MLB News and Notes August - 1

MLB News and Notes August - 1

Rangers activate Kinsler off DL
July 31st, 2007

Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - The Texas Rangers activated second baseman Ian Kinsler from the 15-day disabled list on Tuesday.

Kinsler has missed the last 26 games due to a stress fracture in his left foot. In 74 games this season, he has 14 home runs and 35 RBI while batting .241. He hit .385 with three RBI in three games in a rehab stint with Oklahoma.

Also, the Rangers have recalled pitcher A.J. Murray from Oklahoma and designated infielder Desi Relaford for assignment. Murray appeared in one game for Texas this year, while Relaford batted just .115 in 14 games for the club in 2007.

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Athletics release OF Kielty
July 31st, 2007

Oakland, CA (Sports Network) - The Oakland Athletics released outfielder Bobby Kielty on Tuesday.

Kielty, who was designated for assignment on July 23, hit .200 with three RBI in just 13 games this season for the A's.

In 293 games with Oakland, the 30-year-old Kielty hit .250 with 25 home runs and 127 RBI.

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Mets place Beltran on DL
July 31st, 2007

Milwaukee, WI (Sports Network) - The New York Mets placed outfielder Carlos Beltran on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday. The move is retroactive to July 25.

Beltran, 30, was scratched from last Wednesday's 6-3 victory over the Pirates after straining his left abdominal muscle during batting practice. He missed the next five games.

He is batting .263 with 19 homers and 62 RBI in 96 games.

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Phillies place Victorino, Bourn on DL
July 31st, 2007

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - The Philadelphia Phillies placed Shane Victorino and Michael Bourn on the 15-day disabled list after both outfielders were injured in the team's 4-1 over the Cubs on Monday.

Victorino left after the fourth inning, when he suffered a right calf strain running out a ground ball. He was replaced by Bourn, who fell awkwardly on the bullpen mound while chasing down a foul ball with two outs in the fifth inning. After taking a few minutes to recover, Bourn remained in the game, but then left in the seventh inning with a sprained left ankle.

Victorino, the Phillies everyday right fielder, is hitting .286 with 11 home runs, 42 RBI, 72 runs scored and 32 stolen bases this season. Bourn, the team's fourth outfielder, is batting .284 with one home run, six RBI, 25 runs and 18 stolen bases this season.

Phillies assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told MLB.com that Victorino probably could have returned in less than 15 days. Meanwhile, X-Rays taken on Bourn's ankle revealed no breaks.

Philadelphia was already reeling from the loss of All-Star second baseman Chase Utley, who could be out a month with a broken right hand.

The Phillies recalled Chris Roberson from Triple-A Ottawa to take one of the roster spots and are expected to activate outfielder Jayson Werth from the DL on Wednesday. Roberson started in right field against the Cubs on Tuesday.

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Rockies to place Lopez on DL
July 31st, 2007

Miami, FL (Sports Network) - The Colorado Rockies will place pitcher Rodrigo Lopez on the disabled list Tuesday with a torn flexor tendon in his right arm.

Lopez was acquired from Baltimore during the offseason, and will be making his second trip to the DL after having missed more than a month with a strain closer to the elbow.

After striking out James Loney in the seventh inning of Thursday's 5-4 loss to the Dodgers, Lopez left with what was announced as a forearm strain.

Lopez underwent an MRI on Monday, and will be replaced by righty Jason Hirsh, who is finishing a stint on the DL with a sprained right ankle, for Thursday's start against Florida.

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Notes from Tuesday's games
July 31, 2007

BALTIMORE: 2B Brian Roberts homered on the first pitch of the game. The looping fly to right landed on the top of the wall behind Pesky's Pole, about 325 feet from home plate, and bounced into the seats. It was Roberts' ninth homer of the season and his third in the last five games. ... The Orioles announced that manager Dave Trembley will remove the interim tag from his title and finish the season.
   
BOSTON: RHP Mike Timlin (achy shoulder) threw 24 pitches on the side before the game and would be available Wednesday if needed. ... DH David Ortiz hit a two-run homer in the third inning - his first home run against a lefty this season. ... Boston acquired RHP Eric Gagne from the Texas Rangers for LHP Kason Gabbard and minor-league outfielders David Murphy and Engel Beltre. .. RHP Brendan Donnelly will have season-ending elbow surgery.


TEXAS: Manager Ron Washington eagerly welcomed back 2B Ian Kinsler, who missed 26 games with a broken left foot. ``He went on his rehab assignment with a vengeance,'' Washington said of the 25-year-old, who batted .385 (5-for-13) with three RBIs and two steals in three games at Triple-A Oklahoma. ``He told me he didn't want to be there. That's what you want to hear. He went there and played hard.'' ... RHPs Frank Francisco and Joaquin Benoit along with LHP C.J. Wilson will share the closer's role vacated by the trade of RHP Eric Gagne to Boston. ``I expect someone to step up and earn (the spot),'' Washington said. ... Brad Wilkerson started at 1B Tuesday, but Washington said Adam Melhuse and newly acquired Jarrod Saltalamacchia would see action there after the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to Atlanta. ... INF Desi Relaford was designated for assignment after batting .115 (3-for-26) in 14 games.

CLEVELAND: While several other teams were willing to swap young players to help bolster their bullpens before Tuesday's non-waiver trading deadline, Indians GM Mark Shapiro felt the asking price was too high to make a deal. ``We were very active,'' Shapiro said minutes after the deadline passed. ``Only three bullpen guys of impact changed teams. I think it's safe to say we were among the finalists in at least one of those three. In the end, we made the decision to not make some deals and other teams made the decision to not make deals they were offered.'' ... LHP Aaron Fultz could be days away from re-joining the Indians. He pitched a scoreless inning on Tuesday for Class A Lake County. He's been on the disabled list since June 24 with a rib cage strain.


CHICAGO: The White Sox traded OF-INF Rob Mackowiak to San Diego for minor league RHP Jon Link, but were mostly quiet on deadline day. ``We were not going to try to make up deals or change the face of the club for change's sake,'' general manager Kenny Williams said. ``It had to make sense both the short term and the long term. That didn't come about.'' ... OF Darin Erstad (sprained left ankle) was activated from the 15-day DL and took Mackowiak's roster spot. He batted .128 (6-for-47) in a 12-game rehab stint with Triple-A Charlotte.

NEW YORK: The Yankees traded reliever Scott Proctor to the Los Angeles Dodgers for INF Wilson Betemit. ... New York will activate another reliever on Wednesday. Jeff Karstens and Edwar Ramirez are among the candidates. Hard-throwing prospect Joba Chamberlain is not in the mix but could be promoted soon. ... RHP Phil Hughes will be activated in time to start Saturday's game against the Kansas City Royals. ... RHP Mariano Rivera on Boston's acquisition of Eric Gagne: ``I don't care, do not. (If) they got him, they got him.''


TORONTO: The Blue Jays didn't make any last-minute deals before Tuesday's non-waiver deadline ... DH Frank Thomas and LF Reed Johnson were rested and out of the starting lineup. C Curtis Thigpen got first start at DH. ... RHP A.J. Burnett (right shoulder) is scheduled to make a rehab start Wednesday for the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays. However, with the forecast calling for rain, Burnett might pitch in a simulated game at Tropicana Field instead.

TAMPA BAY: RHP Wade Townsend, the Devil Rays' first round pick in the 2005 draft, has experienced some elbow discomfort at Class A Columbus. Executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman said the problem is not considered serious and that the organization is taking extra precautions with Townsend, who missed all of last season after undergoing right elbow ligament surgery. Townsend could resume pitching shortly.... Manager Joe Maddon is hopeful that RHP Dan Wheeler, acquired from Houston Saturday, will become the eighth-inning setup man and fill in for Al Reyes when the closer is not available.


KANSAS CITY: The Royals were sorry to see closer Octavio Dotel go at the trade deadline in a deal with the Atlanta Braves, but the mood in the clubhouse was still positive. ``It's baseball. We're kind of numbed by it all,'' manager Buddy Bell said. ``You just don't really pay a whole lot of attention to it. You just play.'' ... Rookie Joakim Soria will assume the closer duties again with Dotel's departure. He filled in the first seven weeks while Dotel was hurt. RH Kyle Davies, who came from the Braves in the trade, will join the rotation and start sometime this week. ... 2B Mark Grudzielanek's name was mentioned in some trade talks, but he didn't think he was going anywhere. ``It's out of your control,'' he said. ``It's not really something I worry about.''

MINNESOTA: Alexi Casilla was in the lineup at 2B, the day after Luis Castillo was traded to the Mets. The speedy 23-year-old is still raw and prone to erratic play in both the field and on the bases, but the Twins are confident he's improved over the past months in the minors. ``He's still going to have some snafus where he might get picked off at second base or something, but he's gotten better at all that,'' manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... Nick Punto will also play at 2B, as Brian Buscher and Jeff Cirillo get more time at 3B. ... Buscher is ``pretty basic'' in the field, and the Twins would like to ``get a little hot dog'' out of him, Gardenhire said of the team's attempt to work with him on his defense. ``We like consistency, but we also like to see a little leather and flash here and there.''


COLORADO: The trade deadline passed Tuesday without Colorado making a deal. ``It just seemed like we were offered coal, and they wanted gold nuggets,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ``And it just didn't make any sense.'' ... Hurdle turned 50 Monday. ...Struggling C Chris Iannetta was in the starting lineup Tuesday for only the fifth time since the All-Star break. Starter Yorvit Torrealba, hitting .391 in July, got the day off.

FLORIDA: RHP Josh Johnson's exam in Birmingham, Ala., by specialist Dr. James Andrews has been scheduled for Thursday. The Marlins fear Johnson's stiff elbow will require surgery that would sideline him through at least part of the 2008 season. ... 1B Mike Jacobs' wife had twin girls five weeks prematurely Sunday. Each weighed less than 4 pounds, and are in newborn intensive care, and their mother came out of intensive care Tuesday, Jacobs said.


ST. LOUIS: RHP Joel Pineiro, acquired Tuesday from the Boston organization after being demoted to the minors last week, figures to start for the Cardinals on Saturday at Washington. ... Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty accompanied the team on the road trip to Pittsburgh. ... Braden Looper, who starts Wednesday, is 2-0 with an 0.69 ERA in two starts against Pittsburgh this season. He is 1-1 with a 1.10 ERA in nine appearances in PNC Park. Looper has a 1.38 ERA in his eight wins this season and a 10.12 ERA in his eight losses. ... Anthony Reyes (1-10, 6.11 ERA) will start on Thursday in Pittsburgh.

PITTSBURGH: The Pirates held a moment of silence before Tuesday night's game for former OF Bill Robinson, who starred from them in the late 1970s and was a key component of their 1979 World Series championship team. Robinson, a Dodgers minor league hitting coordinator, died Sunday at age 64. Former Pirates manager Chuck Tanner said Tuesday, ``He drove in as many big runs as anyone on that team.'' ... The Pirates talked to the Tigers about possibly dealing SS Jack Wilson at the deadline, but no deal could be worked out. One obstacle is the $14 million-plus Wilson is owed over the next two seasons. ... Newly acquired RHP Matt Morris welcomes working with the Pirates' younger pitchers, one of the reasons cited by Pittsburgh GM Dave Littlefield for acquiring him. Morris said, ``I'm definitely comfortable with talking with guys, and some of mentors I had like Darryl Kile and Todd Stottlemyre have been tremendous in my career to learn from while I'm sitting on the bench. ... Morris on Barry Bonds' pursuit of Hank Aaron's home run record: ``It's been a media circus, and the anticipation of waiting on him to hit it has not been fun.''


CINCINNATI: It's still not clear who'll start games Thursday and Saturday; manager Pete Mackanin said he'd announce those spots Wednesday. LHP Bobby Livingston was moved up from his scheduled start on Thursday to Tuesday, replacing RHP Kyle Lohse - who was traded to Philadelphia on Monday. ... The Reds have won four of seven series under Mackanin. They had lost six straight and 16 of 18 under former manager Jerry Narron. ... SS Alex Gonzalez was activated from the restricted list before Tuesday's game. He was at home, attending to his son's illness since mid-July. The Reds also recalled RHP Elizardo Ramirez and INF Mark Bellhorn from Triple-A Louisville, put INF Juan Castro (elbow) on the 15-day DL (retroactive to July 29), and sent C Chad Moeller to Louisville.

WASHINGTON: LHP Micah Bowie, on the 15-day DL retroactive to June 28 because of a hip injury, made a rehab appearance Tuesday for the Nationals' Gulf Coast League rookie team. He went three shutout innings, allowing two hits and striking out three. He threw 29 pitches, 22 for strikes. ... RHP Shawn Hill said he felt good Tuesday, a day after pitching three shutout innings at Single-A Potomac. Hill went on the DL in May because of left shoulder and right elbow problems. Manager Manny Acta saw the rehab appearance and called it an ``encouraging outing. ... His velocity was there.''


HOUSTON: The Astros are concerned about a drop in the velocity of RHP Jason Jennings' pitches. The location of the pitches also are a concern. Jennings gave up 11 runs in two-thirds of an inning in an 18-11 loss to San Diego on Sunday. ``He says he's fine,'' said manager Phil Garner. ``It's a mystery. He's a control pitcher that's missed his spots.'' Jennings is scheduled to start in Saturday's game at Florida.

ATLANTA:
The Braves called up C Corky Miller from Double-A Mississippi after C Jarrod Saltalamacchia was included in the trade with Texas for 1B Mark Teixeira. The choice for a new backup catcher might have been Brayan Pena at Triple-A Richmond, but manager Bobby Cox said Pena has been playing first base and left field. Miller was in uniform for the game. ... RHP Chad Paronto was optioned to Richmond before the game.


NEW YORK: 2B Luis Castillo, acquired from the Minnesota Twins on Sunday for two minor-leaguers, catcher Drew Butera and outfielder Dustin Martin, made his debut for the Mets. ``I'm happy to be here,'' he said. ``I'm going to be ready to play the game and play hard.'' ... Carlos Beltran was placed on the 15-day disabled list before Tuesday's game. The All-Star outfielder was scratched from last Wednesday's night's 6-3 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates after straining his left abdominal muscle during batting practice. He missed six games before going on the DL, and the move was retroactive to July 25. ... C Paul Lo Duca was out because of the strained right hamstring that forced him to leave during the Mets' 6-5 loss to the Washington Nationals on Saturday night. He wanted to play, especially with Mets pitcher Tom Glavine going for his 300th career victory, but Mets manager Willie Randolph said it didn't make sense to rush Lo Duca back into the lineup.

MILWAUKEE: The Brewers, who lost out when reliever Eric Gagne went to Boston, didn't make any trades before the deadline. ``You want to try to find ways to improve your club a little bit, but not at the sake of giving away some of our really special young prospects,'' manager Ned Yost said. ``I think we're fine. I like our team.'' ... RHP Scott Linebrink, acquired from San Diego last Wednesday for three minor-league pitchers, returned to his home in Austin, TX following Sunday's game to be his wife, Kelly, for the birth of their first child. Ellie Jane, a daughter, was delivered by an unplanned cesarean section. Yost said that Linebrink probably would not return until Friday. The team was looking into administrative relief for a roster move, but doubted that major league baseball would honor the request.


PHILADELPHIA: OF Chris Roberson was called up from Triple-A Ottawa on Tuesday and OF Jayson Werth will be activated from the disabled list Wednesday to fill the spots of injured OF's Shane Victorino (right calf strain) and Michael Bourn (sprained left ankle), who were both placed on the disabled list Tuesday. General manager Pat Gillick said that he received several last-minute offers before Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline from other teams but decided to look internally. ``We like the two guys that we've got,'' he said. ``We thought they were better than anything that we could get out there. ... Both guys have speed and defense.'' ... The Phillies currently have eight players on the disabled list and RHP Tom Gordon and RHP Brett Myers just returned from injury. With only three games separating them from first-place Atlanta, manager Charlie Manuel knows his team can't afford another injury. ``I was looking at the (dugout) steps,'' he said. ``I was scared someone was going to go up those steps or go down them and get hurt.''

CHICAGO: General manager Jim Hendry didn't make a move at the non-waiver trade deadline, but will continue to look for options in the next month. ``A lot of that depends on how we're doing over the next two to four weeks, who stays healthy, and when is 1B Daryl Ward coming back, how (Kerry) well Wood pitches, things like that,'' said Hendry. ... If Wood performs well in a two-inning rehab appearance for Double-A Tennessee on Tuesday, he will likely be activated off the disabled list on Thursday or Friday. Wood has not pitched this season for the Cubs, but Hendry is optimistic that Wood can return successfully. ``I don't think anybody in the clubhouse wants to see him come back more than him. I see a different bounce is his step. I feel real good about his chances,'' said Hendry. ... C Henry Blanco had a setback in his rehab assignment. He hurt his shoulder and the Cubs will make a decision if he will continue to rehab.

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Milwaukee Brewers send 2B Rickie Weeks down to Triple-A Nashville
August 1, 2007

MILWAUKEE (AP) -The Milwaukee Brewers sent slumping second baseman Rickie Weeks to the team's Triple-A farm club in Nashville.
   
Right-handed pitcher Scott Linebrink was placed on leave after the birth of his first child, the team said Wednesday.

Pitcher Elmer Dessens was recalled from his rehabilitation assignment at Nashville and infielder/outfielder Joe Dillon was brought up from Nashville after the Tuesday night's game with the New York Mets.

Weeks was hitting .212 with five homers and 19 runs batted in 75 games. Dillon was batting .317 at Nashville with team highs of 20 home runs and 73 RBI.

Linebrink was acquired from San Diego in a trade last week. Dessens, who spent much of the season on the Brewers' disabled list with a shoulder strain, made three appearances for Nashville, going 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

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Braves cut Franco, option Ascanio to clear spots for Mahay, Dotel
August 1, 2007

ATLANTA (AP) -The Atlanta Braves cleared roster spots for newly acquired relievers Octavio Dotel and Ron Mahay by cutting first baseman Julio Franco and demoting right-handed reliever Jose Ascanio on Wednesday.

Franco was the tough decision for manager Bobby Cox. The 48-year-old Franco was signed by the Braves on July 18 after he was designated for assignment by the New York Mets on July 12.

Franco hit .250 with seven RBIs in 11 games with Atlanta. If Franco is not signed by another team, he could rejoin the Braves in September.

``It's real hard because the guy is doing great; he gave us a spark,'' Cox said.

Franco had been a part-time starter since July 18. The Braves acquired Mark Teixeira from Texas on Tuesday to be the full-time first baseman and he was listed as the cleanup hitter in Wednesday night's lineup against Houston.

The Braves cleared a roster spot for Teixeira on Tuesday by sending right-handed reliever Chad Paronto to Triple-A Richmond.

Scott Thorman, who had been sharing time with Franco, would have had to clear waivers before accepting a minor league assignment. Thorman is hitting only .220 but has 10 homers.

Mahay, a left-hander, came to Atlanta with Teixeira in Tuesday's trade.

Dotel, a right-hander, was acquired in a trade that sent starting pitcher Kyle Davies to Kansas City.

Ascanio was optioned to Double-A Mississippi. He was 0-1 with a 1.29 ERA in five games with Atlanta.

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Buddy Bell resigns as Royals manager, effective at end of season
August 1, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -Buddy Bell resigned as the Kansas City Royals' manager, effective at the end of the season.
   
Bell announced the decision before Wednesday's game against the Minnesota Twins and said he will remain on for the rest of the season. He will join the Royals' front office in 2008 as a senior adviser to general manager Dayton Moore.

``I had to make a choice between managing and my family,'' Bell said, ``and to me that's a no-brainer.''

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Fultz activated by Indians
August 1, 2007

CLEVELAND (AP) -Left-hander Aaron Fultz was activated from the 15-day disabled list Wednesday by the Cleveland Indians, who designated right-hander Fernando Cabrera for assignment.

Fultz had been sidelined since June 24 with a strained right ribcage muscle. Signed as a free agent in December, the 33-year-old went 3-1 with a 1.71 ERA in 32 relief outings for the Indians before experiencing soreness while pitching June 22 in Washington.

He pitched two scoreless innings in a pair of rehab assignments in the minors this week.

Cabrera, 25 went 1-2 with a 5.61 ERA in 24 relief appearances in Cleveland. The Indians have 10 days to trade him, place him on waivers or send him outright to the minors.

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Pirates activate Bautista
August 1st, 2007

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - The Pittsburgh Pirates activated infielder Jose Bautista from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday.

Bautista has been out since suffering a left hand laceration on July 14. When attempting to tag out Atlanta's Chipper Jones a spike caught him on his hand, causing the cut.

Bautista is hitting .258 with seven home runs and 33 runs batted in for the Pirates this season.

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Twins postpone Thursday's game due to bridge collapse
August 1st, 2007

Minneapolis, MN (Sports Network) - The Minnesota Twins have postponed Thursday afternoon's game against the Kansas City Royals due to the tragic bridge collapse along Interstate Highway 35W over the Mississippi River.

The bridge collapsed during the evening rush hour, shortly after 6 p.m. local time, dumping an estimated 50 vehicles into the water and onto the land below, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. It wasn't immediately known how many people were hurt or killed, but CNN reported at least three were dead.

The newspaper also reported several vehicles were on fire and pictures showed a car precariously hanging over the damaged side of the bridge.

"In deference to the tragedy, the Twins, Hennepin County and the Minnesota Ballpark Authority have also postponed Thursday evening's new ballpark groundbreaking ceremony," the team said in a statement.

The bridge is approximately six blocks from the Metrodome, home of the Twins, who were playing the Royals Wednesday night. The stadium is also close to Hennepin County Medical Center, where many of the victims were apparently taken.

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