MLB News and Notes August - 19

MLB News and Notes August - 19

Notes from Saturday's games
August 18, 2007

BALTIMORE: RHP Steve Trachsel won for the first time in 10 starts Saturday as the Orioles beat Toronto 5-3. Baltimore had not won at Rogers Centre since Aug. 8, 2006. ... C J.R. House said the mood in the clubhouse has changed for the better since Dave Trembley replaced Sam Perlozzo as manager on June 18. ``The atmosphere in the past has been bad,'' House said. ``Now it's a totally different scene.'' ... After catcher Ramon Hernandez hit RHP Rob Bell with a throw to second Friday, relievers Chad Bradford, Paul Shuey and Jamie Walker came out for Saturday's pregame stretch wearing homemade targets on their backs.

TORONTO: INF Russ Adams got his first start Saturday since being called up from Triple-A Syracuse on Thursday. Adams started at third base in place of Troy Glaus, who pinch-hit in the ninth inning and struck out. ... OF Matt Stairs homered for the first time in 51 at_bats with a solo shot in the second inning Saturday and has 15 homers this season, his highest total since hitting 18 for Kansas City in 2004. ... RHP Jesse Litsch has not allowed more than three earned runs in each of his past five starts. The rookie has made seven quality starts this season.


DETROIT: All-Star 2B Placido Polanco missed his fifth straight game because of the flu that hit several Tigers recently. He took batting practice and was expected to play Sunday. ... Marcus Thames started at first base and was replaced by Sean Casey in the sixth with Detroit ahead. ... In his second big league game, 20-year-old LF Cameron Maybin had a perfectly executed hit-and-run single for his first career hit. Then he homered to center field off Roger Clemens at Yankee Stadium. ``After the first hit, I relaxed. After I hit the home run, my confidence grew tremendously,'' Maybin said. ... DH Gary Sheffield went 3-for-3 with a double against Clemens, making him 11-for-18 (.611) against one of the best pitchers in baseball history. ``I can't explain it. Probably because he comes after you more than most pitchers,'' Sheffield said. ``He doesn't care who you (are). He thinks he can get you out.'' ... The Tigers, who have lost seven of 11, are 15-22 since the All-Star break.

NEW YORK: RHP Roger Clemens fanned Curtis Granderson in the third inning for his 1,000th strikeout with the Yankees. Clemens became the 10th pitcher in club history to strike out 1,000 batters. ... The Yankees are 32-10 in their last 42 home games against Detroit. ... RHP Mariano Rivera went 27 innings spanning 23 appearances without walking a batter before Sean Casey drew a free pass in the ninth. ... Hideki Matsui went 0-for-4, ending his 12-game hitting streak. ... Military Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium included a fly over by two Navy F-18 Hornets. ... The Yankees are 25-8 against AL Central teams.


LOS ANGELES: RHP Bartolo Colon threw a bullpen session Saturday and ``the ball came out of his hand great,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. He said Colon would throw ``probably no more than 45 pitches'' during a simulated game Tuesday. Colon went on the disabled list July 24 with right elbow irritation. ... SS Orlando Cabrera got a first-inning double when he lost control of the bat, 3B Kevin Youkilis moved to avoid it and the ball went past the spot where Youkilis had been. ... Chone Figgins' second-inning homer was the 14th off Curt Schilling in just 18 starts.

BOSTON: The Red Sox purchased the contract of OF Bobby Kielty from Pawtucket and optioned OF Jacoby Ellsbury to the Triple-A team. ... Saturday was the 40th anniversary of Boston OF Tony Conigliaro being hit below the left eye with a pitch by Jack Hamilton of the California Angels. That damaged his vision and ruined a promising career. Conigliaro's No. 25 was mowed into the right field grass. ... Kevin Cash probably will catch Sunday and Monday, manager Terry Francona said. Cash was called up from Pawtucket on Friday after Doug Mirabelli suffered a calf injury in the first game of a doubleheader and went on the DL. Jason Varitek caught 17 innings Friday and started Saturday.


CLEVELAND: DH Travis Hafner (hamstring and knee) was back in the lineup after being rested the previous two days. He did pinch-hit in Friday night's game. ... Trot Nixon, slowed by flulike symptoms most of the past week, started in right field. He didn't play Friday. ... Manager Eric Wedge said the Indians will stay with a four-man rotation, but will consider adding a fifth starter when rosters can be expanded on Sept. 1.

TAMPA BAY: CF Rocco Baldelli, out since May 16 with a strained left hamstring, will start a minor league rehab assignment Monday with Class-A Vero Beach. He will also play at Triple-A Durham and is expected to rejoin the team after rosters can be expanded on Sept. 1 if there are no setbacks. ``He looked very good,'' manager Joe Maddon said after watching Baldelli workout. ``He looked good running.'' ... Principal owner Stuart Sternberg took batting practice before the game. He also took part in a brief team meeting along with team president Matt Silverman and executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman.


TEXAS: Though 3B Hank Blalock has been frustrated by what he feels is slow progress with his throwing program, manager Ron Washington was adamant that Blalock is doing fine as the two-time All-Star nears a return following rib surgery in May to relieve pain in his shoulder. Washington said Blalock ``looked real good'' after throwing across the diamond before Saturday's game. ``That's not going to come overnight. It's a process,'' Washington said.

MINNESOTA: Former All-Star 3B Gary Gaetti will be added to the team's Hall of Fame in a Sunday ceremony. He's now the hitting coach for Durham, Tampa Bay's Triple-A affiliate. Gaetti said the Bulls remind him of the 1987 Twins he helped lead to a World Series title. ``On paper we didn't look like the best team, but we have an exciting team spirit,'' Gaetti said. General manager Terry Ryan, who was the scouting director in 1987, said he wants a Gaetti-like player when he looks for a 3B. ``He can do everything,'' Ryan said. ``And unfortunately they're hard to come by.'' ... Jason Kubel was back in Saturday's lineup as the DH after straining an oblique muscle one week earlier. SS Jason Bartlett sat out for the second straight game due to a hamstring strain. He did agility drills in the outfield before the game and felt some tightness, but manager Ron Gardenhire said he looked good. ... Reliever Jesse Crain has been with the team for his rehab work following shoulder surgery. He's still two months away from being able to throw, but his goal is to be ready by opening day 2008.


KANSAS CITY: DH Mike Sweeney, who had surgery July 5 on his right knee, will probably begin a minor league rehab assignment sometime early next week. He had difficulty running the bases earlier this month, delaying his progress. The Royals want him to test his knee a bit more before they send him out. ``He'll be back in a few weeks and we look forward to that,'' manager Buddy Bell said. ... Kansas City was trying for its first three-game winning streak since getting four straight victories from July 26-29.

OAKLAND: The A's will activate RHP Esteban Loaiza to start Wednesday at Toronto, which will be his first appearance of the year after a pair of injuries. Loaiza pitched in his final rehab outing Saturday at Triple-A Sacramento, going six innings and more than 100 pitches. ... Oakland had five players in the starting lineup who weren't on the opening day roster, including three who weren't even in the A's organization back in April. ... The A's sent down LHP Dan Meyer on Saturday, a day after he made his first career start. The A's optioned Meyer to Triple-A Sacramento and brought up OF Dee Brown to give them some depth in the position after center fielder Travis Buck injured his left hamstring during Friday's 9-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals. While Buck said Saturday he only expects to be out for a couple of days, Oakland already is without starting CF Mark Kotsay, who went on the DL on Friday with lower back spasms. Kotsay already missed the first two months of the season after having back surgery. ``It wasn't as bad as they initially thought it was,'' Buck said before the A's played the middle game with the Royals. ``It's still a little tight. It's a slight strain. I've never done anything to my legs, so I didn't know what to expect. It's a good sign.''


CINCINNATI: RHP Victor Santos was designated for assignment prior to Saturday's game. His replacement on the roster, RHP Elizardo Ramirez, was recalled from Triple-A Louisville and started against the Brewers Saturday night. The Reds have 10 days to trade, waive or release Santos, who was 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA in 32 games with the Reds in 2007. ... Ramirez has four prior appearances against the Brewers, and owns a 1-0 record and 4.13 ERA. ... Since Pete Mackanin was named manager on July 3, the Reds own the best record in the Central Division (22-17). ... RHP Aaron Harang will start Sunday in the series finale. Harang is 4-3 lifetime against the Brewers and 3-1 with a 3.25 ERA in five career games at Miller Park.

MILWAUKEE: LHP Chris Capuano starts the series finale Sunday looking for his first victory since May 7 at Washington. Capuano is 0-10 with a 6.63 ERA in his last 15 starts. ... Manager Ned Yost said he plans to leave SS J.J. Hardy in the eighth spot in the lineup for the time being. Hardy hit a pair of home runs Friday night and is now hitting .272. ... 2B Rickie Weeks started at second and led off Saturday. Yost said he made the decision based on Weeks' prior success against Cincinnati starter Elizardo Ramirez. ... OF Tony Gwynn, who was sent to Triple-A Nashville on July 25, extended his season-best hitting streak to nine games with a double.


SAN FRANCISCO: LF Barry Bonds, who often doesn't get warm receptions when the Giants are on the road, had about 1,000 early arriving fans chanting his name and applauding him after hitting home runs on seven of 26 batting-practice swings. Bonds waved quickly to one young fan before retreating to the clubhouse. ... 2B Ray Durham, who battled a mild back injury earlier this month, was out of the lineup for the second straight game. Manager Bruce Bochy said Durham was getting some rest and will play Sunday. ... The Giants are 20 games into a 31-game, 30-day marathon stretch.

FLORIDA: C Miguel Olivo's strained groin has improved to the point where he could be back in the lineup in time for Monday afternoon's series finale with the Giants. ... The Marlins' first-round draft pick, 17-year-old third baseman Matt Dominguez, took batting practice with the team and will report to Florida's minor league complex in Jupiter, Fla., on Sunday. ... Former Florida manager Jack McKeon is in Miami for the Marlins-Giants series. McKeon, now a special assistant to Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria, will spend a few days with minor leaguers in Jupiter next week before returning to his North Carolina home.


NEW YORK: The Mets placed C Ramon Castro on the 15-day disabled list with lower back soreness. The move is retroactive to Aug. 13. The contract of C Sandy Alomar Jr., 41, was selected from Triple-A New Orleans. Castro, who is batting .276 with seven home runs and 22 RBIs is the second New York catcher to land on the disabled list in the last six days. Paul Lo Duca was placed on the DL on Aug. 12 with tightness in his right hamstring. ``I'm sure (Mike) DiFelice will probably get the lion's share of the work,'' Mets manager Willie Randolph said. ... To accommodate Alomar on the 40-man roster, OF Carlos Gomez (fractured bone in right hand) was transferred to the 60-day disabled list. ... 1B Carlos Delgado did not start for the third straight game because of a hyperextended left knee. Randolph said Delgado might play Sunday. ... OF Lastings Milledge was back in the starting lineup after missing Friday's game with flulike symptoms.

WASHINGTON: OF Wily Mo Pena joined the Nationals on Saturday and made his first start, batting sixth against Mets left-hander Oliver Perez and playing left field. For now, Pena will platoon in left with Ryan Church, but manager Manny Acta also envisions using Pena to give his other outfielders a break. ``We need to get (Pena) some at_bats,'' Acta said. ``When guys are bench players in the American League, you don't have the luxury to pinch-hit them almost every day like we do in the National League.'' Pena was acquired Friday from Boston with cash considerations for a player to be named. ... LHP Mike Bacsik is still scheduled to start Wednesday's game in Houston, but remains available to pitch out of the bullpen until that time. Acta said a minor league pitcher would be called up to make the start if he needs Bacsik to pitch in relief. ... Surgery to remove a rod and screw from the leg of 1B Nick Johnson, originally scheduled for Saturday in Washington, has been moved to Tuesday at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.


PHILADELPHIA: Since the start of the 2006 season, the Phillies had won 38 of 57 games against teams from the NL Central through Aug. 17. ... OF Shane Victorino could be ready to play in a couple of days, though the Phillies did not update his condition on Saturday. He has been out since July 31 with a strained right calf. ... Pat Burrell's home run Friday against Pittsburgh was the 1,000th hit of his career. To get the souvenir ball, Burrell had to negotiate with the Pirates fans who retrieved it. He said, ``I had to offer them a date with Ryan Howard.''

PITTSBURGH: RF Xavier Nady returned to the lineup Saturday for the first time since he strained his left hamstring running the bases July 31. He did not go on the disabled list, and was 1-for-7 with a home run as a pinch-hitter while he wasn't starting. ... Also back was Jack Wilson, who was pulled during Thursday's game with the Mets because of an asthma-related problem and had to be assisted to the clubhouse. He did not start Friday. ... C Ronny Paulino figures to get the day off Sunday, with Carlos Maldonado catching. Maldonado was 2-for-19 (.105) last September with Pittsburgh. ... CF Chris Duffy went 1-for-3 with a double Saturday for the Pirates' Gulf Coast League team. Duffy has been out since late June with an ankle injury, but could be ready soon to rejoin the Pirates.


COLORADO: 1B Todd Helton has batted .256 over his previous 79 games since May 12, dropping his average from .397 to .299. But he still entered Saturday night's game fourth in the NL with a .418 on-base percentage - trailing only Barry Bonds, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols - all former NL MVPs. Helton also has 87 walks, second in the league. ``Obviously, I haven't swung the bat as well as I've wanted to this year,'' said Helton, who won a batting title in 2000. ``I've just been a little more selective this year, especially with guys on base. But there's no excuses. I should be swinging a lot better. I went through a rough stretch, but good players keep it to a minimum - and I wasn't a good player during that time, so it was a rough ride for me. But a big part of my job is still getting on base, letting guys drive me in, and driving in runs when it counts. I'm feeling a little better at the plate.''

LOS ANGELES: RHP Brad Penny is being moved up a day in the rotation and will start Sunday afternoon on three days rest in the series finale against Colorado, instead of Brett Tomko. Penny has a 4.66 ERA in his three matinee starts, compared to a 2.33 ERA at in 22 starts at night - third-best in the NL. But those numbers are trumped by his career record against the Rockies - 12-2 with a 2.69 ERA in 18 starts. ... Records and milestones have never meant much to 2B Jeff Kent, whose 361st home run on Friday night tied Joe DiMaggio for 65th place on the career list. ``I don't have an understanding of the amount of things that I've done because I'm not a baseball historian,'' Kent said. ``I love and respect the game, but not in a statistical way. I wish I could have been able to play in that era, where, to me, it was more fun and more interesting. There was less baggage that you had to worry about and you just played for the game. It's hard for people to understand me in this generation because I'm supposed to have more baggage. I'm supposed to be more showy - Hollywood. I'm supposed to care more about the stats. And I don't.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 19

A's option Meyer back to Triple-A, bring up OF Brown
August 18, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Oakland Athletics sent down left-hander Dan Meyer on Saturday, a day after he made his first career start.
   
The A's optioned Meyer to Triple-A Sacramento and brought up outfielder Dee Brown to give them some depth in the position after center fielder Travis Buck injured his left hamstring during Friday's 9-2 loss to the Kansas City Royals.

While Buck said Saturday he only expects to be out for a couple of days, Oakland already is without starting center fielder Mark Kotsay, who went on the DL on Friday with lower back spasms. Kotsay already missed the first two months of the season after having back surgery.

``It wasn't as bad as they initially thought it was,'' Buck said before the A's played the middle game with the Royals. ``It's still a little tight. It's a slight strain. I've never done anything to my legs, so I didn't know what to expect. It's a good sign.''

Kotsay missed four straight games with back problems from August 5-8 and was 1-for-16 over his last five games. The move is retroactive to Aug. 15.

Veteran outfielder Jeff DaVanon was recalled from Sacramento to take Kotsay's place and DaVanon was in the starting lineup playing center field Saturday. Brown can play right and left.

Meyer (0-1) lost in his debut as a starter and his first major league appearance in three years. He lasted four innings, allowing six runs - three earned - and five hits, walked two and did not strike out a batter.

``Any time you evaluate anybody on one game, it's difficult, sure,'' manager Bob Geren said. ``We want to make sure his changeup is the right speed.''

Brown, acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks for cash considerations on May 30, will make his second big league stint of the season for the A's after appearing in one game from June 29 to July 8. He went hitless in one at-bat before being designated for assignment and then sent outright to Sacramento on July 11. He was batting .298 with 14 home runs and 54 RBIs in 62 games with the River Cats.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 19

Mets place Castro on disabled list
August 18, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -The New York Mets placed catcher Ramon Castro on the 15-day disabled list Saturday with lower back pain and recalled Sandy Alomar Jr. from Triple-A New Orleans.

The move with Castro is retroactive to Aug. 13.

Castro, who is batting .276 with seven homers and 22 RBIs, is the second New York catcher to land on the disabled list in the last six days. Paul Lo Duca was placed on the DL last Sunday with tightness in his right hamstring.

The 41-year-old Alomar appeared in three games for the Mets last month, and is batting .333. In 41 games with New Orleans, he's hitting .292 with four homers and 29 RBIs.

With Lo Duca and Castro hurt, the Mets catchers are Alomar and Mike DiFelice, who were New Orleans' catchers for much of the year.

``I'm sure DiFelice will probably get the lion's share of the work,'' Mets manager Willie Randolph said.

The 38-year-old DiFelice, who was in the lineup for Saturday night's game against Washington, is batting .278 with five RBIs in five games.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 19

Mets' Easley could be headed to disabled list
August 18, 2007

WASHINGTON (AP) -New York Mets first baseman Damion Easley left Saturday night's game against the Washington Nationals in the sixth inning after a grade-three sprain to his left ankle that will likely force him to the disabled list.

``He'll have an MRI tomorrow. He's probably going to be out for a little while because it looked like he turned it over,'' Mets manager Willie Randolph said after a 7-4 victory. ``We'll decide who we'll bring in (Sunday).''

Easley had X-rays at Sibley Memorial Hospital and will fly back to New York on Sunday for further examination and treatment.

``Until I get an MRI, I don't want to speculate because I don't want to put myself in a bad state of mind,'' said Easley, who missed three weeks with a sprained ankle with Florida in 2005.

Easley was playing first in place of Carlos Delgado, who has not started the past three games because of a hyperextended left knee. In 76 games this season, Easley is hitting .275 (53-for-193) with 10 homers and 26 RBIs.

He had singled to left to lead off the sixth, but pulled up going in to second base when Washington pitcher John Lannan uncorked a wild pitch on a 1-1 offering to Lastings Milledge.

Easley appeared to roll his left ankle before reaching second when he was beginning to slide, just as Washington second baseman Ronnie Belliard was signaling to him that there was no throw coming. Easley dropped to the ground in pain after stumbling over the base.

``I tried to hit the brakes and go in standing. I'm not quite sure what happened after that,'' Easley said. ``I just felt the blow. I didn't feel a snap or pop. I know I rolled it pretty good. The pain was there right away.''

Easley was helped from the field and replaced by pinch-runner Shawn Green, who advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on Mike DiFelice's double to left for a 5-2 Mets lead.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 19

Devil Rays place SS Ben Zobrist on disabled list and recall INF Joel Guzman from minors
August 19, 2007

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -The Tampa Bay Devil Rays placed shortstop Ben Zobrist on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right side muscle Sunday and recalled infielder Joel Guzman from Triple-A Durham.

Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said ``it's possible'' that Zobrist, who was hurt while swinging at a pitch Saturday night, might miss the rest of the season.

Zobrist is hitting .155 with one homer and nine RBIs in 31 games.

Guzman hit .242 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs in 109 games with Durham. Maddon said Guzman could see playing time at all four infield positions.

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