MLB News and Notes August - 25

MLB News and Notes August - 25

Notes from Friday's games
August 24, 2007

NEW YORK: Mike Mussina is scheduled to start the series finale Monday at Detroit, and manager Joe Torre insisted it's not a make-or-break outing for the righty. Mussina (8-9) lost his last two starts, combining to give up 13 earned runs. ``If it doesn't get better, than we have to see if there is something we can do,'' Torre said. ``But I'm certainly not preparing for it.'' ... 3B Alex Rodriguez looked like a kid getting a present when he saw an authentic Detroit Pistons jersey - with Rodriguez and No. 3 on the back - and shorts hanging in his locker. The gear was a gift from Pistons front-office executives Joe Dumars and George David. ``Alex said it's tough to make other major league players jealous of anything because they have everything, but he said the guys were jealous,'' David said.

DETROIT: Manager Jim Leyland had Magglio Ordonez in the lineup as a DH, putting Ryan Raburn in right field. ``I'm just giving him a little break from the field,'' Leyland said. ... Detroit's first-round pick, right-hander Rick Porcello, made his first visit to Comerica Park after signing a four-year contract worth $7.28 million. ``I'm going to (Single-A) Oneonta, New York, on Sunday and I'm going to start a stretching and throwing program and hopefully get in shape for the fall,'' he said. ... Leyland tried to downplay the Yankees matchup, but acknowledged each series is important. ``It's crunch time,'' he said. ``You've got to start winning ballgames. It's that simple. There's a lot of teams in the same boat, the Yankees included. We're one of them. They're one of them. Cleveland. Boston. Seattle. Minnesota. A lot of teams.''


MINNESOTA: RHP Scott Baker left the team Friday and will miss his scheduled start Sunday to be with his wife, who is expected to deliver their second child this weekend. No replacement has been announced for Baker, who is 6-6 with a 4.50 ERA over 17 starts this season. ... Entering the weekend, the Twins' 131 runs scored since the All-Star break were the fewest in the majors. With Minnesota 6 1/2 games out of first and trailing Seattle by nine games for the wild-card spot, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire knows his offense must improve. ``All that matters is scoring runs and winning ballgames, right now,'' he said before Friday night's game at Baltimore.

BALTIMORE: RHP Radhames Liz will make his major league debut Saturday, starting against the Minnesota Twins. It will be the first time in his three-year professional career that Liz will pitch above the Double-A level. ... RHP Jaret Wright (shoulder) hopes to come off the disabled list when rosters expand on Sept. 1. ``I still want to play. It's been two years of my career when I sat on the couch and watched the boys battle on TV,'' he said Friday. ``It drives you crazy.'' ... Top draft pick Matt Wieters joined short-season Aberdeen in Massachusetts on Friday and will work out with the team before being activated next week.


OAKLAND: RHP Rich Harden (shoulder) made throws of up to 200 feet, and manager Bob Geren said Harden could throw off the mound either Sunday or Monday. ... LF Shannon Stewart received a routine day off Friday. Geren said he wants to give Stewart at least two games off during the series at Tampa Bay, with the second coming Sunday. ... SS Marco Scutaro was back in the lineup after being scratched Saturday with what Geren called ``a non-baseball condition.''

TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays have shut down CF Rocco Baldelli's rehabilitation after he sat out Wednesday for Class-A Vero Beach. Manager Joe Maddon said Baldelli has experienced all-around soreness since his rehab started. ... OF Carl Crawford came into Friday night's game hitting .404 in August, fourth best in the majors. ... With their loss on Thursday night, the Devil Rays fell to 31 games below .500, matching the furthest they've been below .500 this season.


CLEVELAND: The Indians reportedly have interest in bringing back RHP Bob Wickman, who was designated for assignment on Friday by the Braves. Wickman was 1-4 with 15 saves and a 4.18 ERA in 29 relief appearances in 2006 with the Indians before he was traded on July 20 to the Braves for minor league catcher Max Ramirez. ... Manager Eric Wedge put LF Kenny Lofton back in the leadoff spot and continues to tinker with the batting order. ``It's tough for me to be 100 percent sold on anything until we start stringing some days together, which we've yet to do,'' Wedge said before the game Friday. ``Once we do that, maybe we'll see some more structure. We're going to be open minded about how we put it altogether. Until we see some consistency, it is tough to settle in.'' The Indians are hitting .252 the second half after a .272 average in the first half.

KANSAS CITY:
LHP Jorge De La Rosa, on the disabled list since Aug. 1 because of a left elbow strain, is scheduled to make his second minor league rehab start on Monday. In two innings Wednesday for Double-A Wichita, De La Rosa allowed one unearned run and four hits in two innings against Arkansas. ``He was OK,'' Royals manager Buddy Bell said Friday. ``He's healthy. He threw 46 pitches. That's a lot of pitches in two innings.'' ... With an off day Monday, Bell said RHP Leo Nunez would be skipped in the rotation. His next scheduled start is Aug. 31, when the Royals play a day-night doubleheader at Minnesota. ... RHP Billy Buckner, who had his contract purchased Friday from Triple-A Omaha, is 10-10 with a 3.92 ERA in 31 games, including 18 starts, with Omaha and Double-A Wichita this year. He had a 1.21 ERA in four August games. Buckner will be used in middle and long relief. ... RF Mark Teahen, who leads the club with 52 RBIs, was placed on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive with Aug. 19, with a hyper extended left elbow and forearm strain. Bell said Teahen is not expected to be out longer than 15 days.


BOSTON: The Red Sox have won four straight games against the White Sox by a total score of 40-13. ... Mike Lowell went 3-for-4 in the first game and is 9-for-17 in his last six games. ... The Red Sox have the best record in baseball in day games at 27-12, although they had dropped their previous three. ... Jason Varitek had been struggling before his four RBI game in the opener when he went 2-for-3 with a homer. Entering the game Varitek was just 3-for-22 in his previous six games and 20-for-97 in his last 29. ... Bobby Kielty hit a pair of sacrifice flies after entering the game as a pinch-hitter. ... J.D. Drew has only six homers this season and manager Terry Francona said the worst thing Drew could do would be try to pick up his power numbers. ``You force it and it gets worse,'' Francona said. ``He's been behind in the count a lot,'' Francona added, explaining that reduces the opportunity for long balls.

CHICAGO:
White Sox owner Jerry Reindorf said in a radio interview that struggling RHP Jose Contreras is not giving the White Sox the return they expected on their investment. Contreras has a major-league high 16 losses this season. He also has two years left on a three-year, $29 million contract extension he signed in the spring of 2006. He was the star of the White Sox's march to the World Series two years ago when he went 11-2 in the second half and 3-1 in the postseason. But after going 9-0 before the All-Star break last season, he's struggled mightily. ``He certainly isn't living up to his money. I've said how many times over the years, when you go more than one year with a pitcher, you are sticking your neck out. If you go more than three years, it's probably suicide,'' Reinsdorf said on WSCR radio. ``We decided to take a chance. It didn't work.'' ... For the first time since 2003, the White Sox have three pitchers with double figure losses - Jon Garland, John Danks and Contreras.


TORONTO:
RHP Casey Janssen had not allowed a run in 16 2-3 career innings against the Los Angeles Angels before giving up Vladimir Guerrero's leadoff homer in the eighth inning on Thursday night. Janssen held the Angels to just three hits over 15 1-3 innings in two starts against them last season, but was shifted to the bullpen this spring due to the offseason acquisitions of veterans Tomo Ohka, John Thomson and Victor Zambrano, and a shoulder injury that sidelined setup man Brandon League for the first 3 1/2 months of the season. ``There was talk at one point that if one of those guys we picked up faltered, we'd put Casey back in the rotation. But he pitched so well out of the pen, it solidified us down there,'' manager John Gibbons said. Janssen is 2-2 with a 2.32 ERA in 56 appearances.

LOS ANGELES:
Neither 3B Chone Figgins nor 1B Casey Kotchman will be available for the rest of the four-game series against Toronto, according to manager Mike Scioscia. Figgins missed his fourth straight game because of a sprained left wrist. Kotchman sat out his second game with a bruised thumb and strained middle finger on his left hand. With a week left before the rosters can be expanded to 40 players, the Angels were trying to avoid putting Kotchman on the 15-day disabled list so that he can be available to play defense - even if he isn't able to grip a bat yet. ... DH Juan Rivera, who has yet to play for the Angels this season after breaking his left leg in winter ball, may be activated after the rosters are expanded. ``He's running much better,'' Scioscia said. ``In talking with (Triple-A Salt Lake manager) Brian Harper, he's excited at seeing Juan progress. He's had about 25 at_bats down there, but we'd like him to get in the 50-at-bat range and see where he is. Sept. 1 is certainly a possibility.''


SEATTLE: Manager John McLaren said he would give DH Jose Vidro a day off this weekend. Ben Broussard could take Vidro's place, or LF Raul Ibanez could move to DH with Adam Jones playing in the outfield. ... McLaren credited hitting coach Jeff Pentland for the team's major league-leading batting average during August. ``The hitters have respect for him. He's there for them. He knows the buttons to push, and he knows when to tweak it and when not to.'' ... SS Yuniesky Betancourt has been one of Seattle's hottest hitters, but McLaren said he had no plan to move Betancourt up from ninth in the batting order. ``The lineup's been working the way we've had it.''

TEXAS:
C Gerald Laird (flu-like symptoms) was out of the lineup for the second consecutive game. Manager Ron Washington said Laird would start Saturday and Sunday against Seattle left-handed starters Horacio Ramirez and Jarrod Washburn. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy, on the disabled list because of a stress fracture in his shoulder blade, said he hopes to resume throwing by the time the Rangers' homestand ends Thursday. He doesn't expect to be able to pitch in a game before the second week of September. ... Washington said 3B Hank Blalock (chest surgery), who still is having trouble throwing, would not go to the minors on a rehab assignment. ``If we want him to hit, he can hit here. We have a few DHs already.''


SAN DIEGO: RHP Chris Young has a chance to make his start on Aug. 31, although he won't pitch Sunday because of stiffness in his lower back. ``He's feeling much better, but the problem is the intensity (of the pain) increases when he pitches,'' manager Bud Black said. ... OF Scott Hairston (strained oblique) probably won't be ready by the time he's eligible to come off the disabled list next week. ``It leaves us a little bit light right-handed off the bench,'' Black said. ... C Michael Barrett has had four straight days of not feeling any ill effects from a concussion he sustained Aug. 10. Team doctors are looking for seven days without negative symptoms before sending Barrett out for a rehab assignment.

PHILADELPHIA:
LHP Mike Zagurski will have season-ending surgery on his right hamstring on Monday. Zagurski was injured last Saturday at Pittsburgh. ... RHP Freddy Garcia, out since June with a strained shoulder, pitched three shutout innings for Class-A Clearwater on Thursday night. Garcia is 1-5 with a 5.90 ERA in 11 starts in his first season with the Phillies. ... 2B Tadahito Iguchi likely is heading to the bench instead of moving to third base when All-Star Chase Utley returns from the disabled list. Iguchi has never played third in his career.


FLORIDA: Marlins decision-makers are discussing which players will join the team when active rosters can be expanded on Sept. 1. One factor will be whether Triple-A Albuquerque makes the Pacific Coast League playoffs, manager Fredi Gonzalez said. Through Thursday, the Isotopes led their division by a game. ``We'd like to see some of those guys, but you don't want to take away three or four of their guys if they're going to make the playoffs,'' Gonzalez said. ... Friday's game was Gonzalez's first as a manager at cozy Great American Ball Park, but the former Atlanta third base coach knows the park's homer-happy reputation. ``I've been here enough to get that feeling in my stomach,'' he joked. ... Entering Friday's start, LHP Dontrelle Willis had a better record on the road (5-4) than at home (3-8).

CINCINNATI:
The Reds placed LHP Bobby Livingston on the 15-day disabled list Friday with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. ``I'm not a medical guy, but that doesn't sound good,'' manager Pete Mackanin said. Livingston, who was scheduled to start Sunday, will be reevaluated in about 10 days. ... RHP Todd Coffey was recalled from Triple-A Louisville. ... C David Ross also was sent to Louisville on a rehab assignment. Ross has been on the disabled list since Aug. 13 with a concussion sustained the day before in a home plate collision with San Diego's Mike Cameron. ... The near 100-degree temperature and Adam Dunn's 0-for-10 career record against Willis prompted Mackanin to give Dunn Friday night off.


PITTSBURGH:
The Pirates have scored more runs in August (151) than any team in the majors and are second in home runs (35) and slugging percentage (.516) in that span. ``I'm proud of them,'' manager Jim Tracy said. ``We've made great strides since February of last year. I know the path we're on is the right one. I'm sorry that it can't be a lot faster than it is.'' Pirates starting pitchers have worked six or more innings in 16 of the first 22 games this month and the team is 11-5 when they do. The 13 wins Pittsburgh has this month are tied with Arizona for the most in the National League.

HOUSTON:
RHP Roy Oswalt, who missed his start Thursday (left oblique muscle strain), threw a bullpen session Friday and reported no pain. He is scheduled to throw another Sunday and if all goes well, he will start on Wednesday. ... LHP Troy Patton has been called up from Triple-A Round Rock to make a spot start Saturday. He was en route from Omaha after Thursday's game and did not arrive at Minute Maid Park on Friday. The 21-year-old was 4-2 at Round Rock with a 4.59 ERA. ``I like his ability to compete,'' manager Phil Garner said.


ATLANTA: Mark Teixeira led the majors with 10 homers and 28 RBIs in August, after being acquired from Texas at the trade deadline. He's had at least one RBI in 15 of 21 games. ... Jeff Francoeur led the majors with 18 outfield assists and had a major league-high 44 assists since making his debut on July 7, 2005. Andruw Jones holds the franchise single-season record with 20 in 1998. ... Chipper Jones' .363 average on the road was the best in the NL.

ST. LOUIS: INF Aaron Miles returned after missing two games while attending to the birth of a son in California. Manager Tony La Russa said Miles, who returned ``with a big smile on his face,'' would start on Saturday. ``I had a flight canceled so I got there late and missed the baby being born, but I was there to check him out and get a little bonding time,'' Miles said. ... La Russa blamed RF Rick Ankiel's dropped fly ball on Thursday on CF Jim Edmonds getting too close and distracting him. ``Jimmy ran over trying to take charge and at the last minute he couldn't get there,'' La Russa said. ... Albert Pujols, nursing a right hamstring injury, was taken out after six innings and the Cardinals trailing 8-1 on Thursday but was back in the No. 3 spot on Friday. La Russa said Pujols would have finished the game if the score had been closer.


WASHINGTON: Shawn Hill and Jeff Francis became the first two Canadian-born pitchers to face each other since Ryan Dempster of Florida matched up against Mike Johnson of Montreal on July 1, 2000, according to Elias Sports Bureau. ... In the midst of a 4-for-36 skid, INF Felipe Lopez was out of the starting lineup. ``Felipe is a little beaten up,'' manager Manny Acta said. ``He needs a day off.'' ... When asked about September callups, Acta wouldn't offer numbers or names. ``It will be a few because I don't want to fill up the dugout,'' Acta said. ``We'll want to look at a few players.'' ... RHP Jason Simontacchi (right elbow tendinitis) will see Dr. James Andrews after experiencing some soreness in his right elbow.

COLORADO:
Manager Clint Hurdle was troubled by the team's lack of clutch hitting during the Pittsburgh series, 5-for-37 with runners in scoring position. ``We have to be more consistent in that area,'' Hurdle said. ... OF Jeff Baker will DH two of the next three days at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Baker was hit in the face by the Chicago Cubs' RHP Jason Marquis on Aug. 10. ... RHP Aaron Cook (strained left oblique) will throw a bullpen session on Sunday. ... OF Willy Taveras (strained right quad) ran in the outfield before Friday's game.


CHICAGO - OF Alfonso Soriano, out since Aug. 6 with a strained right quadriceps, worked out on the field before Friday night's game at Arizona. Manager Lou Piniella said he doesn't want to rush Soriano back but wouldn't rule out a return in a three-game series against Milwaukee next week. ``If he had to write the line-up tonight, he'd be in left field tonight,'' Piniella said. ``We want to take every precaution.'' ... RHP Kerry Wood has not pitched in back-to-back games since he rejoined the team Aug. 5. The Cubs are trying to be careful with the oft-injured Wood, who allowed opponents to score in only one of his first seven relief outings.

ARIZONA - 3B Chad Tracy's right knee injury is not improving, and there's a chance he won't play again the rest of the season. Tracy, who went on the 15-day disabled list Aug. 15, was to see Dr. Lewis Yocum on Friday, manager Bob Melvin said. With Tracy's immediate future uncertain, the Diamondbacks are glad they claimed IF Jeff Cirillo off waivers from Minnesota on Aug. 3. ... An off day Thursday allowed Melvin to give RHP Livan Hernandez and RHP Brandon Webb an extra day before their next starts. The move allows Hernandez to pitch the opener of a four-game series at second-place San Diego on Monday night. Hernandez is 10-3 with a 3.87 ERA in 20 starts against the Padres.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 25

LOS ANGELES: CF Juan Pierre extended his hitting streak to 12 games with a bunt single in the first inning. ... RHP Brad Penny, who was trying for his 15th win of the season, entered 5-10 with a 5.72 ERA against the Mets in his career. He was 1-8 with a 6.75 ERA in 10 starts at Shea Stadium. ... Struggling RHP Brett Tomko was designated for assignment to make room on the roster for LHP David Wells.

NEW YORK: 2B Luis Castillo didn't start after tweaking his tender right knee Thursday night against San Diego. Mets manager Willie Randolph said he didn't think it was serious, and expected Castillo to be able to play Saturday. ... Slumping 1B Carlos Delgado was dropped to sixth in the batting order for the third time this season. ... RF Lastings Milledge struck out for the seventh straight time in the second inning before drawing a walk in the fourth and grounding out in the sixth. ... Backup OF Endy Chavez (hamstring) rejoined the team from his minor league rehab assignment and will probably be activated from the disabled list in the next day or two, general manager Omar Minaya said. ... C Paul Lo Duca (hamstring) began his rehab assignment with Class-A Brooklyn, catching five innings in the opener of a doubleheader and going 0-for-2 with a walk. Lo Duca was slated to be the DH in the second game.

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Baseball Today - August 25
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD

Saturday, Aug. 25

Boston at Chicago White Sox (3:55 p.m. EDT). Tim Wakefield looks to be the majors first 16-game winner.

STARS Friday

-David Wright and Oliver Perez, Mets. Perez tossed seven shutout innings, allowing three hits and Wright homered and drove in two runs to lead New York to a 5-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

-Milton Bradley and Adrian Gonzalez, Padres. Bradley hit a pair of three-run homers and Gonzalez also connected twice in San Diego's 14-3 victory over Philadelphia.

-David Ortiz, Red Sox, homered twice as Boston routed the Chicago White Sox 10-1 to take both ends of a split doubleheader.

-Matt Holliday, Rockies, hit a two-run homer to spark a five-run, ninth-inning comeback, and Colorado beat Washington 6-5.

-Adam LaRoche, Pirates, hit a three-run homer that triggered a five-run 15th inning, helping Pittsburgh beat Houston 8-3.

-Carlos Guillen, Tigers, hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 11th and Detroit beat New York 9-6

MILESTONE

Greg Maddux became the first pitcher to win 10 games in 20 consecutive seasons, tossing seven solid innings in the San Diego Padres' 14-3 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday night. Maddux (10-9) allowed three runs and seven hits, outpitching Jamie Moyer in a matchup of 40-something hurlers with a combined 570 wins.

SWEET 16

Josh Beckett became the major league's first 16-game winner Friday, surviving a shaky first when he walked three batters and leading the Boston Red Sox over the Chicago White Sox 11-3 in the first game of a split doubleheader. Beckett (16-5) allowed seven hits and three runs over 5 2-3 innings.

MAKING MOVES

The Atlanta Braves cut ties with struggling closer Bob Wickman on Friday, designating him for assignment. The move came a day after Wickman surrendered a game-winning two-run home run to the Reds' Adam Dunn. Wickman is 3-3 with a 3.92 ERA and 20 saves in 26 chances this season and was 38-for-45 in save opportunities with a 2.88 ERA since joining the Braves on July 23, 2006.

COMEBACK

Colorado matched its largest deficit overcome for a victory in the ninth inning or later after scoring five times in the last inning to beat Washington 6-5 on Friday night.

STREAKING

Pittsburgh has won three straight and seven of nine and moved out of last place in the Central by three percentage points ahead of Houston, following a 8-3, 15 inning win Friday.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

C.C Sabathia gave up two runs - one on a ground out and the other on a sacrifice fly - in eight innings, but the Cleveland Indians suffered a 2-1 loss to the Kansas City Royals on Friday night.

SPEAKING

''I just wanted to get it over with. We've been here too long today. I was swinging first pitch every time. That's why.'' - Boston slugger David Ortiz on Friday's doubleheader with Chicago. Ortiz homered twice in the nightcap to help the Red Sox sweep.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 25

Cards activate Wellemeyer, option Thompson
August 24th, 2007

St. Louis, MO (Sports Network) - The St. Louis Cardinals activated pitcher Todd Wellemeyer from the 15-day disabled list on Friday.

To make room for him on the roster, the Cardinals optioned struggling right- hander Brad Thompson to Triple-A Memphis.

Thompson is 6-5 with a 5.07 ERA in 39 games for St. Louis this season, including 13 starts.

Wellemeyer, who had been out with a right elbow injury, is 3-2 with a 5.83 ERA for the Cardinals this year, including eight starts.

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Houston Astros purchase contract of left-handed pitcher Troy Patton
August 25, 2007

HOUSTON (AP) -The Astros purchased the contract of left-handed pitcher Troy Patton from Triple-A Round Rock after their game with the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night.

To make room for Patton on the roster, right-hander Juan Gutierrez was sent back to Round Rock.

The 21-year-old Patton will make his first major league start Saturday night against the Pirates. Patton made eight starts at Round Rock, where he was 4-2 with a 4.59 ERA. In 16 starts with Double-A Corpus Christi, Patton was 6-6 with a 2.99 ERA.

The 24-year-old Gutierrez made three appearances for the Astros from in the last six days, including his first major league start on Thursday against Washington. He posted an 0-1 record with a 9.00 ERA.

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Re: MLB News and Notes August - 25

Tribe recalls Laffey
August 25th, 2007

Kansas City, MO (Sports Network) - The Cleveland Indians recalled starting pitcher Aaron Laffey from Triple-A Buffalo, and the left-hander is expected to start Saturday's game against Kansas City.

This is the second stint with the Indians for Laffey, who went 1-1 with a 5.73 ERA in two starts during his first trip with the Tribe.

In his major league debut August 4 against Minnesota, Laffey, who started the season with Double-A Akron, was saddled with the loss after yielding three runs on six hits over 5 1/3 innings. Five days later, the 22-year-old Laffey gave up four runs on five hits over 5 2/3 innings against the Chicago White Sox to pick up his first win.

To make room on the roster, the Tribe optioned pitcher Edward Mujica to Buffalo. The right-hander doesn't have a decision and an 8.53 ERA in nine games for the Indians this year.

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