroa, the 2003 AL Rookie of the Year, was designated for assignment and OF Joey Gathright was recalled from Triple-A Omaha. ``Maybe Joey can give our offense a spark,'' manager Buddy Bell said. Gathright hit .374 since April 26 and went 13-for-13 in steal attempts since May 19 at Omaha. ... C Jason LaRue started in place of John Buck, who was given a day off. ... 3B Alex Gordon, in an 0-for-19 slump, returned to the lineup after sitting out one game. ... RHP David Riske has pitched 15 1-3 straight scoreless innings since May 1, lowering his ERA from 6.97 to 2.81.

CLEVELAND: LHP C.C. Sabathia said he had more fun before Wednesday's game then he did the previous night in pitching a five-hit shutout. Sabathia and other Indians pitchers took batting practice, in preparation for interleague play in NL ballparks that starts Friday in Cincinnati. Two years ago there, Sabathia homered to center field over the head of his boyhood hero, Ken Griffey Jr. ``Without question, my biggest thrill,'' Sabathia said. ``It was awesome.'' ... LHP Cliff Lee is 2-for-17 (.118) in interleague play, but is eager to step in the batter's box. ``I can't wait,'' he said. ``Hitting is the most fun part of the game.'' ... Entering play, the Indians had hit .303 over their previous 23 games, raising their team average from .259 to .275.


TAMPA BAY: Carl Crawford and B.J. Upton combined to go 7-for-12 with five RBIs on Tuesday, but Tampa Bay blew a five-run lead in the ninth and lost 12-11 to Toronto. Manager Joe Maddon spoke to individual players on Wednesday and urged them to remain positive. ``There were a lot of good things attached to (the game), but it ended up being a bad day,'' Maddon said. ... Tampa Bay's bullpen recorded its 13th loss Tuesday, second-most in the major leagues. Chicago Cubs relievers have 14 losses. ... OF Elijah Dukes, stuck in an 0-17 slump, got the night off. ``I just thought he was pressing a little bit,'' Maddon said. ``He'll be back in there tomorrow.'' Dukes went 0-for-6 on Tuesday, dropping his average to .200.

TORONTO: C-INF Curtis Thigpen, called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Tuesday, made his major league debut. Thigpen started at 1B and batted ninth. ... C Sal Fasano, who injured his groin in Tuesday's game, was not in the starting lineup and manager John Gibbons said he'd try to avoid using Fasano as a pinch-hitter. ``He's not feeling too bad but we'd rather not,'' Gibbons said. Jason Phillips started at catcher. ... The Blue Jays purchased the contract of RHP Jordan De Jong from Syracuse and demoted RHP Brian Wolfe to Triple-A.


NEW YORK: LHP Andy Pettitte said his back felt fine and he expects to start Friday against Pittsburgh. ``I felt good,'' Pettitte said after throwing in the bullpen. ``I can't say I felt restricted at all.'' He left Sunday's start against Boston with lower back pain and cut back from his usual two bullpen sessions between outings to one. ``I've been feeling so good I didn't think I was going to have a problem,'' Pettitte said. ... The Yankees were no strangers to attention before, but manager Joe Torre thinks the spotlight is shining brighter on them this year. ``There are a lot of issues connected to our club, whether it's on-the-field stuff, whether it's winning or losing. Whether it's stuff that's not baseball, we get a lot of attention. I think the fact that we started off badly magnified it,'' Torre said. ... With his solo homer Tuesday, Alex Rodriguez improved to 8-for-16 with five homers and 12 RBIs in the ninth inning this year - a big improvement from 2006. Last season, he was 5-for-35 with three homers and five RBIs in the ninth.

CHICAGO: 3B Joe Crede was placed on the disabled list because of a bad back and 3B Josh Fields was called up from Triple-A Charlotte. Fields, who was batting .283 with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs for Charlotte, said he's feeling comfortable at the plate. ``I've been hitting the ball well,'' he said. ``I felt like every time I walked up to the plate I could basically get a hit or hit a home run at any time. That's a good feeling, and hopefully it will continue to last.'' Fields played in 11 games for the White Sox last September. ... The White Sox are in the early stages of a stretch of 37 consecutive games against teams at .500 or below - one that started May 31 and runs through July 5. Philadelphia, at 29-29 as of Wednesday afternoon, is the only opponent during that stretch with a non-losing record. Manager Ozzie Guillen is aware that Chicago needs to put together a long winning streak. ``That's our goal,'' he said. ``I talked about how we need to win two weeks in a row. I think we have the potential to do it because of our pitching staff. We keep waiting for those two weeks.''


DETROIT:
C Vance Wilson, on the DL since March 30 with a sore right elbow, went 0-for-4 on Tuesday night in the first game of a rehab assignment for Triple-A Toledo. ... RHP Roman Colon has a 2.35 ERA in five relief appearances of a rehab assignment with Toledo. Colon is recovering from neck surgery on March 31.

TEXAS: Manager Ron Washington said RHP Vicente Padilla will probably be able to make his next scheduled start Sunday night against Milwaukee. Padilla was scratched from Tuesday night's start against Detroit due to right triceps irritation. Padilla will have a bullpen session on Thursday to determine his readiness for Sunday's start, but Washington said: ``He assured us he just needed to miss this one start.'' ... 2B Ian Kinsler has already reached double figures in homers and steals, becoming the 41st player in club history to do so. Kinsler has done it twice in his two seasons with the Rangers. Toby Harrah is the franchise leader with five seasons of double-digit homers and steals. ... Kinsler was 10-for-10 in steal attempts this season.


BOSTON: Slumping RF J.D. Drew was held out of the lineup for the second straight day as manager Terry Francona decided to save him for Thursday's afternoon game and keep him away from LHP Joe Kennedy. Drew is in a 4-for-35 skid, dropping his average to .224. Kennedy has held lefties to two hits in 31 at_bats over his last six starts. ... Thursday will be a big day for bench coach Brad Mills, whose son Beau is expected to be a first-round pick in the draft after setting an NAIA record with 38 home runs while leading Lewis-Clark State to the NAIA title. He will be with friends and family in a private box at the Coliseum on Thursday. Depending on how early he gets drafted, his father could be by his side. The draft begins at 11 a.m. PDT, about 95 minutes before the first pitch of Boston's game against Oakland. ``Hopefully, Beau will be drafted before the first pitch,'' Francona said.

OAKLAND: CF Milton Bradley was scratched from the lineup with soreness in his right calf. Bradley, who left last Saturday's game against Minnesota with the injury, was slated to return to the lineup before the late change. LF Shannon Stewart replaced Bradley in the lineup, with Nick Swisher moving to CF. ... Closer Huston Street, who has been out since May 13 with an irritated nerve in his right elbow, made 30 light throws from 60 feet as he works his way back. Street will play catch again Friday and there's no timetable yet for his return. ``I was nervous on every single throw,'' he said. Street said it will take some time before he can trust that his arm is healthy.

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Notes from Wednesday's NL games
June 6, 2007


FLORIDA: The Marlins are hopeful that 3B Miguel Cabrera will be back in the lineup when they open a weekend series against Tampa Bay. Cabrera left Tuesday night's game when his right hamstring tightened, and he was already scheduled to take off the series finale in Atlanta. ``He's OK,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``I don't see any lingering effect. I was planning to give him the day off today anyway. And we have a day off (Thursday). He should be ready.'' Cabrera actually wanted one more shot at the Braves. ``He fought me a little bit'' about sitting out, Gonzalez quipped. ... RHP Justin Miller picked up his first win since Sept. 8, 2004 while pitching for the Toronto Blue Jays. ... After getting two runners thrown out the previous day, the Marlins stole a season-high five bases. Their previous high was three against Pittsburgh on May 15.

ATLANTA: RHP John Smoltz made it through six innings with an ailing shoulder, but he's not ready to say if he'll be able to make his next scheduled start Sunday. Smoltz pitched well in a loss to the Marlins on Tuesday, giving up only three hits and two runs. Still, he conceded that he didn't have his full repertoire, and it was clear he was in some pain the day after. ``I'll wait until the last minute,'' Smoltz said, referring to his next start. ``I want to be smart about it and communicate with Bobby. It's a long season.'' ... RHP Buddy Carlyle hung around the clubhouse another day, even though he's been assigned to Triple-A Richmond. He had 72 hours to report to the minor league club. ... The Braves, who are carrying 13 pitchers, plan to add another position player before they head out on a road trip next week. The most likely candidates are infielder Martin Prado and catcher Brayan Pena, who already have spent time in Atlanta.


CHICAGO: The Cubs snapped a four-series losing streak by taking 2-of-3 from the Brewers. The last time Chicago won a series was May 18-20 vs. the Chicago White Sox. ... CF Felix Pie's homer in the second made it six consecutive games that the Cubs have homered for the first time since September 6-11, 2006. It was Pie's second home run. His other came on April 27 at St. Louis during his first stint with Chicago. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez left the game after the top of the second with a left knee strain and did not return. Bench coach Alan Trammell said that Ramirez hurt himself as he stretched to beat the throw to first. Ramirez will be examined in Chicago on Thursday and should be able to rejoin the team in Atlanta.

MILWAUKEE: After taking the loss during his season debut vs. Florida on Saturday, RHP Jose Capellan pitched two scoreless innings. Capellan had two strikeouts and no walks. Before the game, he said he was happy to be back. ``They've given me another chance, and I have to take advantage of it,'' he said. ... Despite losing 2-of-3 to the Cubs at Miller Park, the Brewers still hold the best home mark (22-12) in the NL. ... The three fielding errors (J.J. Hardy had two and Prince Fielder one) were the most for the Brewers since they had three against Pittsburgh on April 18.


PITTSBURGH: OF Rajai Davis started for the second consecutive in place of OF Chris Duffy, who has gone 14-for-48 (.292) in his last 12 games. Despite swiping 10 bases in 12 attempts this season, Duffy hasn't had as many stolen base opportunities because of his .240 average, manager Jim Tracy said. ``You've got to get to first base to run,'' Tracy said. ... LHP Sean Burnett, the former No. 1 pick who is pitching for Triple-A Indianapolis, was examined Wednesday in Pittsburgh by Dr. Mark Baratz to determine the cause of his left lateral elbow irritation. No damage was found and once Burnett's symptoms cease, he can begin a throwing program.

WASHINGTON: RHP John Patterson, on the 15-day disabled list with a sore right elbow and biceps, threw a pain-free simulated game Wednesday afternoon. He will throw a bullpen session with Single-A Potomac over the weekend. ``He threw the ball well,'' manager Manny Acta said. ``Had some pop on it and snapped off a few breaking balls.'' ... Right-hander Jason Bergmann, on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow inflammation, threw from a mound Wednesday afternoon for the first time since his injury in a drill aimed at accuracy. Bergmann threw 35 fastballs and changeups.


PHILADELPHIA: Manager Charlie Manuel refused to give a definite timetable for the return of closer Brett Myers, on the disabled list since May 25 because of a strained left quadriceps. Manuel's best estimate for Myers' return was 10 days to two weeks. ... Since April 21, 2B Chase Utley is hitting .347 (58-for-167) with nine homers and 41 RBIs in 43 games, raising his average from .213 to .311. ... Coming into Wednesday, the Phillies led the majors with 22 outfield assists. RF Shane Victorino led the NL with eight. ... LF Pat Burrell was not in the starting lineup on Wednesday night. He is hitting .150 (12-for-80) with one homer on the road this season. ... The Phillies have the 19th overall selection in the first-year player draft Thursday. The team currently has five first-round draft picks on its roster: RHP Adam Eaton (1996), Burrell (1998), Myers (1999), Utley (2000) and LHP Cole Hamels (2002).

NEW YORK: LF Moises Alou is frustrated by his slow recovery from a strained left quadriceps. He had fluid drained from the knee and said it's doubtful he will be ready to play this weekend. ``I wish I could tell you I feel awesome but I can't,'' Alou said before the game Wednesday. ``I thought after taking the fluid it would be better. It is better, but not close to playing.'' Out since May 16, he's been itching to get back on the field. ``I came here to play, not to be hurt. When you're hurt on a good team, you feel like you're in everybody's way.'' ... RF Shawn Green did some light shagging in the outfield before the game and was optimistic he'll be ready to return from the DL when he's eligible Sunday. He hasn't played since May 25 because of a broken right foot. ``If all goes well I should be ready for Sunday,'' he said. ... 2B Jose Valentin (partially torn ligament in right knee) was slated to play his second straight nine-inning game for Class-A St. Lucie on Wednesday night. Both manager Willie Randolph and general manager Omar Minaya were optimistic that Valentin would return in the next few days. ``The odds are looking very good for tomorrow or the next day,'' Minaya said before Wednesday's game. ... It's early to be thinking about the trade deadline, but Minaya said the Mets will probably be in the market for pitching, both starters and relievers. He said he didn't expect this to be a year with many trades. ``There's a lot of parity. Everyone thinks they have a chance,'' Minaya said.


CINCINNATI: SS Alex Gonzalez (hamstring) was out of the lineup for the second straight game, although he was a late substitution on Tuesday. ... Scott Hatteberg batted leadoff for the fourth time this season. Norris Hopper got a day off after going 0-for-3 with a bases-loaded walk and sacrifice, cooling him to a mere 12-for-28 in the first seven games of a nine-game trip. Manager Jerry Narron said Hopper likely would play all three games this weekend. ... Narron had little reaction to Cardinal manager Tony La Russa's call for a two-week suspension for Aaron Harang after beaning Gary Bennett on Tuesday. ``He's been around the game a long time,'' Narron said. ``It bothers me when somebody on the other team gets hit on head, how about that?''

ST. LOUIS: RHP Todd Wellemeyer's spot in the rotation is in no immediate jeopardy, even though he lasted only 3 2/3 innings and walked six on Tuesday against the Reds. ``It isn't the way he's been throwing for us, but we'll give him another shot,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``I was just yanking it out of the zone. It was either low or away, one or the other,'' Wellemeyer said. ... 3B Scott Rolen returned to the lineup after being out with a hamstring injury since Friday. ... C Kelly Stinnett made his first start with the Cardinals after filling in Tuesday when Gary Bennett was beaned by Aaron Harang in the second inning and had to leave the game. La Russa and teammates all gave Stinnett high marks for handling pitchers he was unfamiliar with. ``He has no idea what their tendencies are, what their strengths and weaknesses are,'' Bennett said. ``The job he did was unbelievable.''


HOUSTON: RHP Brad Lidge doesn't mind coming back to Coors Field. ``It means I get to sleep in my own bed,'' said Lidge of suburban Englewood. ... Manager Phil Garner won't back off the justification for the trade that brought RHP Jason Jennings from Colorado for OF Willie Taveras and pitchers Taylor Buchholz and Jason Hirsh. ``We needed a veteran pitcher,'' Garner said. ... Berkman is expected to be suspended for his actions following his ejection from Tuesday night's game against Colorado. Berkman was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a third strike. Afterward, he threw his batting glove and an equipment bag onto the field from the dugout. In the ninth inning, Berkman returned to the field when the benches emptied after Rockies pitcher Manny Corpas hit Astros outfielder Carlos Lee with a pitch. Berkman violated the rules by returning. ... Garner has an explanation for OF Lance Berkman's return to the dugout an inning after being ejected in the eighth inning for arguing a third strike ruling. ``I think he figured he'd left stuff he'd thrown on the field,'' Garner said. ``He went back to get it.''

COLORADO: The Rockies are convinced RHP Manny Corpas won't be disciplined after he hit Carlos Lee in the ninth inning Tuesday. ``He was trying to get a fastball inside,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ``Why would we hit him in a 2-1 game?'' ... Hurdle has been impressed with 3B Garrett Atkins after returning from a two-game benching. ``The guy is finding the ball with the barrel of his bat,'' Hurdle said. ... RHP Josh Fogg is due to come off the DL on Thursday and Hurdle said he would choose between Fogg, Jason Hirsh and Taylor Buchholz for two spots in the starting rotation.


LOS ANGELES: Manager Grady Little said Jason Schmidt came out of his start Tuesday night in good shape. Schmidt, sidelined since mid-April with bursitis in his right shoulder, held the Padres to one hit in six scoreless innings and retired 13 of his last 14 batters. ``He'll go through his work and be ready to go on Sunday,'' Little said. ... Closer Takashi Saito was due to throw off a mound during batting practice to test his strained hamstring. Little said Saito definitely wasn't going to be available Wednesday night. ... OF Marlon Anderson, on the DL with a sore right elbow, is scheduled to fly to Las Vegas on Thursday to begin a rehabilitation assignment.

SAN DIEGO: SS Khalil Greene sat out again due to a sore right elbow. He was going to try to swing in the indoor batting cage so manager Bud Black could determine whether he'd be available to pinch-hit. Black said he believes the injury is short-term. ... Pitcher David Wells showed why batting practice is one of his least-favorite baseball activities. He injured his left thumb when he was jammed on a pitch. He came walking through the dugout, threw down his bat and yelled, ``I think I just broke my hand.'' Later, he said he'd be OK, although his thumb was swollen. Hitting coach Merv Rettenmund said Wells is always hitting the ball off the end of the bat in batting practice.


SAN FRANCISCO: LF Barry Bonds was held out of the starting lineup for the second straight game because of shin splints. He has been taking prednisone again lately - often his practice in the past - to help lessen the inflammation in his shins. His knees, ankles and feet also have been hurting, and Bonds is wearing compression socks to help matters. ``I won't go on the DL,'' Bonds said. ``Don't count on seeing me on the DL - ever. I won't let myself. I will work hard. I will play through it.'' ... SS Omar Vizquel is still recovering from a sinus infection, but had more energy Wednesday. On Tuesday, he was spitting up phlegm.

ARIZONA: INF Chad Tracy, on the DL since May 16 with soreness in his left rib cage, went 1-for-4 in in an extended spring training game in Tucson. On Thursday, he is slated to play for Triple-A Tucson and could be activated soon. ``Maybe this weekend or when we go on the road,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ... Arizona's 4-3, 10-inning win Wednesday was the club's majors-best 16th one-run victory of the season in 22 tries. The Dodgers had 14 entering play Wednesday.

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Notes: Berkman faces suspension
MLB.com

DENVER -- Lance Berkman is facing a short suspension for returning to the field during Tuesday night's bench-clearing incident after he had been ejected from the game an inning earlier.

Bob Watson, MLB's vice president of on-field operations, said Berkman was in violation of a rule, and cited a similar incident in which Florida Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez received a one-game suspension recently. Watson is expected to issue a ruling on Berkman in the next day or two.

"Look it up," Watson said. "See what happened to the manager of the Florida Marlins."

Berkman was ejected after he was ruled out on a check-swing for the final out in the top of the eighth inning. When Carlos Lee was hit by a pitch thrown by Rockies reliever Manuel Corpas to begin the top of the ninth, both benches emptied. Berkman joined in, with his uniform top off and an ice pack taped around his lower back.

That could prove to be a regrettable decision, especially considering that Berkman's ejection was the result of a misunderstanding.

Berkman thought he had drawn a walk on a full-count pitch, but third-base umpire and crew chief Ed Rapuano called him out, saying Berkman's swing had gone too far. Berkman had taken a few steps up the first-base line when he realized he had been called out and looked at Rapuano and said, "No way."

At that point, Berkman thought Rapuano had thrown him out of the game with an arm gesture, but Rapuano said that wasn't the case. Berkman began making his way across the diamond to confront Rapuano, who said he ejected Berkman because he refused to heed warnings to stop.

"I didn't eject him until he had reached the pitcher's mound [moving toward third base]," Rapuano said. "I told him he couldn't come all the way across the field like that, and that he couldn't argue a ball-and-strike call. He needed to be going back to his position."

Berkman was upset enough to toss his batting gloves and a large equipment bag onto the field from the dugout after he had been ejected -- which could bring him additional penalties from Watson.

Rapuano also said Berkman was in the wrong for returning to the field after he had been thrown out.

"I don't know what the league's punishment is for that, but that is in clear violation of the rule,'' said Rapuano, who filed a report on the night's proceedings on Wednesday.

Astros manager Phil Garner said he hopes there will be no suspension for Berkman and tried to downplay his first baseman's snap with a little humor.

"He just cleared out the dugout a little,'' Garner said. "All that stuff was bothering us. He was just doing a little housekeeping.''

Nothing doing: Lee had little to say on the day after he took a suspicious-looking fastball in the upper left back from Corpas.

While Garner said Corpas definitely was throwing at Lee -- and got ejected for arguing that Corpas should have been thrown out -- Lee downplayed any issue between the two teammates on Panama's 2006 World Baseball Classic team.

"There's no history; I don't know him well at all,'' Lee said of Corpas. "It's OK. It's all right."

Corpas said he wants to make peace after what he called a sinker that slipped.

"He was mad. I don't know why,'' Corpas said. "We're from Panama, played on the same team in the World Classic. I want to talk [to Lee]. Not [Wednesday], maybe [Thursday], or in Houston."

Rapuano said he and his umpiring crew didn't think the pitch merited an ejection for Corpas.

"When it happened, it just looked like a pitch that got away," Rapuano said. "But then as [Lee] was walking up the first-base line, they started yelling at each other in Spanish. None of us understand Spanish, but it looked like there was something personal between those two.''

Double-switching: If you're wondering why there was no lineup double-switch when reliever Brad Lidge entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning on Tuesday, it's because Garner was too busy discussing Berkman's ejection with the umpires to call for the switch before Lidge toed the rubber and started throwing warmup pitches.

At that point, Lidge was considered to officially be in the game, and he had to remain in the same spot in the batting order as the man he replaced, No. 9 hitter Chad Qualls. The Astros tried to make the double-switch and put Morgan Ensberg -- Berkman's replacement -- in the No. 9 spot and Lidge in Berkman's No. 3 spot. But Rockies manager Clint Hurdle correctly noticed the discrepancy.

"That was a nice job on Clint's part," Garner said. "It was my fault. I should have told Brad to hold up for a minute and made the double-switch before he started warming up."

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 7

Crede goes on 15-day DL
June 6, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -- The Chicago White Sox placed Joe Crede on the 15-day disabled list because of lower back inflammation Wednesday and the third baseman could be headed for surgery.

Crede underwent an MRI on Tuesday and saw a back specialist in Chicago on Wednesday. He also plans to see specialists in Los Angeles and Texas before deciding on a course of treatment. He said the doctor in Chicago gave him two options: surgery or an epidural.

"He didn't give me a timetable on my return from (surgery)," Crede said. "He said he can do an epidural, too. I've had several of those in the past."

The 29-year-old Crede has a history of back problems, and it's been a nagging issue all season. After deciding not to have offseason surgery to repair two herniated discs, he is hitting .216 with four homers and 22 RBIs -- a steep drop from last year when he batted .283 with 30 homers and 94 RBIs.

"It's more nerve than it is a muscular problem," Crede said. "We want to control the inflammation that is pressing up against the nerves and causing the pain shooting down the legs."

The White Sox recalled third baseman Josh Fields from Triple-A Charlotte to replace Crede. A top prospect, Fields is batting .283 with 10 homers and 37 RBIs with Charlotte.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 7

Rockies activate Fogg, demote Ramirez
June 7, 2007

DENVER (AP) -The Colorado Rockies activated right-hander Josh Fogg from the disabled list Thursday.

The move was made prior to Colorado's game with the Houston Astros and allowed Fogg to make his 10th start of the season.

To make room for Fogg, the Rockies optioned right-hander Ramon Ramirez to Triple-A Colorado Springs. Ramirez was 2-1 with a 10.22 ERA in 15 appearances, all in relief.

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Twins' Mauer will be activated Friday
June 7, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Joe Mauer is headed back to the Minnesota Twins this weekend.

The Twins said Thursday that they plan to activate their catcher from the 15-day disabled list before Friday's game against the Washington Nationals. Mauer, last year's AL batting champion, missed 29 games because of a strained left quadriceps muscle. He was hitting .353 when the injury occurred.

Mauer played in a simulated game with minor leaguers on Tuesday and went 0-for-3 with a walk on Wednesday in a Florida State League game with Class-A Fort Myers, catching the whole game until being removed for a pinch runner in the ninth.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has said he'll consider moving Mauer to the second spot in the lineup. Michael Cuddyer, Justin Morneau and Torii Hunter have hit well in the third, fourth and fifth spots during Mauer's absence.

To make room on the roster, left-handed reliever Jason Miller will be optioned to Triple-A Rochester. After three scoreless appearances, Miller allowed eight runs while only getting one out against the Los Angeles Angels on Monday.

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Royals activate Soria, send Braun to Triple-A
June 7, 2007

CLEVELAND - The Kansas City Royals activated right-hander Joakim Soria from the 15-day disabled list on Thursday and optioned right-hander Ryan Braun to Triple-A Omaha.

Soria was placed on the DL on May 26 with shoulder inflammation. The move was retroactive to May 23. Soria felt soreness in the shoulder after saving a win over Cleveland on May 22. He is 1-2 with a 3.57 ERA and is 10-for-13 in save opportunities. Soria has appeared in 21 games.

Soria, claimed from San Diego in the Rule 5 Draft in December, will pitch primarily in the setup role because the Royals want to give right-hander Octavio Dotel, who has had elbow problems the past two seasons, a chance to close games. Dotel recorded his second save of the season Wednesday night against Cleveland. His save against Tampa Bay on June 1 was his first since May 16, 2005, while pitching for Oakland.

Braun had no record and a 7.24 ERA in 10 appearances.

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Blue Jays put Towers in rotation, designate Ohka for assignment
June 7, 2007

TORONTO (AP) -The Toronto Blue Jays inserted right-hander Josh Towers into the starting rotation on Thursday and designated righty Tomo Ohka for assignment.

``It wasn't working out so we'll make an adjustment,'' manager John Gibbons said.

Towers is 2-3 with a 5.15 ERA in 10 games this season. He went 1-3 in four April starts before being demoted to the bullpen.

``He's the logical choice,'' Gibbons said. ``He's been pitching good in that role out there.''

Towers, who's in the second year of a two-year, $5.2 million contract, will start in Ohka's place in San Francisco on Monday.

Ohka was 2-5 with a 5.79 ERA in 10 games, all starts. He allowed five runs on 10 hits in 3 1-3 innings against Tampa Bay on Wednesday, his shortest start of the season.

The move frees up a roster spot for catcher Gregg Zaun, who is scheduled to join the team in Los Angeles on Friday for the start of a three-game series against the Dodgers. Zaun has been on the disabled list since April 25 with a broken right thumb.

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Cardinals add right-handed reliever
June 7, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Cardinals added a seventh arm to the bullpen on Thursday, helping compensate for a rotation that includes four relievers not accustomed to going deep into games.

Right-hander Andy Cavazos was recalled from Triple-A Memphis, and infielder Brendan Ryan, hitless in four at_bats, was optioned back to Memphis. The 26-year-old Cavazos was 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA in 23 games with 28 strikeouts in 25 innings in the minors this year.

The bullpen has been the most consistent element for the defending World Series champions, going 10-2 with a 3.41 ERA. It had totaled 174 innings in 56 games, an average of more than three innings per game.

Only one starter, Brad Thompson, has pitched more than seven innings all season.

``If you just look at everybody's schedule, nobody has had to work a bunch of days in a row,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``We've got a deep bullpen but it'll catch up to us sooner rather than later, so we want to prevent that.''

The Cardinals are without ace Chris Carpenter, who had elbow surgery in May to remove bone chips in May and is not expected back until August. Thompson took Carpenter's spot in the rotation, and Todd Wellemeyer has made the first two starts of his career. Before this year, Looper has 572 career relief appearances and no starts.

``I think when somebody says find another starter, that's kind of unrealistic,'' La Russa said. ``Do you know how many teams are looking for starting pitching? Do you think there's somebody out there that's of real good quality that's available?''

The manager insisted he believes in his present starting five.

``My opinion is the guys we have right now are capable of giving us what we need,'' La Russa said.

Carpenter, the NL Cy Young Award winner in 2005, played catch on Wednesday for the first time since his operation and La Russa said the right-hander was ``fired up.''

``In everything he's been doing he hasn't had any setbacks and has felt pretty good,'' La Russa said. ``It would be a mistake to say he's ahead of schedule because he's not on a schedule yet, but it's a positive sign we're going to get him back.''

Mark Mulder threw off the mound on Tuesday for the first time since rotator cuff surgery last September. The team hopes he can return during the second half of the season.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 7

Mets put Chavez on DL and activate Valentin
June 7, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -The banged-up Mets placed outfielder Endy Chavez on the disabled list Thursday with a pulled left hamstring and activated second baseman Jose Valentin, who had been out since April with a knee injury.

Chavez had an MRI exam and said doctors told him he could miss four to six weeks while resting and rehabilitating the injury.

``It hurts,'' said Chavez, after gingerly walking to his locker before Thursday night's game against Philadelphia.

The 29-year-old had never been on the DL before.

``It's tough,'' he said. ``I don't know how to react. It's not fun.''

Chavez was injured Wednesday night running to first trying to beat out a double-play grounder in the seventh inning of New York's 4-2 loss to the Phillies.

The Mets now have three outfielders on the DL, with Chavez joining regular starters Moises Alou (left quad) and Shawn Green (right foot). Alou has been out since May 13 and Green's been down since May 28.

``We're a good team because we have a lot of character on this team,'' Mets manager Willie Randolph said. ``We've gone through ups and down, the adversity of all kinds of injuries. We've grown and it's made us stronger. It's an inevitable part of the season.''

There was hope Alou would be back in the lineup this week, but Randolph said the left fielder was still feeling the injury.

``I like to have the guy come to me and say, ``I'm ready to go,''' Randolph said.

Green hopes to play against the Detroit Tigers on Sunday, when he's eligible to come off the DL.

Chavez, normally the Mets' fourth outfielder and late-inning defensive replacement, has been playing regularly with Green and Alou sidelined. Chavez is hitting .292 with a home run, 13 RBIs and three stolen bases.

The Mets started rookie Carlos Gomez in right field and recent Triple-A callup Ben Johnson in left Thursday night, with Carlos Beltran in center.

Valentin (partially torn ligament in right knee) started at second base against the Phillies and batted seventh. He will have to wear a brace on his knee, which will need surgery after the season. The operation likely will cause him to miss about a month at the start of next season.

Valentin was hitting .279 with two homers and 13 RBIs when he got hurt.

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