MLB News and Notes July - 25

MLB News and Notes July - 25

Young leaves game with strained abdominal muscle
July 24, 2007

DENVER (AP) -San Diego right-hander Chris Young left the Padres' game against the Colorado Rockies with a strained abdominal muscle after warming up for the third inning Tuesday night.
   
Young threw two perfect innings and had tossed five warmups when manager Bud Black and trainer Todd Hutcheson were summoned to the mound. He threw two more warmups before walking to the dugout.

He was replaced by left-hander Justin Hampson.

The Padres said Young had a strained oblique muscle on his left side and was day-to-day.

Young, who leads the major leagues with a 1.82 ERA, threw 28 pitches and retired all six Rockies he faced. The 28-year-old had worked at least six innings in 10 of his last 11 starts. He had allowed only eight earned runs in that span.

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Elbow soreness lands Colon on DL
July 24, 2007

ANAHEIM, Calif. (AP) -The Los Angeles Angels placed Bartolo Colon on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday with a sore right elbow.

Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young winner, left Monday night's game after pitching one inning against the Oakland Athletics. He gave up four runs on four hits and one walk during the Angels' 12-6 loss.

The 34-year-old Colon was examined Tuesday by Dr. Lewis Yocum and the decision was made to place him on the DL for the fifth time in his career and second time this season. The right-hander will undergo further tests to determine the cause of irritation in his elbow.

The Angels also optioned infielder Kendry Morales to Triple-A Salt Lake, and called up right-handers Greg Jones and Marcus Gwyn from Salt Lake.

Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said of Colon: ``We're not going to know what we're dealing with until he gets a full examination by Dr. Yocum.''

Scioscia said that since the Angels have Thursday off, he has time to weigh decisions about the club's pitching plans.

Among the possibilities is that, with the day off, their four starters could stick to their regular five-day rotation for one turn.

Asked whether struggling Ervin Santana might be recalled from the minors, Scioscia said: ``Ervin is an option, but we'll take this one step at a time.''

Santana was sent to Salt Lake last Wednesday after losing his fifth consecutive decision to fall to 5-11 with a 6.22 ERA.

Colon, whose 2006 season was shortened by a rotator cuff tear, won his first five decisions this year, but went 1-6 over his next 10 starts - including the short stint against the A's. It was only the fourth time in his career that he lasted one inning or less.

He had a 21-8 record during his Cy Young-winning season, but has gone 7-11 since.

Morales, 24, is hitting .244, with two home runs and seven RBIs in 20 games with the Angels.

The 30-year-old Jones was 4-1 with three saves and a 3.94 ERA in 32 appearances spanning 48 innings at Salt Lake this year. He also pitched twice for the Angels this season, giving up five runs in three innings.

Gwyn, 29, was 1-0 with 1-0 with 13 saves and a 2.78 ERA in 37 appearances.

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Cubs recall Cedeno for infield depth
July 24, 2007

ST. LOUIS (AP) -The Chicago Cubs recalled infielder Ronny Cedeno from Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday.

Cedeno, who made the Cubs' opening day roster, begins his second stint with Chicago this season. He was hitting .360 with 10 home runs, 13 doubles, 32 RBIs and a .424 on-base percentage with Iowa.

The Cubs had an open roster spot after optioning infielder Scott Moore to Iowa on Sunday.

Cedeno, 24, was optioned to Iowa on May 5 after batting .097 with two homers and four RBIs in 16 games. Manager Lou Piniella said the Cubs were in need of a backup shortstop since Cesar Izturis was traded to Pittsburgh last week.

Moore, 23, was recalled from Iowa on Friday, the day after Izturis was traded, and appeared in one game with a start at first base against the Diamondbacks. He's batting .266 with 16 homers, 18 doubles and 61 RBIs in 90 games at Iowa.

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Tigers recall Vasquez, option Capellan
July 24, 2007

CHICAGO (AP) -Right-hander Virgil Vasquez was recalled by the Detroit Tigers from Triple-A Toledo to start the second game of a doubleheader Tuesday night against the Chicago White Sox.

Right-hander Jose Capellan was optioned to Toledo to clear a roster spot.

Vasquez made one start earlier this season for the Tigers and lost to the Twins on May 13 before being sent back to the minors.

Capellan, who pitched two scoreless innings Sunday, was acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers for Chris Cody on July 1. He appeared in six games for the Tigers, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA.

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Wood makes brief but effective rehab appearance
July 24, 2007

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) - Cubs pitcher Kerry Wood walked a batter and didn't record a strikeout during a brief one-inning relief appearance in a minor league rehab assignment Tuesday.
   
The injury-plagued Wood is recovering from shoulder tendinitis. He threw 12 pitches - 11 fastballs and a breaking ball - during his fifth-inning appearance for the Class-A Peoria Chiefs.

He faced four batters and was awarded the win in a 9-3 victory over the Fort Wayne Wizards.

Wood originally was slated to start for Peoria, but said later he decided he'd rather pitch out of the bullpen because that's how the Cubs expect to use him.

``It felt good tonight,'' Wood said. ``When I get to Chicago, I won't have 30 minutes to warm up. So I thought it would be good for me to get used to this.''

Wood's fastball topped out at 93 mph. He is expected to pitch back-to-back one-inning bullpen outings for the Chiefs on Thursday and Friday and, if those appearances are successful, Wood said the Cubs would reassess his situation. It's likely he would be moved up to Triple-A Iowa.

Wood, who was named the 1998 National League Rookie of the Year, has been on the disabled list since the start of the regular season with tendinitis in his right shoulder.

It's the third straight season Wood has pitched for the Chiefs while recovering from injuries.

``I'm proud of Kerry,'' said Cubs catcher Henry Blanco, already in Peoria on a rehab assignment for a herniated disc in his neck. ``He's come a long way, man. It's good to see him throwing so well.''

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Notes from Tuesday's AL games
July 24, 2007

DETROIT: RHP Jose Capellan was optioned to Triple-A Toledo between games of Tuesday's split doubleheader to make room for Game 2 starter RHP Virgil Vasquez. Capellan was acquired July 1 from Milwaukee and pitched two scoreless innings Sunday. ``It's a shame with the timing of it,'' manager Jim Leyland said. ``His last outing, he threw the ball the best he's thrown since he's been here. He's got a lot of potential.'' ... RHP Fernando Rodney (shoulder) had a successful bullpen session Tuesday and is scheduled to play catch Wednesday. Leyland said that Rodney will join Toledo on Thursday for a rehab assignment and pitch Friday. ... SS Carlos Guillen was in the lineup for both games Tuesday, a day after he fouled a ball hard off his left calf. Guillen was attended to by a trainer twice Monday night, but refused to leave the game. ``It's better,'' he said. ``The trainers did a good job.'' ... OF Curtis Granderson, who hails from the Chicago suburbs, is enjoying his stay during the five-game series. In the first two games, he was 5-for-7 with two homers. ``Maybe staying at home and his mom's cooking is good for him,'' manager Jim Leyland said.

CHICAGO: Manager Ozzie Guillen said there are no immediate trade plans for the White Sox. He met before the doubleheader with GM Kenny Williams. ``There's nothing there. Maybe what they offer Kenny is not enough for us, for those guys, I don't know, but we had a meeting this morning and there's nothing out there,'' Guillen said. ... OF Scott Podsednik is back from a second stint on the DL, and OF Darin Erstad is on a rehab assignment, but neither will likely dislodge rookie Jerry Owens, who's taken over in center and the leadoff spot. After struggling in his first stint this season, Owens is feeling more comfortable and using his speed in both the field and on the bases. He's pushed his average up to .246. ... Javier Vazquez wants to stay with the White Sox and after getting a three-year, $34.5 million contract extension in spring training, he's probably not going anywhere. But still this is the time for trade talk and Vazquez knows that. He's been traded three times already in his career and he's pitching his best right now with a 5-0 record in his last seven starts. ``For me a lot of years I've been hearing my name, especially around this time,'' Vazquez said. ``I don't give it any importance.''


SEATTLE: Manager John McLaren can't explain the split personality of Horacio Ramirez, the left-hander who's 5-0 with a 2.27 ERA at home and 0-3 with a 15.22 ERA on the road. ``He seems more confident at home. I don't know whether it's the big ballpark, the cool air or the Seattle coffee,'' McLaren said. ``But we need to find out because we're going to need for him to pitch well on the road.'' ... After Ramirez lost Monday night, the Mariners started left-handers Ryan Feierabend and Jarrod Washburn in Tuesday's doubleheader. It's only the second time since July 1999 that the Mariners had left-handed starters in three consecutive games.

TEXAS:
2B Ian Kinsler, on the DL since July 2 with a stress fracture in his left foot, ran the bases Tuesday while still waiting for a special made set of cleats to begin defensive drills. Manager Ron Washington said Kinsler could rejoin the Rangers as early as Tuesday's game at Cleveland after a rehab assignment at Triple-A Oklahoma, where he could play four games Friday through Monday. ... 3B Hank Blalock still isn't making throws to first base. He's running, hitting and fielding grounders, but Blalock still doesn't have all the feeling back in his fingers to make accurate throws. He had surgery in mid-May to remove a rib that was affecting nerves.


BOSTON: DH David Ortiz (strained left shoulder) is expected to in the lineup Wednesday night. ``David's doing real well,'' manager Terry Francona said. ``I will be surprised if he doesn't play.'' Ortiz took batting practice before Tuesday's game. ``I'm feeling better,'' he said. Ortiz was injured when he slid into second base Friday night while trying to stretch a hit into a double. ... With Ortiz out of the lineup, Manny Ramirez was used as the DH for the fourth straight game. ``I think it makes sense,'' Francona said. ``I think it will help us down the road. I think we have to take advantage of it the times when we can do it.'' ... CF Coco Crisp, who has a seven-game hitting streak, was moved into the fifth spot in the batting order Tuesday. ``With the way Coco's swinging the bat, I thought we'd hit him in the middle of the lineup,'' Francona said.

CLEVELAND: RHP Adam Miller, the top pitcher in the Indians' minor league system, will be shut down for the next 10-14 days with an elbow injury the club is hoping is nothing more than inflammation and soreness. An MRI taken Monday in Cleveland revealed swelling in Miller's elbow, an injury the team does not believe is related to the elbow ailment he suffered in 2005 and limited him to 15 starts that season. Miller missed about six weeks earlier this season with a strained ligament in the middle finger of his right hand, a setback that probably cost the 22-year-old a spot in Cleveland's rotation. ... LHP C.C. Sabathia, who turned 27 last Saturday, entered Tuesday's start with more wins (94) than any pitcher in the majors under 28. Chicago's Jon Garland, who will turn 29 on Sept. 2, is second with 89 wins.


TAMPA BAY: RHP Juan Salas, suspended May 7 for 50 games for violating baseball's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, rejoined the Devil Rays after being recalled from Triple-A Durham. Salas said he tested positive for a banned substance that was in something he drank while in the Dominican Republic before spring training. ``The thing I regret is that I wasn't able to help the team the two months I was out,'' Salas said through a translator, bullpen coach Bobby Ramos. ... C Josh Paul, on the 60-day DL since May 24 with a left elbow strain, began a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Montgomery on Tuesday that will last through Thursday, manager Joe Maddon said. Paul could be activated Friday, Maddon added.

BALTIMORE: SS Miguel Tejada had the broken bone near his left wrist examined Tuesday and was cleared to participate in baseball activities. He hopes to play in two minor league games before being activated from the disabled list Friday. ... Closer Chris Ray was unavailable Tuesday night because of inflammation in his right elbow. He also has a bone spur there, making him a possible candidate for the DL. His condition will be assessed Wednesday.


MINNESOTA:
Manager Ron Gardenhire said DH Rondell White and C Joe Mauer will likely get the day off when the Twins and Blue Jays end their three-game series Wednesday afternoon. C Mike Redmond, who has missed the past four games with a sore hand, is expected to start. ... LHP Dennys Reyes has not allowed an earned run in 17 appearances since coming off the disabled list June 14. Reyes missed 17 games because of inflammation in his left shoulder. ... Entering Tuesday, Twins batters had struck out 500 times this season, the second-lowest total in the major leagues. Seattle (477) has the fewest strikeouts.

TORONTO:
With an off day Thursday, manager John Gibbons said he will give each of his starters an extra day of rest, meaning RHP Josh Towers will start the opener of a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox on Friday. ... RHP A.J. Burnett (sore shoulder) will throw a simulated game Friday. Burnett landed on the disabled list for the second time this season July 1. ... OF Alex Rios is batting .408 (20-for-49) since the All-Star break. ... Blue Jays batters have hit 14 home runs since the break, the second-highest total in the AL. New York (22) has the most.


NEW YORK: Manager Joe Torre gave rookie DH Shelley Duncan the night off, batting Johnny Damon leadoff in the DH role. ... RHP Joba Chamberlain, selected 41st overall in the 2006 amateur draft, was promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Tuesday. ... Owner George Steinbrenner met with his top advisers for 90 minutes Tuesday, discussing potential moves before the July 31 deadline for trades without waivers. ... The Yankees are playing their fourth straight four-game series since the All-Star break. They won three games in each of the first three and took the first game of the series against Kansas City, 9-2 on Monday.

KANSAS CITY: The Royals activated RHP Scott Elarton from the 15-day disabled list to start Tuesday night's game. Elarton had missed 26 games with a sprained right foot. To make room on the roster, the Royals optioned right-handed reliever Ryan Braun to Triple-A Omaha. ... Before the game, Kansas City honored broadcaster Denny Matthews, who will be inducted into baseball's Hall of Fame this weekend as the 2007 winner of the Ford C. Frick Award. ... Tuesday was the 24th anniversary of the ``Pine Tar Game'' between the Royals and Yankees. The Royals handed out T-shirts bearing the name and number of Hall of Famer George Brett - and also bearing black, tar-like smears.


OAKLAND: Two of the Athletics' picks from last month's draft attended Friday night's game at Angel Stadium along with Craig Weissmann, one of the team's amateur scouts. SS/CF Gary Brown (12th round) from Diamond Bar High School, has a scholarship offer from Cal State Fullerton. OF Nick Longmire (37th round) from Grossmont High in San Diego, has an offer from the University of Pacific in Stockton, Calif. ``I told Nick if he likes Stockton a lot, we've got a ballclub there - probably a better team to play on for a future big leaguer,'' Weissmann said. ``This is a great experience for both of them, as high school kids, to be able to get on a major league field and taste that. Hopefully they'll enjoy it and figure out the way you get here is to sign a contract, start playing ball and work your way up here.''

LOS ANGELES: RHP Bartolo Colon, the 2005 AL Cy Young winner, went on the 15-day DL with a sore right elbow. He left Monday night's game after pitching the first inning against Oakland. He gave up four runs on four hits and one walk during his brief stint in the Angels' 12-6 loss. The 34-year-old Colon will undergo further tests to determine the cause of irritation in his elbow. ... The Angels optioned INF Kendry Morales to Triple-A Salt Lake and called up right-handed pitchers Greg Jones and Marcus Gwyn from Salt Lake.

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Notes from Tuesday's NL games
July 24, 2007

WASHINGTON: RHP Shawn Hill threw 20 pitches in live batting practice for Class-A Potomac on Monday. Hill, on the disabled list since May because of a strained left shoulder, is scheduled to throw a two-inning, 35-pitch simulated game on Wednesday. ... Manager Manny Acta was pleased that INF Ronnie Belliard agreed Monday to a $3.5 million, two-year contract extension through the 2009 season. ``It's a great sign,'' Acta said. ``It gives us big peace of mind knowing we have a guy that can go out there and play every day.'' ... The Nationals are over .500 since early May, off their opening-month mark that had them well on pace for one of the worst records in baseball history. ``Those predictions to me were kind of ridiculous,'' Acta said. ``If you do things right, you'll win your share of games.''

PHILADELPHIA: That wasn't dirt rubbed on Cole Hamels' face for a recent magazine photo shoot that made him look like a coal miner. Hamels said it was crushed Oreos. ... Manager Charlie Manuel said he hoped injured closer Brett Myers (shoulder) would return for this weekend's series against Pittsburgh. ... 1B Ryan Howard was the NL player of the week. ... RHP Jose Mesa needs two more appearances to become the 11th pitcher in baseball history to reach 1,000.


PITTSBURGH: OF Xavier Nady, traded from the Mets last season, received warm applause when he was announced in the starting lineup. He doubled in his first at-bat. ... SS Jack Wilson was back in the lineup, batting eighth, after he sat on Sunday so the newly acquired Cesar Izturis could make his first start with the Pirates. The deal has freed up the Pirates to trade Wilson, a former All-Star. ... OF Jason Bay hit a solo homer in the fourth inning, tying him for the team lead with Nady and 1B Adam LaRoche.

NEW YORK: OF Moises Alou's expected return from the disabled list was pushed back to the end of the week, after an MRI exam on Tuesday showed tendinitis in the outfielder's right shoulder. The 41-year-old Alou hurt himself Sunday taking a swing in a rehab game. ``Actually, I'm pleased with the results. It could have been worse,'' Alou said. ``I'm feeling a lot better today.'' ... New York Islanders goalie and general manager Rick DiPietro took batting practice with the Mets before Tuesday's game. He was asked what would happen if Mets starter Tom Glavine, a draft pick of the Los Angeles Kings, were to shoot on him. ``During the offseason? He'd probably score a couple on me,'' DiPietro said. ... The Mets agreed to terms with their first pick in June's draft, right-hander Eddie Kunz. He agreed to a minor league contract with a $720,000 signing bonus.


MILWAUKEE: The Brewers planned to evaluate Bill Hall's right ankle following his two-day rehab appearance with their rookie Arizona team. Hall has been on the DL since he sprained the ankle on July 6. ... 1B Prince Fielder made an over-the-shoulder catch of Norris Hopper's foul ball in the second inning, ending a scoring threat. ... Fielder's triple off the left-field wall in the fourth was his first of the season and the second of his career. Adam Dunn jumped against the wall to try to catch the ball, but missed the ball. ... Yovani Gallardo's singled up the middle drove in a run in the fourth. It was the rookie's second hit in 13 at_bats. He doubled home a run in his first big-league plate appearance.

CINCINNATI: OF Josh Hamilton is to have his sprained right wrist examined Thursday or Friday. Hamilton, who hurt the wrist while swinging, has been on the DL since July 12. ``It's OK,'' Hamilton said. ``It doesn't hurt. That's a good sign.'' ... RF Ken Griffey Jr. made an over-the-shoulder catch of Damian Miller's fly to the wall in the second inning. In the third, he made a diving catch of Craig Counsell's sinking liner and doubled Rickie Weeks off first base. ... SS Alex Gonzalez, who went on the bereavement list July 14 and was moved to the restricted list on Saturday, worked out at the ballpark. ``He's not ready to play,'' interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ``Were in a holding pattern. His wife's still in the hospital, but he might be ready to go on Friday. Everything's up in the air.''


LOS ANGELES: Closer Takashi Saito, who has not been available the previous five games because of an ailing shoulder blade, played catch Tuesday and the Dodgers think he might return soon. ``I like the way he felt playing catch,'' manager Grady Little said. ``I feel pretty optimistic about (Saito pitching) tomorrow or Thursday.'' Saito is anxious. ``It has been five days of inactivity,'' he said through an interpreter. ``I'm looking forward to getting reacquainted with the mound.'' C Russell Martin is 4-for-30 over the previous seven games but still is hitting .301 for the season. ``He's scuffling but even guys hitting .300 go through that,'' Little said. ``He could get three tonight and be all right. He's feeling good and he's still playing good behind the plate.'' Dodgers reliever Jonathan Broxton hasn't allowed a home run in one year, since the Padres' Mike Cameron hit one July 24. ``I wish you hadn't told me that,'' Little said with a laugh. ``But with his kind of stuff, you can see how that might happen.''

HOUSTON: CF Hunter Pence, placed on the DL Monday with a broken wrist, was in the clubhouse before the game. Pence wore a Velcro-type brace on the wrist, which he hurt while sliding into second Sunday against Pittsburgh. He's expected to be out 4-to-6 weeks. ``It feels better today,'' Pence said. ``It's frustrating but there's nothing I can do. I'll just deal with it and do everything I can to get back as soon as I can.'' Pence has injured both wrists in the past sliding into bases. ``I just need to make an adjustment. I need to work on it,'' he said. Jason Lane, just up from Triple A Round Rock to replace Pence, started Tuesday in center field. Manager Phil Garner says several players will vie for playing time in that spot including Eric Bruntlett, Lane, Chris Burke and Luke Scott ``in that order.''


CHICAGO: 1B Derrek Lee returned to the lineup after serving a five-game suspension for his role in a June 16 brawl with the San Diego Padres. Lee dropped his appeal, in part, because of a sore left ankle after fouling a pitch off it last Tuesday. The Cubs were 3-2 without Lee and manager Lou Piniella said ``we were fortunate. You lose your big bats like that, you start missing them.'' The Cubs' No. 3 hitters were 5-for-14 with four walks and scored five runs while Lee was out. ... GM Jim Hendry is accompanying the team on a six-game trip with the team surging and the trade deadline nearing. ``We've gotten ourselves in a good position,'' Piniella said.

ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals began a stretch of seven games in six days against the two teams they're chasing in the NL Central, starting with a three-game series against the Cubs followed by four games in three days against the Brewers. ``Whoever we're playing, we can't afford to have a bad week,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ... RHP Anthony Reyes, 0-10 this year and with 12 straight losses dating to last September, is likely to be recalled from Triple-A Memphis to pitch one game of a double-header against Milwaukee on Saturday. Reyes could stay, given the team's dire shortage of starters, if he fares well. ``I think he's the guy that makes the most sense,'' La Russa said. ... La Russa loaded his lineup with left-handed hitters against Carlos Zambrano, resulting with a day off for SS David Eckstein but said Eckstein would start the next two days.


SAN DIEGO: C Michael Barrett is appealing the one-game suspension and fine he received Tuesday. Barrett and manager Bud Black were ejected in the fifth inning of Sunday's game with the Phillies after Barrett argued with home plate umpire Chris Guccione on a called third strike. ... Black and RHP Scott Linebrink had a meeting a day after Linebrink surrendered a game-tying three-run homer to Matt Holliday. ``Maybe it is time for him to step back,'' Black said. ``I've decided that he would no longer be used exclusively in the eighth inning.''

COLORADO: RHP Jason Hirsh (right ankle) said he felt fine after a 66-pitch rehab start at Triple-A Colorado Springs. ``I didn't feel like I was impeded, minimal soreness, I got after it like I normally would,'' said Hirsh, who gave up two runs on six hits in five innings. Manager Clint Hurdle said the next step is an 85-pitch rehab start at Colorado Springs on Saturday. ... SS Troy Tulowitzki was a scratch because of an undisclosed illness. Jamey Carroll started in his place.

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Johnson acknowledges he might not return this season, or ever
Associated Press

PHOENIX -- Randy Johnson pitched to batters for the first time in his latest comeback from a back injury on Tuesday and then acknowledged the possibility that he might not return this season -- or maybe ever.

"I think everybody in this clubhouse, maybe not the players but the coaching staff and front office, would like to know, and I would like to know, whether I'm going to be able to pitch and help this organization," he said. "If not, I think that I need to take care of things and they would need to take care of things."

The 43-year-old left-hander didn't elaborate but said what he will do depends on how he feels Tuesday night and Wednesday, after throwing 42 pitches to batters before the Arizona Diamondbacks played the Florida Marlins.

"Obviously, if I can come back and pitch," Johnson said, "it's almost like they just made a trade."

It was the first time Johnson had pitched to batters since his appearance against the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 29. He threw the equivalent of three innings and admitted he was tired.

"It's been almost 24 days since I pitched," Johnson said. "I think when you haven't done anything, let alone something like that, physically and competitively for 24 days, my stamina was not what I like it to be."

After two difficult seasons with the New York Yankees, Johnson was traded to Arizona in January, signing a two-year, $26 million contract to return to the team where he had gone 104-39 in six seasons, winning four Cy Young Awards and a World Series championship.

He underwent back surgery in the offseason and started the season on the DL as he worked his way back. When he took the mound, he went 4-3 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts. In one stretch, he was the best starter in the Arizona rotation.

But he went back to the DL with muscle tightness on June 11. He returned but was ineffective and was placed on the disabled list retroactive to June 29. Then came the diagnosis: a herniated disk in his lower back.

There would be no surgery. Instead, Johnson worked his way back under the direction of noted personal trainer Brett Fischer.

Johnson said he had no pain while pitching Thursday.

"I'm fine right now," he said, "but we'll have to see. I'm not going to have it right away. It will come later on today and tomorrow when my body starts stiffening up."

Johnson said he would need at least one more bullpen session to improve his endurance before considering a return.

Manager Bob Melvin said he was satisfied with Johnson's performance.

"He threw the ball pretty well for a guy who's been off the better part of a month now," Melvin said. "We'll see how he feels tomorrow and see what the next step is."

Melvin said Johnson's presence, as well as his performance, helps the team.

"Every time he went out there, we thought we were going to win the game," Melvin said. "He makes everybody in the rotation better. He's a guy that's carried the team on his shoulders. The weight and the focus and everything is on him when he's out there. He's not afraid to pitch in the spotlight. When we lost him, it hurt us."

Johnson will ultimately decide whether he returns to pitch with roughly the same injury that he had a year ago, before his surgery.

"More than anybody he's the guy who knows how he's feeling, and we'll have to go based on that," Melvin said. "He's the guy who's been through it and has the experience pitching with it. We're not in his body and we don't know how he feels."

And if the Big Unit hurts too much to return?

"I'll cross whatever bridge I have to when the time comes," Johnson said. "Right now, I've thrown some pitches today. We'll see how I feel and go from there."

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Re: MLB News and Notes July - 25

A's place SS Crosby on DL
July 25th, 2007

Anaheim, CA (Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics placed shortstop Bobby Crosby on the 15-day disabled list prior to the team's game against the LA Angels of Anaheim Wednesday.

Crosby left Tuesday's 4-3 victory over the Angels in the eighth inning after getting hit by a pitch on his left hand.

Justin Speier's inside fastball hit Crosby squarely on his hand and the infielder winced in pain. After walking to first base while being examined by the team trainer, Crosby was removed from the game in favor of Eric Chavez.

Crosby went 2-for-2 with a run scored prior to the injury.

This is the fifth career stop on the DL for the oft-injured shortstop, who is batting just .226 with eight home runs and 31 RBI in 93 games this season.

To replace Crosby on the roster, the A's recalled infielder Donnie Murphy from Triple-A Sacramento.

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