MLB News and Notes August - 17

MLB News and Notes August - 17

Notes from Thursday's games
August 16, 2007

CHICAGO: C A.J. Pierzynski was charged with a passed ball in the ninth, his 11th of the season. ... White Sox general manager Ken Williams called for a closed door meeting before Thursday's game against Oakland. The theme of the meeting was patience at the plate. ... Chicago is 6-27 at Oakland since 2001. ... The bullpen's streak of 29 consecutive innings without an earned run ended when LHP Boone Logan gave up a solo home run to Shannon Stewart in the seventh. ... DH Jim Thome had an RBI-single in the sixth to snap his streak of eight games without an RBI, his longest drought since 2004. ... SS Juan Uribe singled in the seventh to extend his hitting streak to seven games. Uribe is batting .393 (11 for 28) in that span.

OAKLAND: DH Mike Piazza hit just the eighth triple of his career leading off the second. It's Piazza's first triple since Sept. 22, 2006. ... The A's won all three games against Chicago, marking their first series sweep of three games or more at home since Sept. 19-21, 2006. ... OF Travis Buck stole his fourth base of the season in the ninth. ... RHP Dan Haren has pitched fewer than seven innings in nine of his last 10 starts. He lasted six innings and didn't get the decision in Thursday's win over Chicago. ... RHP Andrew Brown allowed a run in the seventh, snapping his scoreless streak at 15 innings. ... LHP Dan Meyer will make the first start of his major league career Friday against Kansas City. He will also be the 49th player the A's have used this season, matching a team record set in 1997.


DETROIT: SS Carlos Guillen hit his third career grand slam and second this season. ... C Ivan Rodriguez returned to the lineup after a bout with the flu that has infected several Tigers players, but 2B Placido Polanco was still sidelined. Relief pitcher Todd Jones also was feeling better. The Yankees advised their players and staff not to have too much close contact with the Tigers to avoid catching the virus. New York manager Joe Torre said he called Detroit counterpart Jim Leyland to tell him it was ``nothing personal.'' ... Rookie RHP Jair Jurrjens is scheduled to get another start next Tuesday against Cleveland. He made his major league debut Wednesday night against the Indians and took the loss. ... LHP Andrew Miller is slated to make another rehab start for Triple-A Toledo on Monday. ... Injured reliever Joel Zumaya (finger) is expected to make another minor league rehab appearance Saturday. If all goes well, he is likely to be activated Tuesday.

NEW YORK:
Minor league infielder Chris Basak was claimed off waivers by the Minnesota Twins. ... INF Miguel Cairo was released. ... Hideki Matsui extended his hitting streak to 11 games. ... In honor of his 500th homer, 3B Alex Rodriguez was given the Key to the City of New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. ... RHP Andrew Brackman, the first-round draft pick who agreed to a contract Wednesday night, was optioned to the Gulf Coast League Yankees. He saw Dr. James Andrews in Alabama on Wednesday and is expected to have ``Tommy John'' surgery. General manager Brian Cashman said that had not been determined yet.


LOS ANGELES:
Manager Mike Scioscia said RHP John Lackey will start the first game of Friday's doubleheader at Boston, while RHP Earvin Santana will be called up from Triple-A Salt lake between games to start the nightcap. ... Scioscia said the Angels could make another roster move before Saturday night's game, and that INF Howie Kendrick (fractured finger) could be ready to be activated. ... RHP Bartolo Colon (right elbow) will throw between 30 and 40 pitches in a simulated game in Boston on Saturday. ... C Mike Napoli (strained right hamstring) ran Thursday but is still sore and will not be activated this weekend, Scioscia said. Napoli, who went on the disabled list July 28, will likely need a rehab assignment before returning, according to Scioscia.

TORONTO: Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said exploratory surgery could be required to determine what is wrong with LHP Gustavo Chacin (left shoulder). Chacin (2-1, 5.60) has not pitched since April 28 and is not expected to pitch for the Blue Jays again this season. ... RHP Brandon League (strained right oblique) played catch in the outfield Thursday and reported no pain, manager John Gibbons said. League is eligible to return August 20. ... SS Ray Olmedo started Thursday in place of SS John McDonald, who got the day off.


KANSAS CITY: RHP Brandon Duckworth had a shaky rehab start for Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday night, giving up five runs in the first inning of a two-inning stint in a 6-3 loss to Iowa. The organization is going slow with Duckworth, who remains on a 45-50 pitch limit after he went on 15-day DL on June 14 due to a left rib cage strain. Duckworth will have at least one more rehab start and the Royals would like to add him to the rotation by the end of August. ... The Royals started the night with 52 wins, a number they didn't attain last season until Sept. 5.

TEXAS: Manager Ron Washington is still undecided as to the identity of Tuesday night's starter at Baltimore. RHP Edinson Volquez, 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA for Triple-A Oklahoma after starting the season at Class A Bakersfield, is considered a top candidate to join the Rangers' rotation. ... Injuries have scuttled the team's plans for Kevin Millwood, Vicente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy and Kameron Loe to be the mainstays of the rotation. McCarthy became the latest to go on the 15-day DL because of a stress fracture in his right shoulder. ``People talk about how many times we've actually been able to go through our rotation and it hasn't been very much, three or four times,'' pitching coach Mark Connor said. ``It's been a hard year, a frustrating year, whatever you want to call it. Everybody's had some issue but life goes on and you've got to deal with it.'' ... 3B Hank Blalock's goal in his comeback from rib surgery is to be in the lineup on Aug. 31 against the Los Angeles Angels. But he avoids shorter-term goals. ``You set yourself up for disappointment,'' Blalock said. ``But I'd love to play in Anaheim on the 31st.''


ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals beat the Brewers Thursday 8-0 to sweep the three-game series and extend their winning streak to a season-high five games. St. Louis pulled to within 2 1/2 games of Milwaukee, the closest they have been to the Central Division leaders since April. ... Yadier Molina hit two home runs Thursday for his first multihomer game. He had just one homer previously this season. ``Everybody was happy,'' Molina said. ``We knew that if we score first, we've got (Adam) Wainwright on the mound, we've got a chance to win.'' ... Cardinals manager Tony La Russa was not sure about the availability of OF Juan Encarnacion for the team's upcoming series against the Cubs. Encarnacion (sore left knee) was out of the lineup for the seventh straight game.

MILWAUKEE: The Brewers' 8-0 loss Thursday to the Cardinals was their 13th in 18 games. St. Louis swept the three-game series as it beat Milwaukee for the fifth straight game. Brewers starters are 1-9 in their last 17 outings. The loss marked a season-high four-game home losing streak. ... RHP Ben Sheets, on the disabled list since July 16 with a partial tendon tissue tear in his right middle finger, threw a bullpen session Thursday morning and is expected to throw a simulated game in Arizona next week. Brewers manager Ned Yost knows the team needs its ace back in the rotation, but Yost won't rush his return. ``I want to make sure he feels good and he's free and easy,'' Yost said.


CINCINNATI: It is still undecided who will pitch Saturday at Milwaukee after interim manager Pete Mackanin's top two choices, RHP Victor Santos and LHP Mike Gosling, worked in relief Wednesday and Thursday. Mackanin said the team would likely call up a starter from its farm system. ... LHP Mike Stanton had a rough day. He faced four hitters and gave up four runs on three hits and a walk. Stanton was also hit by a line drive by Jacques Jones that turned into an RBI single. ``Stanton got hit on the calf,'' Mackanin said. ``It wasn't off the bone or a joint, so I think he's going to be fine.'' ... OF Ken Griffey Jr. made three outstanding catches Thursday and went 3-for-4. Griffey batted .500 (7-for-14) over the three-game series in Chicago and has a career batting average of .315 (41-for-130) at Wrigley Field. ... The 20 hits were the most allowed by Reds pitching since giving up 21 to the Indians on June 25, 2005.

CHICAGO: The Cubs last had a 20-hit game against the Pirates at Pittsburgh last Aug. 30. ... Aramis Ramirez's four hits tied his career high. He's done it 15 times. ... Rookie lefty Carmen Pignatiello, from the Chicago suburbs, made his major league debut by pitching a scoreless eighth. He's the 11th rookie to appear for the Cubs this season and the eighth player to make his major league debut for the team. ... Jason Marquis has reached double digit wins for the fourth straight year, but won't get to pitch against the Cardinals this weekend because his turn in the rotation won't come up. He's not surprised St. Louis, his former team, is making a run after a slow start. ``They've been playing better, Milwaukee is stumbling and we've been treading water,'' Marquis said. ``One thing Tony (La Russa) always preached over there was execution and minimizing mental mistakes. You don't have to have the most talented team to do that and it doesn't take the most talented team to win.''


NEW YORK: 1B Carlos Delgado (hyperextended left knee) and RF Lastings Milledge (flu-like symptoms) were out of the lineup Thursday night in Pittsburgh. Neither player is expected to be out more than a day or two. ... OF Endy Chavez, on the disabled list for than two months with a strained left hamstring, was 2-for-3 with a walk as a designated hitter for the Mets' Gulf Coast League team Thursday afternoon. ... RHP Pedro Martinez's next rehabilitation start will be Monday for Class A St. Lucie, with Mets pitching coach Rick Peterson expected to attend on his off day. ... C Ramon Castro (sore lower back) is expected to be ready to start this weekend in Washington. He hasn't played since Sunday.

PITTSBURGH: The Phillies and Pirates had one of the NL's best rivalries in the late 1970s, annually competing for the NL East title. Now that they're in separate divisions, the two in-state opponents rarely meet. The Phillies will visit PNC Park on Friday for the first time in nearly 16 months, or since April 30, 2006. The Pirates are 12-7 against Philadelphia in PNC Park. ... 3B Neil Walker, the Pirates' first-round draft pick in 2004, had a .341 average with nine RBIs in his last 10 games for Double-A Altoona through games of Wednesday. The streak raised his average to .287. Walker is among those under consideration for a September callup. ... RHP Brian Tracy, the son of Pirates manager Jim Tracy, is 3-1 with a 5.30 ERA in 18 2-3 innings at short-season Class A State College.


ARIZONA: RHP Brandon Webb takes a franchise-record streak of 33 consecutive scoreless innings into his start Friday at Atlanta. He's 1-1 with a 1.53 ERA in four starts against the Braves. ... For the first time, the Diamondbacks will face a Braves lineup that includes slugger Mark Teixeira. ``It seems like he hits a home run for them every day,'' Arizona manager Bob Melvin said. ... Rookie RF Justin Upton was held out of the lineup Thursday at Florida, with recently recalled Jeff Salazar making the start. Melvin said he may give OFs Chris Young and Eric Byrnes a day off soon. ``That's the luxury of having another outfielder here,'' Melvin said.

FLORIDA: 1B Mike Jacobs had four hits Wednesday, making him 10-for-18 since an 0-for-33 slump. ... LHP Scott Olsen will try to change his luck against the NL West when he starts Friday against San Francisco. He's 0-4 with an ERA of 8.10 against the West this year.


PHILADELPHIA: LF Pat Burrell is in a mini-slump at No. 3 in the batting order, but manager Charlie Manuel said there's no ready alternative. Asked when he might have someone else bat third, Manuel said: ``When I see somebody start hitting.'' 2B Chase Utley held the third spot before going on the DL with a broken hand last month. ... The Phillies-Nationals series featured two of the top bullpens since the beginning of July. Entering Thursday's game, Philadelphia's bullpen ERA since July 1 was 3.11 - third best in the NL behind leader Washington (2.55 ERA) and Colorado.

WASHINGTON: 1B Nick Johnson will have another surgery on his broken right leg and will not play this year. Johnson broke his right femur in a collision with Austin Kearns on Sept. 23, 2006. His recovery has been slowed by an ailing hip. ``We just couldn't quite get over the hump with his hip,'' GM Jim Bowden said. ... The Nationals reached an unusual deal with draft pick LHP Jack McGeary, a high schooler dropped to the sixth round because he was expected to pitch for Stanford. He will go to Stanford but will pitch in Washington's farm system from June to September for the next three years. ``All my life I've wanted to go to Stanford, and all my life I've wanted to be a major league baseball player,'' McGeary said. ``So if you can do two at the same time, why wouldn't you do it?''


SAN FRANCISCO: One night after hitting his 759th homer, LF Barry Bonds wasn't in the Giants lineup. Dave Roberts took over his spot in the field. ... LHP Pat Misch joined the Giants bullpen, his third stint with the big league club this season. Misch was called up after Wednesday's game to replace RHP Randy Messenger, who went on the disabled list after breaking his left hand in a batting-practice mishap. ``We need some help in the pen,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``He gives us a fresh arm.'' ... IF Rich Aurilia is expected to come off the disabled list before Friday's game at Florida. He went out Aug. 2 with a strained right hamstring.

ATLANTA: SS Edgar Renteria worked out his sprained right ankle before the game, doing some light running from the foul line to center field. He's eligible to come off the disabled list Saturday but may have to spend a few extra days on the sideline. ``It's close,'' Renteria said. ``I can walk perfectly. But in this game you have to run.'' ... The Braves went past 2 million in attendance this week, the 17th year in a row they've reached that milestone. Atlanta came into Thursday's game having drawn 2,068,562 - an average of just under 34,000 per outing. If the Braves can maintain that pace, they would draw their highest attendance since over 2.8 million tickets were sold in 2001.


HOUSTON: 2B Craig Biggio, who joined the 3,000-hit club June 28, played his final game at Dodger Stadium and honored in a pre-game ceremony. ``He's perfectly at peace with himself - for the first time in his life, I think,'' Astros manager Phil Garner said. ``He's gotten to the point where he can sit back and say, 'Wow, I have accomplished all these things. This is nice.''' Former teammates Luis Gonzalez and Jeff Kent presented Biggio with a framed box score from his best game at Dodger Stadium, Sept. 14, 1989. ... LHP Wandy Rodriguez, who started against the Dodgers, entered with a 1.65 ERA in 12 starts at home and an 8.16 ERA in 11 starts on the road. His difference of 6.51 was the largest in the majors since 1957. ... OF Carlos Lee has started all 121 games this season. He played in at least 161 games in each of the last two seasons.

LOS ANGELES: Astros 2B Craig Biggio has certainly made an impression on Dodgers manager Grady Little during his career. ``Consistency. He played the game right,'' Little said, adding that the one thing that stood out about Biggio was he played the same way no matter what the score might be. ... OF Matt Kemp, in and out of the lineup since being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas on June 12, batted third for the third straight game. ``You never know,'' Little said when asked if Kemp was in the lineup at No. 3 indefinitely. ``His productivity will dictate that.'' ... Little said there were no new developments with LHP Randy Wolf, a nine-game winner who hasn't pitched since July 3 because of a sore left shoulder. ... OF Juan Pierre entered with 10 hits in 17 at_bats during a four-game stretch, raising his average to .288. Pierre has 142 hits, but has drawn only 23 walks for a .324 on-base percentage. ``He needs to be better than he has been,'' Little said. ``He's capable.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 17

Baseball Today - August 17
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Friday, Aug. 17

Arizona at Atlanta (7:35 p.m. EDT). Brandon Webb has thrown 33 straight scoreless innings for the Diamondbacks.

STARS Thursday

-Kurt Suzuki, Athletics, hit a game-winning home run in the 10th inning to lift Oakland over the Chicago White Sox 8-5.

-Yadier Molina, Cardinals, hit a pair of homers as St. Louis blanked Milwaukee 8-0.

-Mark DeRosa, Cubs, went 5-for-5 with four RBIs and the Chicago Cubs beat Cincinnati 12-4.

-Derek Lowe, Dodgers, allowed five hits in seven scoreless innings to win for the first time in almost two months and the Los Angeles Dodgers topped Houston 6-2.

TIGHT NL CENTRAL

St. Louis completed a three-game sweep of NL Central-leading Milwaukee on Thursday to close to within 2 1/2 games of the division lead for the first time since April 20. The Cardinals outscored the Brewers 28-7 in the series. Milwaukee has lost 13 of their last 18 games. ... The Chicago Cubs pounded out a season-high 20 hits in a 12-4 win over Cincinnati to move to a half-game behind the Brewers going into a four-game home series against the Cardinals.

NO BONDS, NO PROBLEM

Even with Barry Bonds on the bench, San Francisco put on quite a power display. The Giants homered in each of the first four innings off Chuck James, scored in every inning until the eighth and went on to beat the Atlanta Braves 9-3 Thursday night, salvaging the finale of a three-game series. Bonds got the night off after hitting his 759th career homer on Wednesday.

COMEBACK

The New York Mets fell 10-7 to Pittsburgh on Thursday and lost a game after having a lead of at least five runs for the first time since April 30, 2004, at San Diego, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Jason Bay had three run-scoring singles and Adam LaRoche hit a two-run homer to help the Pirates rally from deficits of 5-0 and 7-3. The Mets would have swept a road series for the first time since May with a win. They haven't swept a series in Pittsburgh since Sept. 2001.

ROAD WOES

Wandy Rodriguez allowed five hits and four runs, two earned, in five innings and was the losing pitcher in Houston's 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Thursday. The 28-year-old left-hander is 6-2 with a 1.65 ERA in 12 starts at home and 1-9 with a 7.80 ERA in 12 starts on the road.

STREAKS

Kelvim Escobar allowed one run in seven innings to pick up the win in the Los Angeles Angels' 4-3 win over Toronto on Thursday. Escobar has now worked at least six innings in each of his past eight starts. ... The Blue Jays extended their run of consecutive games with a double to 23 in the loss, the longest active streak in the AL. ... Hanley Ramirez extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games in Florida's 5-4 loss to Arizona. That's the longest active streak in the major leagues. ... Cole Hamels pitched 6 2-3 innings to pick up his 14th win of the season in Philadelphia's 4-2 victory over Washington. He has now pitched into the seventh inning in his last six starts.

SPEAKING

''Maybe with an aluminum bat in my hand, but not wood.'' - Kurt Suzuki, when asked the last time he had hit a ball as far as his game-winning, three-run home run in the 10th inning that lifted the Oakland Athletics to an 8-5 win over the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

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Cashman says A-Rod's gone if he opts out
Star-Ledger Staff

NEW YORK -- That the Yankees won't go after Alex Rodriguez on the free-agent market is nothing new. But yesterday was the first time general manager Brian Cashman confirmed that, first in a radio interview on WFAN and then to reporters at Yankee Stadium.

"How can we?" Cashman said. "We'd lose all our money from Texas."

Rodriguez's former team, the Rangers, will contribute more than $30 million of the remaining $81 million that A-Rod would make on the final three years of his current contract. If Rodriguez opts out of his contract, which he can do after this season, any new deal the Yankees would sign with him would be entirely their responsibility.

"That, financially, doesn't make sense," Cashman said.

Cashman also reiterated that the Yankees had never spoken with either Rodriguez or agent Scott Boras about renegotiating A-Rod's contract midseason, as was reported after the All-Star break.

Though Rodriguez would likely command a record contract as a free agent, he has said several times throughout this season that he wants to remain a Yankee. He has until 10 days after the World Series to opt out.

"We hope he doesn't opt out, we hope he stays," Cashman said. "He's said publicly he wants to stay. We've said publicly we want to keep him."

First-round draft pick Andrew Brackman will report to Class-A Tampa within a few days, and begin what Cashman called a "mini-camp" to evaluate the 6-10, 21-year-old right-hander and possibly begin a throwing program.

Brackman has suffered elbow problems and met with specialist James Andrews as well as Yankee team physicians in Birmingham, Ala., on Wednesday to examine his right elbow. Brackman said yesterday that Andrews couldn't tell if he would need surgery because he had not pitched in three months and was currently pain-free.

Cashman said it wasn't for certain that Brackman would require surgery. "Right now, that hasn't been determined yet," Cashman said.

Jason Giambi started at first base last night for the first time since returning from the disabled list on Aug. 7.

"Oh my God, it's a miracle," Giambi crowed. "The 'Big G' is loose today."

Manager Joe Torre put Giambi in the lineup to have his bat against Detroit's Justin Verlander. Giambi came into last night's game 2-for-3 with a home run off Verlander.

The torn plantar fascia in Giambi's left foot that put him on the DL for more than two months was aggravated a stint at first base on May 3, but Torre said he was more comfortable playing Giambi there sooner.

"I think he's probably best suited now than later on after there's a little wear and tear," Torre said.

Andy Phillips will return to first base today, Torre said.

Mariano Rivera will be shelved for a few days, Torre said, after the closer allowed runs in three straight outings culminating with the three in the 10th inning in a 6-3 loss to the Orioles on Wednesday. But he reiterated that Rivera has no physical problems.

"He has no issues -- if he does, he's keeping it a hell of a secret," Torre said. "Hopefully a day or two off will help him get back to it."

A sign on the wall of the Yankees clubhouse warned players to avoid contact with the Tigers because of a nasty viral infection going around the visiting team. "Just to be careful," Torre said.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 17

Cubs, Zambrano agree to 5-year, $91.5M deal
FOXSports.com

The deal finally is done.

Cubs right-hander Carlos Zambrano has agreed to a five-year, $91.5 million contact extension, FOXSports.com has learned.

The deal, which includes a $19.25 million player option for a sixth year, gives Zambrano the highest average salary ever awarded to a pitcher on a multi-year contract.

It also gives him the highest average salary in Cubs history, surpassing left fielder Alfonso Soriano, who signed an eight-year, $136 million, free-agent contract last off-season.

Zambrano, 26, was eligible for free agency at the end of the season, and almost certainly would have surpassed the seven-year, $126 million deal that the Giants awarded left-hander Barry Zito last off-season.

Both the Mets and Yankees were expected to pursue Zambrano on the open market, along with several other high-revenue teams. But from the beginning, Zambrano said he wanted to remain with the Cubs.

The original five-year deal between Zambrano and the Cubs was worth slightly more than $80 million. But the sale of the team delayed the completion of an agreement, and since then Zambrano has emerged as a Cy Young contender, raising his price.

Zambrano, 26, will be eligible for free agency again at 31, giving him the possibility of landing a second monster deal while still relatively close to his prime.

His signing removes by far the most accomplished pitcher from this winter's free-agent market. Red Sox right-hander Curt Schilling, Diamondbacks right-hander Livan Hernandez, Phillies right-hander Kyle Lohse are among the other free agents who will be available.

Zambrano is 14-9 with a 3.86 ERA this season, 78-51 with a 3.37 ERA lifetime.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 17

Red Sox trade Wily Mo Pena to Nats
August 17, 2007

BOSTON (AP) -The Boston Red Sox traded outfielder Wily Mo Pena and cash to the Washington Nationals on Friday for a player to be named.

The deal let Boston clear a roster spot for pitcher Clay Buchholz. The Red Sox purchased his contract from Triple-A Pawtucket and the righty made his major league debut in the opener of Friday's day-night doubleheader against the Los Angeles Angels.

Pena was a backup for the AL East-leading Red Sox, batting .218 with five home runs and 17 RBIs in 73 games.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 17

     

Twins recall OF Jones; P Perkins starts rehab stint
August 17, 2007

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -The Minnesota Twins recalled outfielder Garrett Jones from Triple-A Rochester on Friday to replace pitcher Ramon Ortiz.

Ortiz was traded Wednesday to Colorado.

Jones, who played briefly with the Twins earlier this season, was hitting .283 with 13 home runs at Rochester.

The Twins also assigned left-hander Glen Perkins Double-A New Britain to begin a rehab assignment. He has been out most of the season because of a strained left shoulder.

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