MLB News and Notes July - 17

MLB News and Notes July - 17

Sosa comes off DL to start against Pads
July 16, 2007

SAN DIEGO (AP) -New York Mets right-hander Jorge Sosa was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Monday night and started against the San Diego Padres.

Sosa, 7-3 with a 3.92 ERA, was out since July 1 with a strained left hamstring.

To make room on the roster, the Mets optioned right-hander Mike Pelfrey to Triple-A New Orleans.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 17

Cubs acquire Jason Kendall from Oakland
July 16, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -The Chicago Cubs acquired veteran catcher Jason Kendall on Monday in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for catcher Rob Bowen and minor league pitcher Jerry Blevins.

Kendall, a .298 career hitter in 12 major league seasons with Pittsburgh and Oakland, was batting only .226 for the A's this season with two homers and 22 RBIs. He was a three-time All-Star with the Pirates and is known for his ability to get on base. He has more walks than strikeouts during his career.

The 33-year-old Kendall has been praised for his durability despite his inconsistencies on offense, but the A's like Kurt Suzuki and plan to make him their starter.

Last month, the A's announced Mike Piazza would be a catcher again once he recovers from a shoulder injury - so he could be Suzuki's backup while also doing some work as designated hitter. Kendall has caught at least 143 games in each of the past seven seasons and 150 or more in four of those years.

The Cubs also have Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill as catchers.

Bowen had been designated for assignment earlier Monday by the Cubs, who acquired him in a June 20 trade with San Diego for Michael Barrett. He had only two hits in 31 at_bats for the Cubs in 10 games.

Blevins is 3-2 with nine saves, splitting time between Single-A Daytona and Double-A Tennessee this season. He was drafted by the Cubs in the 17th round of the 2004 draft.

Cubs general manager Jim Hendry said Kendall would do his best to join the Cubs for Tuesday night's game against the San Francisco Giants at Wrigley Field.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 17

Brewers place Sheets on 15-day DL
July 16, 2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) -The Milwaukee Brewers placed pitcher Ben Sheets on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a sprained finger on his pitching hand.

The right-hander was injured Saturday during his start against Colorado. Sheets, who turns 29 on Wednesday, said he ``felt something pop, snap.''

Monday's MRI revealed no further damage to the middle finger, and Sheets (10-4) was expected to have additional tests Tuesday.

Rookie Yovani Gallardo (1-1) is scheduled to take Sheets' spot in the rotation Thursday when the Brewers host Arizona.

The Brewers also placed reliever Chris Spurling on the bereavement list due to a family emergency. He is expected to rejoin the team Thursday or Friday.

To fill their spots, Milwaukee summoned left-hander Manny Parra and right-hander Grant Balfour from Class AAA Nashville. In four starts, Parra was 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA, including a perfect game.

The Brewers claimed reliever Balfour off waivers from Cincinnati over the winter after he had shoulder and elbow surgeries. In 23 relief appearances with Nashville, he was 1-1 with a 1.74 ERA and six saves, with 46 strikeouts in 31 innings.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 17

Notes from Monday's AL games
July 16, 2007

KANSAS CITY: The Royals plan to call up RHP Leo Nunez from Triple-A Omaha to make his first major league start on Tuesday. He was 1-1 with a 2.00 ERA in three starts with Omaha. He made 48 relief appearances for Kansas City the past two seasons. ... Nunez will start in place of RHP John Thomson, who went on the DL Monday with low back spasms. LHP Neal Musser was called up from Omaha. ... Royals batters, third in the AL in most strikeouts, fanned five times in their first nine at_bats Monday.

BOSTON: RHP Curt Schilling threw 31 pitches in a simulated game Monday and is scheduled to throw 45 in a rehabilitation stint Saturday at Triple-A Pawtucket. He went on the DL June 22 with shoulder tendinitis. After the session, he said ``I feel good.'' He is expected to make at least two rehab appearances. ... RF J.D. Drew returned to the lineup after missing two games with tightness in his right hamstring. ... RHP Brendan Donnelly, on the DL since June 17, is expected to be examined for tightness in his right forearm on Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum in Inglewood, Calif. ... Former reliever Curtis Leskanic, who played for Colorado, Milwaukee, Kansas City and Boston, was named a pro scouting consultant.


TORONTO: The Blue Jays played the Yankees for the first time since Alex Rodriguez distracted Toronto 3B Howie Clark by saying something as he ran past him on a pop up in late May. The ball dropped for a run-scoring single. The Blue Jays were steamed about it at the time, but on Monday they downplayed any lingering anger toward Rodriguez or thoughts of potential retaliation. ``As far as I'm concerned, it's over,'' manager John Gibbons said, adding that he hadn't heard his players talking much about it recently, either. ``There was a lot thrown at it, but it's gone.'' ... LF Reed Johnson is back in the leadoff spot and CF Vernon Wells is batting third again, even though Wells was extremely productive in the top spot while Johnson was injured. Gibbons plans to stick with this order, too. ``Give Wells more RBI opportunities,'' he said. As for Johnson batting leadoff: ``Plus, that's his spot, too,'' Gibbons said. ... The Blue Jays entered 17-9 against left-handed starters this season. They faced LHP Kei Igawa (7.14 ERA) in the series opener, with New York LHP Andy Pettitte (5-6, 4.27 ERA) to follow on Tuesday night. ... Gibbons plans to ease RHP Brandon League back into action. League was out all season with a right shoulder injury before he was activated from the 60-day DL Sunday. ``It's good to have him back,'' Gibbons said. ``We're counting on him. Coming into the season, he was going to be our eighth-inning guy.''

NEW YORK: LF Hideki Matsui homered in the second inning, giving him five homers and nine RBIs during his season-best 11-game hitting streak. He also has scored in 11 straight games, the longest current streak in the majors and the longest by a Yankee this year. ... 2B Robinson Cano also connected in the second and 3B Alex Rodriguez went deep in the third, giving New York 14 homers in its past six games. ... The Yankees entered 7-14 in one-run games after winning three of their last four such contests. ... New York manager Joe Torre said he's sticking with shaky reliever Kyle Farnsworth (4.58 ERA) as his eighth-inning setup man.


CHICAGO: Manager Ozzie Guillen was happy his Cleveland counterpart Eric Wedge got a contract extension. ``Good for him,'' Guillen said before Monday's series opener at Jacobs Field. ``He deserves it. That team is playing very well.'' Guillen has one year left on his current deal. ``I'm happy with my contract and when it comes time to talk, I will. We have to play better for me to say anything. Now is not the time.'' ... OF Jerry Owens, a lefty hitter, batted leadoff against Indians LHP Cliff Lee. ``We're struggling against lefties (9-18), so let's see what Jerry can do,'' Guillen said. ``We want to see what we have for later and for next year.'' Owens singled in his first at-bat. ... Guillen said any trades by GM Kenny Williams will be fine with him. ``I'm not going to give up, but if Kenny wants to make moves, I go along with that. We work well together. He knows the kind of lineup we want.'' ... White Sox relievers went 3-13 with a 7.57 ERA and nine blown saves in 57 games entering Monday, putting their season ERA at 5.99, second-highest in the majors.

CLEVELAND: Manager Eric Wedge's three-year contract extension through 2010 was greeted positively by his players, who have adopted his no-nonsense approach on the field. ``He's our guy,'' RHP Jake Westbrook said. ``He's our leader.'' Westbrook has spent more time with Wedge than any other Cleveland player. Westbrook, who was with Wedge for parts of two seasons at Triple-A Buffalo, said Wedge's style hasn't changed much from his days in the minors. Travis Hafner, Cleveland's DH who signed a four-year, $57 million extension last week, said Wedge has had a dramatic influence on the Indians. ``We've taken on his personality,'' he said. ``We show up early and play hard every day and I think that's a reflection of the manager. He knows his players well and he's been here for a long time. I think everyone in here is really excited that they got this done.''

Notes from Monday's NL games

CINCINNATI: Interim manager Pete Mackanin started C Javier Valentin, who entered Monday hitting .239 with one homer and 14 RBIs, for the second time in four days. Against the Braves, though, Valentin was hitting .324 with three homers and nine RBIs. ``I want to see Valentin get some at_bats,'' Mackanin said. ``I think he can help us.'' ... CF Ryan Freel, just 1-for-16 since play resumed after the All-Star break, singled and scored in his first at-bat. ``He needs to get on track,'' Mackanin said. ``We need to see the real Ryan Freel. We know what a spark plug he can be.'' ... Mackanin was hoping 2B Brandon Phillips, who leads the majors at his position with 19 homers and raised his average 14 points by hitting .375 (18-for-48) and driving in 15 runs over the last 11 games, would win NL Player of the Week honors on Monday. St. Louis' Albert Pujols was recognized instead. ``He certainly deserves it,'' Mackanin said. ``He's been put in that cleanup spot. A lot of guys don't respond to it. Everything about his play has been stellar.'' ... OF Josh Hamilton, on the DL with a sprained right wrist, has no immediate timetable for his return. ``I don't even know what to tell you on that,'' Mackanin said. ``It's such a day-to-day thing. That's a guy that was doing extremely well when it happened. Talk about a shock.''

ATLANTA: As expected, RHP John Smoltz (shoulder inflammation) will come off the DL Wednesday and start against the Reds. ``He's ready to go,'' manager Bobby Cox said. ``He feels great.'' ... Cox has yet to decide who the Braves will send down to make room for Smoltz. Atlanta currently has 13 pitchers on the 25-man roster. ... 3B Chipper Jones entered with a .390 average (39-for-100) since coming off the DL June 13 with bruised hands. ``It never takes Chipper any time, for some reason,'' Cox said. Overall, Jones was tied for third in the NL with a .335 average. ... LHP Mike Gonzalez is rehabbing in Atlanta and no longer wears a sling after undergoing elbow ligament replacement surgery in May. Gonzalez has treatment every day and watches games from the dugout before leaving in the eighth inning. Trainers have allowed him to begin light weight training, but no baseball related activities. ... RF Jeff Francoeur has 28 two-out RBIs, ranking sixth in the NL and tied with Philadelphia's Chase Utley. 2B Kelly Johnson and Cincinnati's Adam Dunn each have 26 and are tied for 10th.


HOUSTON: RHP Chad Qualls lost his appeal of a three-game suspension and $3,000 fine for throwing a baseball into the stands and will sit out starting Tuesday. Qualls' punishment originally was handed down by Major League Baseball on June 20, two days after he allowed five runs in a loss to the Los Angeles Angels and, after making a putout at first base, tossed the ball into the seats. He appealed that ruling, and a decision didn't come until Monday. ``I'm surprised a little bit,'' manager Phil Garner said. Qualls put a box atop the TV in the visitors' clubhouse at RFK Stadium labeled ``Qualls' Suspension Box - Donations Appreciated.'' ... The Astros entered Monday having lost six consecutive road games.

WASHINGTON: Injured 1B Nick Johnson got a cortisone shot Monday to dull pain in his right hip that developed while working his way back from a broken leg that has sidelined him since late last season. Johnson will do only upper-body work until Thursday, when he will be allowed to resume exercises and drills involving his legs. ... Manager Manny Acta said LHP Micah Bowie is ``progressing slower than we thought'' as he recovers from a left hip injury. Bowie, on the DL retroactive to June 28, is ``going to have to feel close to 100 percent before he gets to the mound,'' Acta said. ... RHP Shawn Hill - on the disabled list since May because of a strained left shoulder - will throw a bullpen session Tuesday.


COLORADO: OF Willy Taveras returned to the lineup Monday in Pittsburgh. Taveras had not played since July 8 due to a strained right quadriceps. Manager Clint Hurdle said Taveras passed all the physical tests they put him through in order to feel confident he was close to 100 percent. ... Should Taveras make it through Monday night's game incident-free and be pain free Tuesday, Hurdle said the Rockies likely would add a 12th pitcher to the active roster. ... RHP Jason Hirsh threw a side session Monday and Hurdle said he would soon begin a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Colorado Springs - assuming he feels fine Tuesday.

PITTSBURGH: OF Chris Duffy, who is rehabilitating at the team's complex in Bradenton, Fla., had a protective boot removed from his left foot Monday. Duffy, who has been on the disabled list since June 29 because of a left ankle sprain, has been cleared to throw but not run. His return to the Pirates is not imminent. ... Despite having never played third base in the majors prior to this season, INF Jose Castillo has made eight starts there this season and will continue to serve as the team's regular there as long as INF Jose Bautista is on the disabled list. ... After losing all three games in Atlanta over the weekend, the Pirates have been swept six times this season. They have swept three series.


ST. LOUIS: 1B Albert Pujols' career long 22-game homerless drought is a thing of the past. Pujols began Monday having homered four times - and at least once in all three games - since the All-Star break. Before Monday's game against the Cardinals, Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said given Pujols' recent hot streak he might not have his pitchers give Pujols much to hit. ``I'm not saying I'm going to walk him,'' Gonzalez said. ``But you have to respect him.'' ... RHP Braden Looper started Monday against the Marlins for the first time. He played in Florida from 1999-2003 and was a reliever and part-time closer on the 2003 World Series champion team.

FLORIDA:
LHP Scott Olsen was suspended for two games without pay because of insubordination and conduct detrimental to the team, manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday. Gonzalez would not elaborate. Olsen began serving the suspension Monday, and will not miss his scheduled start Friday at home against the Cincinnati Reds. ... INF Brett Boone will not do any physical activity for the next 2-3 days. Boone injured his knee during a cutoff play and was placed on the 15-day disabled list June 27. ... RHP Josh Johnson, who was placed on the 15-day DL July 4 because of stiffness in his right forearm, threw a bullpen session Monday. Gonzalez said he is hopeful Johnson will return when he is eligible to come off the DL.


SAN FRANCISCO: LHP reliever Pat Misch expected nearly 40 fans at Wrigley Field to cheer him on. He grew up in nearby Northbrook, Ill., and had been in Wrigley just once before during a pre-draft workout in 2003. He slept at home Sunday night and his mom made him breakfast Monday before his dad drove him to the ballpark. ``I'm trying not to think about it,'' Misch said of the excitement. ``Go out there like it's another game. I'm trying not to get too excited.'' ... OF Dave Roberts was scheduled to be off and the lineup was listed that way briefly before slugger Barry Bonds was scratched and Roberts was back in there. Kevin Frandsen moved from RF to LF to fill in for Bonds and Randy Winn went from CF back to his regular spot in RF. ... Bonds homered in his final two games at Wrigley Field last September. He is a career. 247 hitter against the Cubs and has 45 homers.

CHICAGO: The Cubs acquired C Jason Kendall on Monday in a trade with the Oakland Athletics for C Rob Bowen and minor league LHP Jerry Blevins. Earlier in the day, the Cubs designated Bowen for assignment. Kendall, a .298 career hitter in 12 major league seasons with Pittsburgh and Oakland, was batting only .226 for the A's this season with two homers and 22 RBIs. The Cubs also have Geovany Soto and Koyie Hill as catchers. ... With Cliff Floyd still nursing a sore left shoulder, an injury he got while diving for a ball in the first inning Saturday, Daryle Ward made his second start of the season in right field. Ward, known for his pinch-hitting prowess, has also started six games at first base. ... Through 90 games this season, the Cubs were 47-33. A year ago they were 35-55.


ARIZONA: Chris Young hit the second pitch of the game for a home run, Arizona's first leadoff homer since Eric Byrnes did it against the Dodgers on June 26. ... Eleven of Young's 14 homers this season have been solo and 10 have come on the road. ... The team began a seven-game road trip Monday in Milwaukee that will complete a stretch that has the club playing 17 of 20 away games. ... Yusmeiro Petit will make his third start Tuesday since being recalled July 3 from Tucson.

MILWAUKEE: Corey Hart hit Milwaukee's first leadoff homer of the season. He was the last Brewer to hit a leadoff homer, on Aug. 17 against Houston. ... Newly resigned Milwaukee Bucks guard Mo Williams threw out the first pitch. ... Milwaukee recorded its 15th sellout of the season Sunday. The team had 14 last year. ... RHP Claudio Vargas will make his first start since July 4 on Tuesday. The Brewers are 12-3 in his starts. Vargas will face the Diamondbacks for the first time since they traded him to Milwaukee in the off-season.


PHILADELPHIA: Antonio Alfonseca has been closing in place of three-time All-Star closer Tom Gordon, who was activated from the 60-day DL Sunday night after recovering from inflammation in his rotator cuff and a subsequent illness. ``Antonio's done a heck of a job for this ballclub,'' Gordon said. ``I haven't spoken to anyone along the lines of what's going to happen next week or two weeks from now. Hopefully, everything will play out the way it should. But right now the important thing is to just get some games under my belt. I think I still have a little ways to go. I'm probably around 85-88 percent, so I'm going to try to continue to get myself as strong as I possibly can. I think the sooner I get out there and the more I pitch and get into the flow, my velocity will pick up a little better. The last couple of games I was at around 91, and I'd like to get up to around 93 if I could. Once that picks up and the adrenalin flow gets to pumping, there's no telling where I'll be.''

LOS ANGELES: LHP Randy Wolf, sidelined since July 4 because of shoulder soreness, threw off flat ground during a bullpen session. Manager Grady Little said he is progressing, but is not ready to pitch, and the medical staff is not going to rush him. Wolf is eligible to be activated on Wednesday. ... Little got to match wits with Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel for the first time this season. Little was Manuel's bench coach in Cleveland when the Indians won a division title in 2001. ``Grady's a character,'' Manuel said. ``He lets his players relax and play. As far as his communication skills, he's such a good presence as far as the atmosphere and the laughter in the dugout and things like that. I keep up with him and I'm happy for him. Grady's doing a good job and he'll continue doing a good job.'' ... RHP Roberto Hernandez, 42, made his first appearance for the Dodgers' Triple-A Las Vegas team on Monday night. The 17-year veteran signed a minor league deal with the Dodgers on July 6 after being released by the Indians.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 17

Mets place Easley on bereavement list
July 17th, 2007

Flushing, NY (Sports Network) - The New York Mets placed infielder Damion Easley on the bereavement list Tuesday, so that the utilityman can be with his father in California.

Once a player is placed on bereavement leave, he can be away from his club for a minimum of three days and a maximum of seven.

Easley has hit eight home runs and collected 20 RBI with a .257 batting average in 58 games this season. To take his spot on the roster, the Mets selected the contract of Chip Ambres from Triple-A New Orleans.

Ambres hit .272 with 16 home runs, 49 RBI and 60 runs scored in 85 games with the Zephyrs.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 17

Marlins recall Vanden Hurk
July 17th, 2007

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - Florida Marlins pitcher Rick Vanden Hurk will take the mound on Tuesday against St. Louis after being recalled from Triple-A Albuquerque.

Vanden Hurk is starting in place of the injured Josh Johnson, who has been on the 15-day disabled list since July 5 with a right forearm strain.

It marks the third time Vanden Hurk has been called up from the minors this season. In seven starts he is 2-2 with an 8.38 earned run average in 29 innings for the Marlins.

The Netherlands native also earned the win for the World Team in last week's Futures Game, tossing a scoreless inning.

To make room on the roster, Florida designated right-hander Wes Obermueller for assignment.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 17

Royals recall Nunez
July 17th, 2007

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Kansas City Royals have recalled starting pitcher Leo Nunez from Triple-A Omaha and optioned left-handed pitcher Neal Musser to the minor league club.

Nunez is scheduled to make his first career start Tuesday in Fenway Park against the Boston Red Sox. Nunez has pitched in relief for the Royals over the past two seasons. During that span, he has appeared in a total of 48 games and owns a 3-2 record with a 6.99 earned run average.

Musser, who was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on Saturday, was recalled for Monday's game and will now return to the minors. He has appeared in 13 games for Kansas City this season and has no record with a 4.87 ERA.

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