MLB News and Notes July - 18

MLB News and Notes July - 18

Devil Rays option Switzer and plan to activate Reyes
July 17, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -The Tampa Bay Devil Rays optioned reliever Jon Switzer to Triple-A Durham on Tuesday night, to open a roster spot for injured closer Al Reyes.

The Devil Rays plan to reinstate Reyes, who has been out since July 3 because of a mild rotator cuff strain, from the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday night's game with the Los Angeles Angels.

Reyes is 1-1 with 17 saves and 4.09 ERA in 34 games. He allowed one run and two hits over one inning in a minor league rehab start Monday with Class A Vero Beach.

``It feels good,'' Reyes said Tuesday. ``I threw all my pitches.''

Switzer was called up from Durham on July 4. He appeared in three games, allowing five runs in 1 2-3 innings. The left-handed missed the first two months of the season because of a left shoulder injury.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 18

Bonds held out of starting lineup for second straight day
July 17, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -Exactly a week before Barry Bonds' 43rd birthday, the affects of his age started to really show.

Bonds got a second straight day off Tuesday, with San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy holding the slugger out of the starting lineup again to rest his sore body.

Bochy initially had hinted Bonds might sit out Tuesday, but then said after Monday's game that No. 25 would be a go the next night against the Chicago Cubs.

Bonds last sat in back-to-back games June 5-6 at Arizona while dealing with shin splints. Bochy has said the shins aren't the issue, though Bonds has acknowledged in recent days his legs, feet and toes are swollen - and that he's just plain exhausted.

And he said during the weekend, when he played all 30 innings in a three-game sweep by the rival Los Angeles Dodgers, that he was still recovering from the All-Star festivities last week in San Francisco.

He was scratched for Monday night's 3-2 series-opening loss at Wrigley Field after telling the trainers he didn't feel good enough to play.

The Giants play consecutive afternoon games Wednesday and Thursday against the Cubs before a three-game weekend series against the Brewers in Milwaukee.

``It's a day-night game with a left-hander tonight,'' Cubs manager Lou Piniella said Tuesday. ``With (Carlos) Zambrano (Wednesday), I'm sure he'll be in there. It's not easy for an older player. It's difficult.''

Zambrano, a right-hander, is an 11-game winner this season.

A federal grand jury is investigating whether Bonds perjured himself when he testified in 2003 in the BALCO steroid distribution case that he hadn't knowingly taken performance-enhancing drugs. The panel's term could expire as soon as Thursday, but prosecutors also might ask a judge to extend the grand jury's tenure.

Bonds is mired in an 0-for-20 slump, his worst hitless stretch since his record-breaking 2001 season. He played in 81 of the club's first 90 games through Monday night and was selected as a starter for last Tuesday's All-Star game in his home ballpark - his first All-Star game since 2004.

Bonds was in an 0-for-17 funk before hitting his 746th homer against the Rockies on May 27. He had a hitless stretch of 21 at_bats from April 5-12, 2001 - the year he broke Mark McGwire's single-season home run record with 73 - and had a career-worst 0-for-23 drought from July 6-20, 1986, during his rookie year.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 18

Baseball Today - July 18
By Associated Press

SCOREBOARD

Wednesday, July 18

Detroit at Minnesota (8:10 p.m. EDT). Rookie Andrew Miller faces off against two-time AL Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana.

STARS

Tuesday

-Ryan Garko, Indians, hit a game-tying pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning and singled home the winning run in the 11th to give Cleveland a 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox.

-Bronson Arroyo, Reds, gave up three hits and struck out nine over seven scoreless innings and Cincinnati edged Atlanta 6-5.

-Nate Robertson, Tigers, allowed three hits in seven innings to lead Detroit to a 1-0 win over Minnesota.

-Robinson Cano, Yankees, drove in the winning run in the 10th inning to lift the New York Yankees over Toronto 3-2.

-Jay Gibbons, Orioles, drove in five runs to push Baltimore past Seattle 8-3.

DUELS

Matt Garza allowed an unearned run and three hits in seven innings but took the loss in Minnesota's 1-0 defeat at the hands of Detroit on Tuesday. Nate Robertson gave up three hits in seven innings to win for just the third time in 10 starts. ... Roy Halladay gave up one run and five hits but received a no-decision in Toronto's 3-2 10-inning loss to the New York Yankees. Andy Pettitte fanned a season-high seven over seven innings and also got a no-decision, his sixth of the season when allowing no more than two earned runs.

PHILS EXPLOSION

J.D. Durbin breezed to his first major league victory and had three of Philadelphia's 26 hits, Ryan Howard hit a pair of two-run homers and the Phillies routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 15-3 on Tuesday. Shane Victorino and Aaron Rowand had five hits each for the Phillies, who fell one shy of their franchise record and snapped the Dodgers' season-high five-game winning streak.

GROUP EFFORT

Rick Vanden Hurk struck out six in five innings to pick up the win in Florida's 4-0 victory over St. Louis on Tuesday. Five Marlins relievers scattered two hits over the final four innings to preserve the shutout.

D-RAYS RECORD

Ty Wigginton went 4-for-4 for the second straight game to tie a Tampa Bay record with eight consecutive hits and help the Devil Rays beat the Los Angeles Angels 8-3 on Tuesday. Aubrey Huff had eight straight hits for the Devil Rays from Sept. 22-24, 2004. Wigginton also had four hits in a loss to the New York Yankees on Sunday.

STYMIED STAR

Barry Bonds extended his hitless slump to 0-for-21 while pinch-hitting in San Francisco's 4-2 win over the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night, lining out to left in the eighth inning. Bonds' stretch without a hit is his longest since 21 at-bats from April 5-12, 2001. He is two away from matching a career-worst 0-for-23 drought from July 6-20, 1986, his rookie year.

ARROYO STUMPS ATLANTA

Bronson Arroyo, finding his 2006 All-Star form in his 20th start of the season, allowed three hits and struck out nine over seven shutout innings in Cincinnati's 6-5 win over Atlanta. Arroyo (4-10) began Tuesday night's game ranking among the NL leaders in losses, hits and runs allowed. It was the first time he did not allow a run in a start since last Sept. 25.

SPEAKING

''I was on a team like this in college. We always feel like we've got a chance to win.'' - Cleveland's Ryan Garko, comparing his current Indians teammates to his days at Stanford. Garko hit a game-tying pinch-hit home run in the ninth inning and singled home the winning run in the 11th to give Cleveland a 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Tuesday.

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Notes from Tuesday's AL games
July 17, 2007

LOS ANGELES: C Mike Napoli (ankle) ran the bases and took batting practice. Manager Mike Scioscia said Napoli will repeat the workout Wednesday and is ``closer'' to returning, but still won't for a few more days. ... OF Juan Rivera (broken leg), who was placed on the 60-day DL on April 26, has started running 90-foot intervals as part of his rehab program. Scioscia said there is no timetable for when Rivera, who is continuing to do other baseball activities, will return.

TAMPA BAY: Closer Al Reyes (right shoulder) is expected to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. Reyes allowed one run and two hits over one inning in a rehab start for Class A Vero Beach on Monday. Manager Joe Maddon anticipates that when Reyes returns he will be available for back-to-back outings with the exception of day games. ... CF B. J. Upton batted third in the lineup for the first time this season Tuesday. Maddon said the move was because of Upton's team-high on-base percentage.


KANSAS CITY: The Royals recalled RHP Leo Nunez from Triple-A Omaha before Tuesday's game to make his first major league start at Fenway Park and optioned LHP Neal Musser to Omaha. Nunez didn't get the decision, leaving with a 3-0 lead after allowing Julio Lugo's leadoff double in the fifth. Nunez allowed one run and six hits and a walk, striking out three. ... SS Tony Pena Jr., who hadn't gotten a hit since the All-Star break, singled and doubled in his first two at_bats on Tuesday night.

BOSTON:
RHP Brendan Donnelly was examined in California on Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who agreed with the previous diagnosis of a strained right forearm. Donnelly was to return to Boston and resume strengthening exercises. He was scratched from a rehab start because of soreness in the forearm on Friday. ... The Red Sox have scored 16 runs in RHP Tim Wakefield's previous 19 losses.


CHICAGO: DH Jim Thome still gets a special feeling when he comes to Cleveland, his baseball home from 1991-2002. ``I was walking around the ballpark, thinking of all the great memories that will always be special to me,'' said Thome, who left the Indians as their all-time home run leader (334) as a free agent following the 2002 season. Thome continues to receive a mixed reaction whenever he comes to the plate at Jacobs Field. Asked if he ever expects that to change, Thome only shrugged. ... OF Scott Podsednik, out since July 2 because of a strained left ribcage, is due to start a rehab assignment Wednesday at Triple-A Charlotte. ... OF Darin Erstad, sidelined since June 23 by a sprained left ankle, started a rehab stint at Charlotte on Monday. ... RHP Mike MacDougal, on the disabled list since June 6 with shoulder tendinitis, threw in the bullpen Monday and is scheduled for another session Wednesday.

CLEVELAND: RHP Fernando Cabrera's problems have the Indians perplexed. He was tagged for four runs and five hits in one-third of an inning when the White Sox scored nine times in the sixth inning of their 11-10 win on Monday night. Cabrera has shown signs of being a dependable reliever, but in his last eight games he has given up seven runs and 14 hits in 11 1-3 innings. He began the season by pitching 11 2-3 scoreless innings. ``We're trying to find a way to get to him and get him going,'' said manager Eric Wedge, who met with Cabrera before Tuesday's game. ``He has an outing and you think he's back on track with his delivery and you put him in a situation and he doesn't get it done and then he doesn't pitch for a while. So it's kind of a vicious cycle.'' Wedge still believes in the 25-year-old, who had an inconsistent second half in 2006 but whom the club had hoped would become a key member of its bullpen this season. ... LHP Aaron Fultz (strained ribs) reported no problems after playing catch on Monday and will likely make a rehab appearance next week before the Indians consider bringing him off the 15-day disabled list. ``We're going to give it as much time as we need to,'' Wedge said.


DETROIT: Jim Leyland said he was honored to manage the American League in the All-Star Game, but it wasn't all fun and games. ``It wasn't a fun game to manage. It was a real chore,'' Leyland said, pointing to the lack of a DH and the AL's 10-game winning streak in games that went to a decision. ``There was a lot of pressure.'' ... Relievers Fernando Rodney (right shoulder) and Joel Zumaya (finger) played catch again on Tuesday. Rodney said he felt good and Zumaya said the only thing holding him back is some weakness in his throwing shoulder. Zumaya said his middle finger, which had a dislocated tendon on May 3, felt fine. ``My finger feels great,'' Zumaya said. ``It's just retaining my arm strength now.'' Neither pitcher is considered close to returning.

MINNESOTA: After two straight solid days at the plate (4-for-6), Jason Tyner was in LF against LHP Nate Robertson rather than regular Jason Kubel, also a lefty. Tyner is 4-for-9 (.444) lifetime against Robertson, and manager Ron Gardenhire likes how he has been swinging the bat. ``He's seemed to have a couple pretty good ballgames in a row,'' Gardenhire said. ``I like the way he's going about it.'' ... There's been plenty of talk about the Twins making a trade before the deadline to acquire a veteran hitter. GM Terry Ryan was predictably tight-lipped. ``I'm not going to predict how this thing is going to play out,'' Ryan said. ``We'll make a decision that makes sense for the near term and long future.''

Notes from Tuesday's NL games

CINCINNATI: Jeff Keppinger made his first start at shortstop. He has made two starts at third base and also plays second base. ``He's a good little hitter,'' said interim manager Pete Mackanin. ``And I want to give him a chance, see how he does at shortstop. I think he can handle himself for a stint. He impressed me last night against that side-winder (Atlanta's Peter Moylan) throwing 95 miles an hour, hitting that rocket up the middle.'' Keppinger batted second. ... Mackanin said he believes LHP Bobby Livingston deserves another start after giving up two runs in five innings in a win over the Braves on Monday night. ``For me he certainly has,'' Mackanin said. ``They have some pretty good right-hander hitters on that (Atlanta) team. He made some of them look bad on swings.''

ATLANTA: Manager Bobby Cox would not rule out the possibility of RHP Kyle Davies returning to the minors to work on his control after Davies did not record an out while facing only five batters on Monday night. Davies is 4-8 with a 5.76 ERA. ``I haven't heard anything yet,'' Davies said. ``I don't know. I'm going to prepare like I normally would and that's it. That's all I can do.'' ... LHP Wil Ledezma, who has been battling visa problems in Venezuela, where he returned home for the All-Star break, may be cleared to return to Atlanta on Thursday or Friday.


HOUSTON: RHP Brad Lidge, who came off the DL last week, will move back into the closer's role, replacing Dan Wheeler. ... RHP Brandon Backe, who had surgery on his right elbow in September and hasn't pitched this season, threw two simulated innings Tuesday. He'll have another simulated game July 23, manager Phil Garner said. After that, a minor league rehab assignment will be considered. ... 2B Craig Biggio wasn't in the lineup Tuesday - Chris Burke started in his place - and isn't scheduled to play on Wednesday. Biggio will play on Friday at Pittsburgh. ... RHP Chad Qualls began serving a three-game suspension Tuesday for throwing a ball into the stands last month.

WASHINGTON: CF Nook Logan made his second consecutive start against a right-handed pitcher, even though he's been platooning with lefty-hitting Ryan Langerhans. Logan could join Langerhans on the bench soon, because Alex Escobar is expected to join the Nationals as soon as this weekend after missing all season because of right shoulder surgery and an ankle injury. ``We all know the platoon will be history anyway when Escobar comes back,'' manager Manny Acta said. Logan went 0-for-4 on Monday batting leadoff, and struck out in his first two at_bats in that spot Tuesday. ... RHP Shawn Hill threw 40 pitches, a mix of fastballs and changeups, on Tuesday during his second bullpen session as he works his way back from the DL. On Friday, he'll try all of his pitches. GM Jim Bowden said he hopes Hill can return in time to make eight to 10 starts. ... LHP Josh Smoker, an unsigned high school prospect the Nationals took with the 31st overall pick in June's amateur draft, switched advisers on Tuesday. Smoker was taken with one of the two picks Washington received as compensation for losing Alfonso Soriano to free agency.


COLORADO: 1B Todd Helton was not with the team for Tuesday's game in Pittsburgh. He stayed at the team hotel because of what the team said were strong headaches. Manager Clint Hurdle did not elaborate on the severity or impetus for the illness or speculate when Helton would be able to return to the lineup. ... Hurdle said there is a chance that RHP Ubaldo Jimenez - recalled from Triple-A on Tuesday - will only be with the Rockies for a few days. He was brought up as a long-inning man as insurance in case a starter has to leave a game early. ... Hurdle was still upset with Monday night's official scorer, Tony Krizmanich, after a sharply hit ball to Helton was scored an error. Hurdle, who was also upset with at least two other scoring decisions Monday, attempted to contact Krizmanich through a team official Monday night but the scorer declined to speak to Hurdle. ``I never had that happen before,'' said Hurdle, who sent video of the plays to the league office for review in hopes of changing the scoring on the plays.

PITTSBURGH: Manager Jim Tracy said that RHP John Van Benschoten will remain in the rotation even after allowing nine runs in two innings Monday to raise his ERA to 8.17. Tracy, however, did allow that there was a chance that Van Benschoten would be skipped in the rotation for his next start because of the day off the team has Thursday. ... The Pirates have had five losing streaks of at least four games this season and eight of at least three games. ... Going into Tuesday's game, LHP Damaso Marte had allowed only four hits in 45 at_bats against left-handed hitters. He also has not allowed a run in 16 appearances (15 innings) at PNC Park this season.


ST. LOUIS: RHP Chris Carpenter met with doctors Tuesday to discuss recurrent elbow pain, Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said. The 2005 NL Cy Young award winner has pitched only one game this season, throwing six innings and giving up five runs and nine hits in a loss. La Russa did not provide any more details on Carpenter's status. ``When I know, you'll know,'' La Russa said. ... CF Jim Edmonds' return to the active roster is nearing. La Russa said Edmonds informed him that he feels ready to play after sitting out since June 16 due to back trouble. Edmonds also passed a team conditioning test Tuesday.

FLORIDA:
The Marlins optioned RHP Wes Obermueller to Triple-A Albuquerque on Tuesday to make room for RHP Rick Vanden Hurk, who started Tuesday against the Cardinals. Vanden Hurk, a native of the Netherlands, earned the win for the World Team in last week's All-Star Futures Game after throwing a scoreless first inning. Marlins manager Fredi Gonzalez said Vanden Hurk has accepted his role as a spot starter. ``I think he's handled the whole situation up here perfect,'' Gonzalez said. ... OF Cody Ross is days from being added to the active roster, Gonzalez said. Ross was transferred to the 60-day disabled list June 26 with a left hamstring strain. Ross is batting .302 with four home runs in 53 at_bats this season.


SAN FRANCISCO: CF Dave Roberts entered the night trying for a career-high 11-game hitting streak. He also went 10 straight games with a hit from May 1-12, 2006, while with the San Diego Padres. ... Slugger Barry Bonds didn't start for the second straight night to rest his sore legs. He also didn't start June 5-6 at Arizona but was a pinch-hitter in one of those games. He hadn't missed two entire games back-to-back this year. Manager Bruce Bochy said his star player might miss Wednesday afternoon's contest as well. ... The Giants are facing three lefty starters in the four-game series with the Cubs.

CHICAGO: Jason Kendall says the first time he came to Wrigley Field with the Pirates in 1996 he fell in love with the old neighborhood park. Now he'll get to play there on a regular basis as the Cubs' new catcher. ``The history and everything about it, the field, the fans,'' Kendall said, listing what appeals to him about the second oldest park in the majors. ``It's always been my favorite place to play.'' He is a career .279 hitter at Wrigley and got a loud ovation when he came to the plate the first time. ... Manager Lou Piniella switched Alfonso Soriano from leadoff to No. 5 in the order for the second time in three days to try and give the Cubs some middle-of-the-order right-handed punch against a left-handed pitcher, Barry Zito. The Cubs entered play Tuesday with a 9-14 record against southpaw starters. Soriano has batted leadoff 76 times. ... The Cubs started the season 2-12 in one-run games. Since June 7, they are 10-3.


ARIZONA: OF Jeff DaVanon was in the leadoff spot Tuesday night, marking his first appearance of the 2007 season. He was activated from the disabled list after Monday night's contest. DaVanon had been out since injuring his ankle last August. ... LHP Doug Davis will start against his former team on Wednesday night. Davis, along with LHP Dana Eveland and OF Dave Krynzel, was traded by Milwaukee to Arizona last winter in exchange for C Johnny Estrada, RHP Claudio Vargas and RHP Greg Aquino. Davis was 11-11 with a 4.91 ERA in 34 starts with the Brewers last year and set a team record with 208 strikeouts in 2005.

MILWAUKEE: RHP Elmer Dessens was to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday night with Triple-A Nashville. Dessens has been on the disabled list with a sore right shoulder since May 24. ... RHP Yovani Gallardo will start the series finale on Thursday, replacing Ben Sheets, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday with a strained middle finger on his right hand. ... After starting the season 5-0 with a 2.31 ERA, Wednesday starter Chris Capuano is 0-6 with a 7.74 ERA in his last nine starts, and is 0-1 with a 10.03 ERA in two starts since coming off the disabled list June 30.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 18

Braves activate Smoltz
July 18th, 2007

Atlanta, GA (Sports Network) - The Atlanta Braves activated veteran pitcher John Smoltz from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

The right-hander, who has been on the shelf since July 3 with inflammation in his right shoulder, is expected to start Wednesday afternoon's finale of a three-game set against the Cincinnati Reds at Turner Field.

Smoltz is 9-5 with a 3.07 earned run average in 17 starts this season.

To make room for Smoltz, the Braves optioned pitcher Joey Devine to Triple-A Richmond.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 18

Devil Rays activate Reyes
July 18th, 2007

St. Petersburg, FL (Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays activated closer Al Reyes from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

Reyes has been out since July 4 due to a strained right rotator cuff.

The 27-year-old righty has converted 17-of-18 save chances this season. He is 1-1 with a 4.09 ERA in 34 appearances this season

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 18

Lee drops appeal, will serve suspension for fight
July 18th, 2007

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Chicago Cubs All-Star first baseman Derrek Lee dropped his appeal of the five-game suspension he received after fighting with San Diego pitcher Chris Young in a June 16 game at Wrigley Field.

Lee began serving the suspension with Wednesday's game against San Francisco and will miss the rest of Chicago's homestand against Arizona over the weekend. He had fouled a pitch off his left ankle Tuesday against the Giants and most likely would have sat out anyway.

The June 16 altercation occurred in the fourth inning when Young hit Lee with a pitch. As Lee made his way toward first, the two players met in the baseline with the Cubs' first baseman throwing the first punch that triggered a bench- clearing brawl. Young also threw a punch.

Both players were ejected from the game as were San Diego pitcher Jake Peavy and Chicago hitting coach Gerald Perry for their actions. Young already served the five-game suspension he received.

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 18

Dodgers recall Hernandez
July 18th, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (Sports Network) - The Los Angeles Dodgers recalled veteran relief pitcher Roberto Hernandez from Triple-A Las Vegas on Wednesday.

The 42-year-old Hernandez was released in June by the Cleveland Indians after going 3-1 with a robust 6.23 earned run average in 28 appearances. LA signed him on July 7.

The Dodgers optioned infielder Tony Abreu to Las Vegas to make room for Hernandez.

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