MLB News and Notes June - 20

MLB News and Notes June - 20

OF Watson will join Nationals; Ayala and Bergmann due back from DL
June 19, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -The Washington Nationals will call up outfielder Brandon Watson from Triple-A Columbus, just days after he had a 43-game hitting streak snapped.

Watson will join the Nationals on Thursday. He will take the roster spot of first baseman Robert Fick, who left the team Tuesday after learning his mother, Gloria, had died of lung cancer.

General manager Jim Bowden also said he expects the team to get two of their injured pitchers Luis Ayala and Jason Bergmann back within the next week.

On Monday, manager Manny Acta said the team had not considered bringing up Watson. Bowden said the team did not want to create a roster spot for Watson, but a roster spot will become available when Fick is placed on the bereavement list Wednesday.

``We need to find out about him, and this is a small window of opportunity,'' Bowden said. ``It's unique circumstances that gives him a cup of coffee or a double Starbucks vanilla latte, whatever you want to call it.''

In 57 games with Triple-A Columbus this season, Watson hit .330 with no home runs and 14 RBIs. In 34 games with Washington in 2005 and 2006, he hit a combined .176 in 68 at_bats.

Fick dressed for batting practice before Tuesday's game against Detroit but left for his home in California before first pitch. The bereavement list requires him to miss between three and seven 7 days.

Ayala will be reinstated from the 60-day disabled list on Friday. The right-handed reliever, who is recovering from right elbow surgery, hasn't pitched for Washington since 2005, when he went 8-7 with a 2.66 ERA. He was 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in five minor league games.

Bergmann will come off the 15-day disabled list to start June 26 at Atlanta. The right-hander has been out since May 18 because of elbow inflammation. He is 1-3 with a 2.76 ERA in eight games.

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Royals place Sweeney on DL, recall former first-round pick
June 19, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Kansas City Royals designated hitter Mike Sweeney, hampered by a right knee injury, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday.

The move was retroactive to Monday,

Sweeney is batting .245 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs in 57 games. Manager Buddy Bell said Monday that he did not anticipate Sweeney starting during the interleague series in St. Louis - Sweeney has played only five games at first base this year.

Kansas City recalled Billy Butler, the team's first-round pick in the 2004 amateur draft, from Triple-A Omaha. The 21-year-old outfielder-first baseman is making his second appearance with the Royals this season, after hitting .243 with two doubles and four RBIs the first two weeks of May.

Butler batted .291 in 57 games at Omaha with 13 homers and 46 RBIs.

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Big Unit has herniated disk in his back
June 19, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) -Randy Johnson has a herniated disk in his surgically repaired back, raising questions about when he'll return to the Arizona Diamondbacks' rotation.

The club revealed the diagnosis Tuesday, one day after Johnson visited with Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles. Johnson went on the 15-day disabled list June 11 with a tight glute.

``He does have a bulge in there, a herniation,'' manager Bob Melvin said before the Diamondbacks played Tampa Bay on Tuesday night. ``Obviously not the news we want to hear, yet he thinks he is healthy enough to go ahead and prepare for his next start. When that is, we're obviously not sure.''

The 43-year-old left-hander had back surgery last October. The Diamondbacks acquired him in a trade with the New York Yankees in January, and he opened the season on the disabled list.

Johnson played catch in the outfield and was scheduled to speak to reporters after batting practice.

News of Johnson's latest back problem comes after he had won four consecutive decisions for the upstart Diamondbacks, who entered Tuesday 1 1/2 games behind San Diego in the NL West.

Johnson is 4-2 with a 3.52 ERA in nine starts, and he has 70 strikeouts and 11 walks in 53 2-3 innings. Melvin said it's unclear when Johnson's latest injury occurred.

``He's been pitching pretty well, and there's a good chance that he's been pitching some with this herniation in there,'' Melvin said. ``He's been a significant factor. Every time he takes the mound, he's a psychological advantage for us whether he pitches well or not.''

Melvin said Johnson seemed hopeful that he will be able to rejoin the team when he's eligible to come off the disabled list June 26. But Melvin said the team will wait until it sees how Johnson responds to throwing on the side the next two days.

``How he feels after that will dictate how we go about setting up his schedule,'' Melvin said. ``It's probably a stretch to get him ready for the 26th right now.''

The Diamondbacks have an off day Thursday, so they won't need to replace Johnson in the rotation for at least a week. Melvin said right-hander Edgar Gonzalez (3-2, 4.44 ERA) would be the leading candidate to take Johnson's turn down the line.

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Schmidt to have shoulder surgery Wednesday
June 19, 2007

TORONTO (AP) -Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander Jason Schmidt will have shoulder surgery in Los Angeles on Wednesday and his return date is uncertain.

``It's very discouraging,'' Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said before Tuesday's game in Toronto.

Right-hander Chad Billingsley (4-0) will start in Schmidt's place against Toronto on Thursday.

Schmidt, who signed a $47 million, three-year contract as a free agent during the offseason, was placed on the disabled list in April with bursitis in his shoulder after going 1-2 with a 7.36 ERA in three starts.

Following a 45-game absence, Schmidt returned June 5 and threw six shutout innings in San Diego, consistently reaching 89 mph and topping out at 91 mph.

But the 34-year-old right-hander didn't perform nearly as well in his last two starts, and his velocity was down. He allowed three runs and five hits in 4 2-3 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday, walking four and striking out two. He is 1-4 with a 6.31 ERA.

Schmidt admitted after Saturday's game that he was still not at full strength.

``I just haven't felt like myself,'' he said.

Schmidt was placed on the disabled list and utilityman Marlon Anderson was activated from the disabled list to take his place on the roster.

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Blue Jays place Burnett on 15-day DL
June 19, 2007

TORONTO (AP) -Right-hander A.J. Burnett was put on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday by the Toronto Blue Jays, who recalled right-hander Ty Taubenheim from Triple-A Syracuse.

Burnett, 5-6 with a 4.00 ERA in 14 starts this season, left his last start in San Francisco on June 12 because of pain in his shoulder. He felt pain again during a throwing session Sunday but was still able to play catch with pitching coach Brad Arnsberg before Tuesday's game against Los Angeles.

The move was retroactive to June 13. The Blue Jays hope Burnett will be ready to start at Minnesota on June 28, the day he's eligible to return.

General manager J.P. Ricciardi said Burnett could have made his scheduled start against Colorado on Saturday, but the team decided to ``err on the said of caution.'' Instead, Saturday's starter will be the 24-year-old Taubenheim, 3-5 with a 5.63 ERA in 11 starts at Syracuse.

``He's the hot hand right now,'' Ricciardi said. ``We're just going to go with the guy who's pitching the best.''

Taubenheim made seven starts for Toronto last year, going 1-5 with a 4.89 ERA.

``He pitched OK,'' manager John Gibbons said. We liked everything about him out there. We figured it was a matter of time this year before he came up and helped us out.''

Burnett, who had two stints on the disabled list last season, had been the only Toronto starter to take all his turns in the rotation this season. Josh Towers pitched in Burnett's place against Washington on Sunday.

Twelve Toronto players have spent time on the disabled list this season, including ace Roy Halladay, who missed 18 games following an appendectomy. Left-hander Gustavo Chacin (sore shoulder) and right-handers John Thomson (sore shoulder) and Victor Zambrano (forearm strain) have also missed significant time.

Closer B.J. Ryan is out for the season after reconstructive elbow surgery.

``We've been tested a little,'' Gibbons said.

The 30-year-old Burnett signed a $55 million, five-year dollar contract with Toronto before the 2006 season, then went 10-8 with a 3.98 ERA in 21 starts. He started the 2006 season on the DL because of scar tissue in his right elbow from a previous operation and made just two starts before going back on the DL for two months, returning June 22.

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Cardinals move Wells to bullpen
June 19, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -The St. Louis Cardinals scratched pitcher Kip Wells from his scheduled start on Tuesday, giving the right-hander the news about three hours before a game against the Kansas City Royals.

Brad Thompson and Todd Wellemeyer, who had been listed to pitch on Wednesday and Thursday, each were moved up a day. Wells, 2-11 with a 6.93 ERA, will work out of the bullpen the next few days and is set to start on Sunday against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Thompson threw two scoreless innings of relief and about 40 pitches on Saturday at Oakland, four days after allowing eight runs and 10 hits in 4 1-3 innings at Kansas City.

Wells leads the major leagues in losses and lasted only 1 1-3 innings in his last start at Kansas City, giving up six runs, three hits and four walks. Wells, who signed a $4 million, one-year contract as a free agent during the offseason, appeared to have gotten a reprieve from bullpen duty when Braden Looper was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a shoulder strain on Monday.

Manager Tony La Russa informed both Thompson and Wellemeyer of the possible change in the rotation after Monday's 5-3 loss to the Royals, but didn't see Wells in the clubhouse. Wells, apparently after checking the lineup card, stuck his head in La Russa's office and beckoned with his finger while the manager was meeting with reporters.

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Notes from Tuesday's games
June 19, 2007

DETROIT: Manager Jim Leyland will give RHP Justin Verlander an extra day of rest this week to set the starting rotation to his liking. Verlander will pitch Saturday at Atlanta, a day after LHP Kenny Rogers' return from the disabled list. Leyland was determined to slot Rogers between RHP Jeremy Bonderman and Verlander. LHP Andrew Miller will start Sunday. ... LHP Nate Robertson, who is on the 15-day DL with a tired arm, will be assigned to Double-A Erie to make a rehabilitation start Thursday. He will likely be limited to approximately 75 pitches. ... More than 20 members of the organization, including 6 players, visited Capitol Hill for a luncheon hosted by U.S. Reps. Mike Rogers and John Dingell. Rogers and Dingell presented team members with a copy of a Congressional resolution they have introduced highlighting the team's numerous accomplishments, including winning the 2006 American League championship.


WASHINGTON: OF Brandon Watson will join the team Wednesday, two days after his International League-record 43-game hit streak ended. Watson will see playing time after 1B Robert Fick left the team Tuesday following the death of his mother, Gloria, from lung cancer. Watson will take OF Alex Escobar's roster spot following Escobar's move from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. Watson hit .330 with no home runs and 14 RBIs in 57 games with Triple-A Columbus this season, but only a combined .176 in 68 at_bats with Washington in 2005 and 2006. ... RHP Luis Ayala will be activated from the 60-day disabled list Friday. Ayala hasn't pitched for Washington since 2005 because of right elbow surgery. ... RHP Jason Bergmann will come off the 15-day disabled list Tuesday to start at Atlanta. Bergmann, who has been sidelined with right elbow inflammation, is 1-3 with a 2.76 ERA in eight games.


PHILADELPHIA: OF Pat Burrell was back in the lineup Tuesday as the DH after not starting the last two games. He's batting .156 (10-for-64) with three homers and 10 RBIs against LHPs, but manager Charlie Manuel isn't concerned. ``I think Pat can hit left-handers,'' he said. ``He's hit them in the past and has been dangerous against them.'' Entering the season, Burrell was batting .280 with 54 homers and 152 RBIs against lefties. The Indians are starting LHPs Cliff Lee, Jason Stanford and C.C. Sabathia in the series. ... OF Aaron Rowand leads NL center fielders in hits (82), batting average (.322), runs (45), on-base percentage (.397), slugging percentage (.502) and total bases (128). ... 1B Ryan Howard, who was the DH on Monday, was back in the field Tuesday. ... RHP Tom Gordon (strained rotator cuff) threw 32 pitches in a bullpen session Monday at the Phillies spring training facility in Clearwater, Fla. ... RHP Brett Myers (shoulder strain) is expected to start a minor league rehab assignment within the next week.

CLEVELAND: RHP Jake Westbrook (left abdominal strain) will start Sunday at Washington. He hasn't pitched for the Indians since May 2. A roster move will have to be made when Westbrook returns. LHPs Jason Stanford, who started Tuesday night, and Rafael Perez, who has been pitching out of the bullpen, are the most vulnerable. ... A night after seeing his major league-high 26-game hitting streak stopped, 3B Casey Blake wasn't in the lineup Tuesday. He batted .317 (33-for-104) with seven homers and 18 RBIs during the streak. Mike Rouse started at third base. ... OF Grady Sizemore stole his 22nd base of the season Monday, which already equals his career high set in 2005 and 2006. He's only been caught twice, after being thrown out a combined 16 times the last two seasons. ... 2B Josh Barfield, who is hitting .355 in June, batted second for the first time this season Monday. ``He did a real good job (Monday) night for us,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ``He's been pretty consistent lately for us.''


LOS ANGELES: RHP Jason Schmidt will undergo shoulder surgery in Los Angeles on Wednesday and his return date is uncertain. Schmidt, who missed 45 games earlier this season with bursitis, was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday after being hit hard in his past two starts. ... OF Marlon Anderson, activated from the DL to take Schmidt's spot on the roster, started as DH for Tuesday's game in Toronto. ... RHP Yhency Brazoban will have surgery Friday to repair a torn labrum and will be sidelined indefinitely. ... IF James Loney, who injured his right knee Sunday when he ran into a wall, was held out of the lineup Tuesday. Manager Grady Little said Loney was ``probable'' for Wednesday's game.

TORONTO: RHP A.J. Burnett (sore shoulder) was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, retroactive to June 13. Burnett (5-6, 4.00) left his start at San Francisco last Tuesday after 4 2-3 innings with a sore shoulder. He had been the only Toronto starter not to miss a turn so far this season. RHP Ty Taubenheim was recalled from Triple-A Syracuse and will start in Burnett's place against Colorado on Saturday. ... C Gregg Zaun batted in the second spot for the second time this season when OF Vernon Wells moved down to the third spot. Manager John Gibbons said he was more comfortable using Zaun in hit-and-run situations. ``He's a very disciplined hitter,'' Gibbons said. ... Gibbons spoke on the phone Monday with OF Reed Johnson (herniated disk), who is working his way back at extended spring training in Florida. Johnson hopes to return following the All-Star break, but his rehab has been slowed by soreness in his legs.


MINNESOTA: SS Jason Bartlett entered with 13 errors, but manager Ron Gardenhire said he's pleased with the way Bartlett has been working on his defense. ... RF Michael Cuddyer extended his hitting streak to 10 games with an RBI infield single in the fifth. ... The Twins scored nine runs in the first five innings, a rare offensive outburst on the road. Coming in, they had scored only 135 runs away from home, the second-lowest total in the AL to Kansas City's 129.

NEW YORK: 2B Damion Easley was back in the lineup after sitting out four games, partly because of a sore right knee. Mets manager Willie Randolph said Easley's knee was feeling better. Easley entered 0-for-5 against Twins LHP Johan Santana, but regular 2B Jose Valentin was 1-for-19. Easley filled in nicely while Valentin was out with a knee injury of his own, and switch-hitter Ruben Gotay has done a good job in spot duty, so Randolph said he'll try to find playing time for all three. ``We'll just play with it a little bit ... and try to give everybody a shot,'' Randolph said. ... Minnesota is the fourth of six consecutive 2006 playoff teams on the Mets' schedule. After visiting Detroit, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Yankees, the Mets host Minnesota, Oakland and St. Louis. New York began the night 3-7 during that stretch.


KANSAS CITY: C John Buck has a career-best with 13 home runs less than halfway into the season. He hit 11 last year, and 12 the previous two seasons. ``From the first day of spring training he had a little different approach, more of a power approach, and it's paying off for him,'' manager Buddy Bell said. ... 3B Alex Gordon made the defensive play of the game on Monday when he leaped to glove So Taguchi's high chopper and then made a strong, on-target throw in the third inning. ``I haven't seen a play like that in a long time,'' said Bell, a former third baseman. ``You've got to be pretty doggone good. That's not a lucky play.''

ST. LOUIS: 2B Adam Kennedy was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game, with utilityman Scott Spiezio supplanting him the last two games. Manager Tony La Russa said he plans on starting Kennedy, who signed a three-year, $10 million free agent deal but is batting .211 with 12 RBIs in 175 at_bats, on Thursday in the final game of a three-game series against the Royals. ... RHP Chris Carpenter, rehabbing from surgery to remove bone spurs in his elbow in May, is scheduled to throw in the bullpen for the second time on Wednesday. ... RF Juan Encarnacion entered the night with an 18-game hitting streak, longest for the team this season and one off his career best, despite still having problems with his surgically repaired left wrist. ... La Russa didn't seem concerned that the Brewers' Prince Fielder had moved ahead of Albert Pujols in balloting for the NL All-Star starter at first base. ``We've been on the road,'' La Russa said. ``It wouldn't surprise me next week for Albert to jump Prince.''


FLORIDA: RHP Josh Johnson, who was activated from the disabled list (irritated nerve in his elbow) before his first start of the season on Monday, didn't feel any abnormal pain the day after. ``That's big. I'm sure he is going to (feel) the normal soreness after he pitches, like most guys get,'' Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said. Johnson, who took the loss, pitched 3 2-3 innings, giving up nine hits and eight runs - four earned. ... RHP Logan Kensing, who is coming off Tommy John Surgery, threw an inning in an extended spring game Tuesday and will likely pitch again Wednesday. ... Gonzalez said before the game, that OF Jeremy Hermida, who is out of the lineup on Tuesday, wasn't being penalized after misplaying a fly ball in the fourth inning. Gonzalez favored to go with Brett Carroll, a right-handed hitter, against White Sox LHP John Danks. The Marlins lead the majors in errors with 64. ... 1B Mike Jacobs was 1-for-4 with an RBI-single in Monday's rehab assignment with Class-A Jupiter. Jacobs is out with a fractured right thumb.

CHICAGO: DH Jim Thome was out of the lineup with a stiff back. Thome had homered Monday night against the Marlins. Thome's back first got sore after he made a rare start at first base in an interleague game against the Phillies last week. He is day-to-day. ``We'll see how he feels. You have to be patient. I would rather be careful with him for the next couple of days then miss him for the next 15 or 20 days,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. Earlier this season, Thome had an extended stint on the disabled list with a rib cage injury. ... RF Jermaine Dye, who left Monday's game in the fourth inning with a sore quadriceps after making two sliding catches, was back in the lineup Tuesday. ``It's not painful right now,'' Dye said before the game ... The White Sox have five players on the disabled list, keeping trainer Herm Schneider busy. ``I went to the training room today and started laughing. I told Hermie you should be paid more money than me,'' Guillen said. ``You have more people there than I have in the lineup. We have people laying on tables.''


CHICAGO: Manager Lou Piniella used Cliff Floyd at DH on Tuesday night for the first of the three-game series against Texas, and Piniella said he would ``mix and match'' at the position for the final two games. Piniella said he would consider using first basemen Daryle Ward and Derrek Lee at DH over the next two games. ... 3B Aramis Ramirez, on the DL since June 7 with left patellar tendinitis, went through batting practice and took infield before Tuesday's game. Ramirez is on schedule to be activated on Friday. ... Piniella and the coaches are checking out the possibility that LHP Rich Hill has been tipping his pitches. ``We're definitely looking into it,'' Piniella said.

TEXAS: The Rangers have altered their starting rotation this weekend against Houston to keep RHP Kevin Millwood on his regular routine. RHP Jamey Wright will be moved back from Friday night to Saturday afternoon, allowing Millwood to pitch on his normal fifth day. Millwood is coming off a 10-strikeout performance Sunday in Cincinnati that was his first victory in eight starts. ... 2B Ian Kinsler had 13 errors in his first 65 games this season, after 18 errors in 119 games as a rookie. Before Tuesday's game, Kinsler got extra fielding drills with manager Ron Washington. Washington expects those sessions to become more frequent. ``We just want him to know that he has a lot to offer this team. We just don't want him to lose that,'' he said. ... RHP Michael Main, taken by Texas with the 24th pick of the amateur draft, agreed to a minor league contract with a $1.2 million signing bonus.


HOUSTON: Manager Phil Garner has witnessed several historic milestones during his 13 full seasons as a big league player and 15 more as a manager - most notably Robin Yount's 3,000th hit and Nolan Ryan's 4,000th strikeout. Astros OF Orlando Palmeiro was with the Angels the night that Cal Ripken Jr. broke Lou Gehrig's consecutive game playing streak in Baltimore. Palmeiro and his teammates are eagerly counting down the 10 hits Craig Biggio needs to join the 3,000th-hit club. ``For me, I don't think it will rank with Ripken. But on the other hand, Ripken wasn't a teammate, so I'll be happier for Craig when he does it,'' Palmeiro said. ``It's unbelievable, watching him get ready for every game. You've got to grind to play this game, and he grinds pretty hard. Obviously, at his age (41), it's amazing how he goes after it every day. To see him go after 3,000 hits these last four years, you've got to have some respect for it because it's not easy.''

LOS ANGELES:
Manager Mike Scioscia was 16 years old and living in Morton, Pa., about seven miles outside of Philadelphia when his beloved Flyers won their last Stanley Cup title in 1975. Now, 32 years later, Scioscia got his first chance to hold the Cup when the world champion Anaheim Ducks brought it down the road from the other side of Katella Avenue to Angel Stadium for a pregame salute. The Flyers finished dead-last in the NHL standings this season. ``It stings a little. But if the Flyers couldn't do it, it obviously thrills us that it happened right next door,'' said Scioscia, who attended the Ducks' Cup clincher. ``I'm pumped because it's the same Cup that I saw the Flyers win a couple of times. And when they won those two Cups, there was dancing in the streets. I never got to touch the Cup or get real close to it before, so this is a thrill for me.''


BOSTON: SS Julio Lugo already was struggling enough, coming into the night hitting just .205. The Red Sox didn't want to make matters worse, so Alex Cora got the start against Tim Hudson. Lugo was 0-for-10 in his career vs. Hudson. ``I think he really wanted to play and I'm kind of glad he did,'' manager Terry Francona said of Lugo. ``I said, 'I'm not giving up on you. Don't panic. Let Cora take your at_bats.''' ... Braves OF Willie Harris didn't do much with the Red Sox last season, but he's quickly become an integral part of the Braves lineup. ``I'm so glad for him,'' Francona said. ``He's a good kid. I'm really happy he's having success.''

ATLANTA: Jarrod Saltalamacchia is still learning his way around first base, which shouldn't be surprising. He hasn't played the position with any regularity since his sophomore year of high school. ``In baseball terms, it is a long time,'' the 22-year-old catcher said. ``There wasn't really too much I could remember.'' Saltalamacchia has started two games at first, making an error in his first appearance. But he isn't complaining - especially if it gets him onto the field. Saltalamacchia was off to an impressive start at the plate, hitting .324 with two homers and eight RBIs in his first 24 games. ... RHP Peter Moylan is quietly putting together an impressive season. Working in long and middle relief, the Aussie right-hander led all NL rookies with a 2.21 ERA and had allowed opponents to hit just .194 after two-thirds of an inning against Boston in the series opener.


MILWAUKEE: SS J.J. Hardy was a late scratch from the starting lineup with left hip tightness. He was replaced in the lineup by INF Craig Counsell. ... Pitchers Chris Capuano and Jeff Suppan, along with OF Bill Hall and Hardy will make their acting debuts in ``The Young and the Restless'' Wednesday. The show was taped during the Brewers recent trip to Los Angeles. ``I am not saying baseball is easy, but I felt more comfortable on the baseball field than acting,'' Suppan said. ... OF Corey Hart made his 15th start in the leadoff position Tuesday as 2B Rickie Weeks, who started the season as the leadoff hitter, batted eighth for the second straight game since coming off the disabled list. In his first 14 games as a leadoff hitter, Hart hit .345 with 6 home runs, 13 RBIs, seven stolen bases and scored 13 runs.

SAN FRANCISCO: Manager Bruce Bochy said OF Barry Bonds will not start Wednesday's day game against the Brewers, even though the Giants have an off day Thursday before opening a weekend series in San Francisco against the New York Yankees. ... INF Rich Aurilia, placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday, returned to San Francisco on Tuesday to have his ailing neck examined by local doctors. ... C Eliezer Alfonzo, who suffered a left knee sprain June 8 in a collision at home plate, underwent arthroscopic surgery Tuesday in Cincinnati. ... C Guillermo Rodriquez made his second Major League start Tuesday. The Giants purchased Rodriquez's contract from Triple A Fresno June 8, the first time in his 12-year professional baseball career that he played in the major leagues.

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Astros put Lidge on DL
June 20, 2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -The Houston Astros placed closer Brad Lidge on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday night because of a pulled oblique muscle in his left side.

``It's definitely frustrating,'' said Lidge, who only recently had been put back into the closer role after losing it to Dan Wheeler. ``I finally found my way back to where things were going real good, and I'm just hoping that we can get this thing done as soon as possible. I was trying to get through it and trying to throw with it, but it was getting worse every day and starting to bark real bad. So it made no sense for us to keep doing this. I'm disappointed.''

The move was retroactive to June 16 and made after the Astros beat the Angels 9-5.

Lidge set an NL single-season record for strikeouts by a reliever in 2004 with 157 and pitched in his first All-Star game the following year. But last year he struggled mightily, with an ERA of 5.28.

This season he is 2-1 with a 2.34 ERA, but has blown all three save opportunities. In 27 games since April 22, the right-hander has allowed three earned runs over 29 1-3 innings.

``There's no question that if he kept trying to get through this, it would be lingering,'' manager Phil Garner said. ``I've never seen an oblique get better with a guy trying to play on it and nurse it. It's been bothering him for several days, so he needs to shut down, and it'll be a while here where he won't do any throwing activity.''

The Astros purchased the contract of left-hander Stephen Randolph from Triple-A Round Rock to fill Lidge's spot on the 25-man roster.

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Giants: Bonds set to rest Wednesday

Barry Bonds will not start Wednesday's day game against the Brewers, even though the Giants have an off day Thursday, Bruce Bochy told the AP.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 20

Baseball Today - June 20
Wed, Jun 20, 2007
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Detroit at Washington (7:05 p.m. EDT). Jeremy Bonderman looks to improve to 8-0 for the Tigers.

STARS Tuesday

-Johan Santana, Twins, pitched a complete-game, four-hitter and Minnesota routed the New York Mets 9-0.

-Chris Young, Diamondbacks, hit a game-ending homer in the 10th inning to help Arizona rally past Tampa Bay 10-8.

-Josh Beckett, Red Sox, threw six scoreless innings and hit an RBI double in Boston's 4-0 win over Atlanta.

-Dan Uggla, Marlins, hit a go-ahead home run in the ninth inning to lift Florida over the Chicago White Sox 7-5.

-Ryan Howard, Phillies, drove in four runs to help Philadelphia defeat Cleveland 9-6.

CAPITOL PUNISHMENT

Detroit pounded out 17 hits in a 15-1 rout of Washington on Tuesday. Sean Casey continued his dominance of the Washington/Montreal franchise, going 2-for-5 with a walk, driving in a season-high four runs and hitting his first home run of the season. The 15 runs and 17 hits were the most allowed by the Nationals this season. The Tigers have scored at least 10 runs six times in 17 June games.

SWEET HOMECOMING

Russell Martin homered in his first major league game in his native Canada to help the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Toronto 10-1 on Tuesday. Martin, who was born in Toronto but grew up in Chelsea, Quebec, hit a solo home run, his eighth of the season, to left in the sixth inning off reliever Lee Gronkiewicz.

SPARKLING SHEETS

Ben Sheets pitched his 13th career complete game in Milwaukee's 6-2 victory over San Francisco on Tuesday. Sheets (8-3), who walked one and gave up six hits, has allowed three runs or less in 12 straight starts. The right-hander struck out four and threw 81 of his 118 pitches for strikes

SHORT NOTICE

First-year starter Brad Thompson worked seven strong innings a day ahead of schedule and three days after a two-inning relief stint, leading the pitching-starved St. Louis Cardinals to a 5-1 victory over the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday. Thompson started in place of Kip Wells, who was told three hours before the game that he was being sent to the bullpen.

SNAPPED

Juan Encarnacion had his 18-game hitting streak snapped in St. Louis' 5-1 win over Kansas City on Tuesday. ... Arizona topped Tampa Bay 10-8 in 10 innings to earn their first win in eight tries against their 1998 expansion partners. ... Ty Wigginton extended his career-best hit streak to 13 games for Tampa Bay in the loss.

SPEAKING

''I think he's trying to hide right now. Believe me, tomorrow it's going to happen. ... Hopefully by game time he'll be bald.'' - Minnesota ace Johan Santana, on Twins broadcaster and former big league pitcher Bert Blyleven declaring before the game that he'd shave his own head if Santana threw a shutout on Tuesday. Santana pitched a complete-game shutout to lead the Twins past the New York Mets 9-0.

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Rejuvenated Johan Santana and the Twins Blank Mets, 4-0
Wednesday, June 20th, 2007

Is this the turnaround moment Johan Santana - and those who put money on him - have been waiting for?

The reigning American League Cy Young Award winner has not looked himself this season, as his record attests, but he was on his game Tuesday night, throwing a four-hit shutout as the Minnesota Twins blanked the New York Mets, 4-0, at Shea Stadium.

Santana entered the season as one of the surest bets in sports, but his rough start has cost the Twins wins and baseball gamblers lots of cash. He was as sharp as ever in New York, however. Santana (7-6) induced nine groundouts and 17 flyball outs while throwing just 92 pitches, 57 for strikes. He had only one strikeout as he worked his sixth complete game and fourth career shutout.

Minnesota paid -150 on the moneyline (meaning a winning bet of $150 would yield a $100 profit) for the interleague victory.

Jeff Cirillo went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored while Michael Cuddyer drove in a pair of runs for the Twins, who have won two of their last three.

Jorge Sosa (6-3) was drilled for seven runs - five earned - on eight hits in just 3.1 innings, his shortest of the season for the Mets, who have dropped 12 of their last 15 games.

In other interleague games on Tuesday:

Philadelphia 9, Cleveland 6: Ryan Howard had three hits, including a towering solo homer, and tied a season-high with four RBIs to power the visiting Phillies to an upset victory at Jacobs Field. Howard added an RBI single and a two-run double to go along with a mammoth home run that traveled an estimated 451 feet in the third inning. Chase Utley added a two-run single, and Pat Burrell a two-run double, as the offensive outburst helped young righthander Kyle Kendrick to his first major-league win. Kendrick (1-0) allowed three runs on five hits, walked a batter and struck out one over six innings for Philadelphia, which paid +155.

Detroit 15, Washington 1: Sean Casey blasted a three-run homer to pace a 17-hit attack as the visiting Tigers romped to a victory that paid their backers -150 straight up. Brandon Inge was 2-for-4 with a three-run double as Detroit moved into a tie atop the AL Central with Cleveland.

Los Angeles Dodgers 10, Toronto 1: Canadian Russell Martin had a homecoming to savor, finishing 2-for-4 with a solo homer and two RBIs to lead the Dodgers in Toronto, where they were -121 favorites. Brad Penny (9-1) continued to showcase for the starting honor in the All-Star Game, pitching seven innings of one-run, six-hit ball with five strikeouts and one walk. He lowered his earned run average to 2.12 and is unbeaten in six starts since a May 18 loss to the Angels.

Boston 4, Atlanta 0: Josh Beckett scattered four hits over six shutout innings as the Red Sox won at Turner Field. Beckett (10-1) added an RBI double to aid his cause, and became the second starter in the majors to reach double-digits in wins. The crafty righthander bounced back from his first loss of the season as the Red Sox paid -130 on the moneyline.

Florida 7, Chicago White Sox 5: Dan Uggla hit a go-ahead solo home run in the ninth inning as the visiting Marlins won as -114 favorites. Uggla finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs and two runs scored while Hanley Ramirez hit a solo home run, drove in two and scored twice for Florida. Dontrelle Willis got the start, but left after the first inning with a left forearm strain. He was charged with four runs on three hits with three walks. Armando Benitez (1-3) got the win for pitching a perfect eighth.

St. Louis 5, Kansas City 1: Chris Duncan homered and Brad Thompson pitched seven solid innings as the Cardinals won at Busch Stadium. Thompson (5-2) started in place of Kip Wells, who was originally scheduled to start, but was moved from his spot in the rotation. Because of the late change in starters, all betting action was voided. Thompson allowed just one run on seven hits, while walking none and striking out three.

Chicago Cubs 5, Texas 4: Derrek Lee drove in the winning run and the visiting Cubs’ bullpen was perfect over the final five innings, rewarding their backers with a -118 payday. Sean Marshall started for Chicago and allowed four runs on five hits through four-plus innings. Carlos Marmol (2-0), Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster who held the Rangers scoreless thereafter.

Colorado 3, New York Yankees 1: Josh Fogg threw seven sterling innings and Yorvit Torrealba homered as the Rockies won at Coors Field, upsetting the Yankees. Fogg (3-5) allowed just one run on four hits for Colorado, a +165 underdog despite entering the game having won four of five. The Rockies are now an impressive 18-7 since May 22.

Arizona 10, Tampa Bay 8: Chris Young’s two-run homer in the bottom of the 10th inning capped a late rally and sent the Diamondbacks to victory in Phoenix, where they were -127 favorites. Al Reyes (1-1), who served up the home run, took the loss and the blown save. He allowed four runs in 1.1 innings of relief, including two homers.

Cincinnati 5, Oakland 2: Ken Griffey Jr. hit the 582nd home run of his career and rookie sensation Homer Bailey pitched seven strong innings to lift the Reds to a victory at Oakland. Griffey also notched RBI No. 1,652, tying him with Tony Perez for 18th place on the all-time list. While Griffey added to a career of excellence, Bailey (2-0) is just beginning his. The righthander gave up only one run on two hits with four walks and three strikeouts over seven innings, surrendering his first hit in the bottom of the fifth. The Reds paid +170.

Houston 9, Los Angeles Angels 5: Carlos Lee homered and knocked in four runs while Hunter Pence had three hits including a tie-breaking two-run homer to lead the Astros, +150 road underdogs. Craig Biggio logged two hits, bringing his career total to 2,992. He needs eight more to become the 27th player in history to record 3,000 hits. Angels starter Bartolo Colon (6-3) struggled, going six frames, surrendering seven runs on 11 hits, while walking three and striking out three.

Pittsburgh 5, Seattle 3: Tom Gorzelanny (7-4) twirled seven strong innings and Ryan Doumit recorded two RBIs to lead the Pirates at Safeco Field, where they were +125 underdogs. Ichiro Suzuki finished 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to 14 games for the Mariners, who suffered their sixth straight loss.

San Diego 12, Baltimore 6: Khalil Greene drove in three runs, and his two-run bloop single capped a six-run sixth inning, carrying the Padres to a win over Baltimore in Dave Trembley’s first game as manager of the Orioles. Jake Peavy (9-1) continued his impressive stretch, allowing six hits and three runs - two earned - while walking a pair and striking out seven to win his sixth consecutive decision. San Diego was a -245 home favorite. The Orioles, who have lost a season-high nine in a row, continued to struggle even with Trembley as the interim manager. He was elevated from bullpen coach to replace the fired Sam Perlozzo, but may not remain as the skipper for long because the team is conducting a search for a full-time dugout boss.

In the lone National League game on Tuesday:

Milwaukee 6, San Francisco 2: Ben Sheets (8-3) threw 81 of his 118 pitches for strikes as he allowed six hits in his 13th career complete game to lead the Brewers to a home win. Milwaukee paid -163 as it extended the Giants’ losing streak to six.

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Re: MLB News and Notes June - 20

Indians: Dellucci to the DL

David Dellucci will be placed on the disabled list by the Indians after the outfielder injured his left knee while diving into first base during the fourth inning of a loss to the Phillies on Tuesday. "It's a DL situation," manager Eric Wedge told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "The only question is how extreme it is."

Cubs: Barrett dealt to Padres

ESPN.com is reporting that the Cubs have traded catcher Michael Barrett to the Padres in exchange for catcher Rob Bowen, a minor league pitcher, and cash considerations.

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Cubs send Barrett to Padres
June 20th, 2007

San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - The San Diego Padres have reportedly acquired catcher Michael Barrett from the Chicago Cubs.

The San Diego Union Tribune reports that the Padres acquired Barrett and cash in exchange for catcher Rob Bowen and Single-A outfielder Kyler Burke.

Barrett is hitting .256 with nine homers and 29 RBI in 57 games this season with Chicago. He apparently fell out of favor with the club after a fight with ace Carlos Zambrano that left Barrett with a cut lip that needed stitches.

Bowen is hitting 268 with two homers and 11 RBI in 30 games.

Burke was hitting just .211 with one homer and 21 RBI in 62 games with the Fort Wayne Wizards.

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Schilling says MRI exam shows shoulder normal
June 20, 2007

BOSTON (AP) -Curt Schilling's right shoulder was normal, according to an MRI exam, but the Boston Red Sox likely won't take his next turn in the rotation following a cortisone shot.

``I had an injection yesterday, so I'm giving it a couple of days here to see how it plays out,'' Schilling told WEEI-AM on Wednesday. ``The best case is that I'll be pitching on Sunday ... but that doesn't seem like that's going to be the case.''

The 40-year-old right-hander was sent back to Boston from Atlanta on Tuesday for an exam after he got roughed up in his last two starts.

Schilling nearly pitched a no-hitter at Oakland on June 7, giving up a two-out single to Shannon Stewart in the ninth inning. But he allowed 11 earned runs and 19 hits in 9 1-3 innings in his next two starts.

On Monday, Schilling, 14th on the career strikeout list with 3,086, failed to fan a batter - the first time that's happened in one of his starts since 1993.

``I have not felt right this year,'' Schilling said, adding he believes the problem may be tendinitis.

``Pain is a relative term. There's been a lot of this year trying to discern what's because I'm 40 or what's because I don't feel good,'' he said.

Team spokesman John Blake confirmed the MRI showed no structural damage but he said he didn't know about tendinitis. He said doctors planned to meet with manager Terry Francona and general manager Theo Epstein later Wednesday.

``His start for Sunday is in jeopardy at this point, but we have not made a final determination,'' Blake said.

Schilling tore his labrum while playing for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1995. He said when that happened, he went from throwing 95 mph in one inning to 80 mph in the next. He felt fine during that game but woke up in pain.

He said the recent problems were ``eerily similar'' in that he was throwing only 82 mph, but the difference this time was he did not wake up hurting.

``We're going to tread lightly here,'' he said.

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Hernandez cut by Indians
June 20, 2007

CLEVELAND (AP) -The Cleveland Indians cut right-hander Roberto Hernandez on Wednesday, placed outfielder David Dellucci on the 15-day disabled list and recalled outfielder Ben Francisco and right-hander Edward Mujica from Triple-A Buffalo.

The 42-year-old Hernandez, whose 326 saves are 11th on the career list, was designated for assignment. Cleveland has 10 days to trade him or place him on waivers.

He went 3-1 with 6.23 ERA in 28 games after signing a $3.5 million, one-year contract as a free agent in December. He was hit hard Tuesday night in one inning against Philadelphia, allowing three runs, three hits and two walks.

Hernandez has pitched for nine major league teams since being called up in 1991 by the Chicago White Sox. He has a 67-69 record and a 3.39 ERA.

Cleveland is responsible for the remainder of his $3.3 million salary this year and a $200,000 buyout of a $3.7 million team option for 2008.

Dellucci was hurt running out a ground ball in the fourth inning Tuesday night. Signed to a three-year contract as a free agent on Dec. 6, he is hitting .234 (41-for-175) with four homers and 20 RBIs in 54 games. This is his fifth career stint on the DL, but first since 2003.

The 25-year-old Francisco hit .329 (79-for-240) with six homers, 34 RBIs and 15 stolen bases at Buffalo. He was with the Indians from May 1-3 and made his big league debut May 1 as a defensive replacement, but has not had an at bat in the majors.

Mujica, 23, was 0-1 with 11 saves and a 6.35 ERA in 22 relief appearances at Buffalo. In 12 games the past two seasons for Cleveland, he is 0-1 with a 3.22 ERA.

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Ledezma dealt to Atlanta for McBride
June 20, 2007

ATLANTA (AP) -Wilfredo Ledezma was acquired by the Atlanta Braves from the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday for Macay McBride in a swap of left-handed pitchers.

Ledezma is 3-1 with a 4.79 ERA in 23 games out of the bullpen this year. The 26-year-old went 15-18 with a 5.15 ERA in 33 starts and 73 relief appearances during five seasons with the Tigers.

The 24-year-old McBride, selected by the Braves in the first-round of the 2001 amateur draft, was 1-0 with a 3.60 ERA in 18 relief appearances with Atlanta this season. He also went 1-2 with a 3.13 ERA in five starts and two relief appearances for Triple-A Richmond.

McBride first came up to the Braves in 2005 and has gone 6-1 with a 3.99 ERA in 112 games, holding left-handed hitters to a .176 average (28-for-159).

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A's activate Bradley
June 20, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Milton Bradley was activated Wednesday from his third stint on the disabled list this season, back in the starting lineup at right field for the Oakland Athletics.

The A's made roster room by optioning infielder J.J. Furmaniak to Triple-A Sacramento. Bradley thought he should have come off the DL a few days earlier, but the A's were waiting to see how six-time Gold Glove third baseman Eric Chavez recovered from soreness around his left ribcage area that forced him to miss games Saturday and Sunday.

``It was a roster thing,'' manager Bob Geren said. ``We had to make sure Eric was OK.''

Bradley had been out since June 3 with a strained right calf after missing time twice already with a strained left hamstring. He has missed 51 games this season and he has had five DL stints in two seasons with Oakland.

The A's will monitor Bradley to try to keep him healthy.

``I'm just going to do the best I can to mix the outfielders and first basemen so I don't have to put him out there seven or eight days in a row,'' Geren said.

Furmaniak appeared in one game after getting called up Saturday, going 0-for-1. He batted .275 with 11 home runs and 36 RBI in 65 games with Sacramento.

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