MLB News and Notes September 6

MLB News and Notes September 6

Carlos Delgado will be out of Mets' lineup for a week to 10 days with sore hip
September 5, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) -Carlos Delgado will be sidelined for a week to 10 days with a strained muscle in his right hip, a significant blow to the New York Mets as they try to protect first place in the NL East.

The slugging first baseman hurt himself on an awkward swing during an 11-7 victory over the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night. Mets manager Willie Randolph and a trainer came out to check on Delgado, who stayed in the game and struck out.

He was sent back to New York for an MRI exam Wednesday that detected a strained right hip flexor.

``Anytime it's one of your big guys, you get concerned,'' Randolph said.

The test results were announced as the Mets headed for the airport following a 7-0 loss to the Reds on Wednesday. They could play Shawn Green, Marlon Anderson and Jeff Conine, who was obtained from the Reds in a trade last month, at first base while Delgado heals.

``It's too early to discuss any other options,'' said Tony Bernazard, the Mets vice president for player development.

The Mets will be without Delgado as they begin a potentially pivotal stretch. After a weekend series against Houston, they host Atlanta and Philadelphia next week, when they'll have a chance to open up some breathing room against their top two pursuers.

New York leads the NL East by five games over the Phillies. The Mets were swept four games in Philadelphia last week, cutting their lead to two. Then they went on a five-game winning streak that stretched it back to five. The Phillies also lost on Wednesday, keeping the margin at five.

Late in a disappointing season, Delgado was starting to go on a tear at the right time. He hit his 22nd homer Monday and has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, with four homers during that span.

Green has started three games at first base this season. He is batting .276 with eight homers and 42 RBIs in 110 games overall, batting near the bottom of the order.

``I feel I've kind of stepped into a different type of production,'' Green said following Tuesday's win. ``I'm more of a swing guy. It's a different role. I've accepted the fact that I'm not one of the guys in the middle of the lineup carrying the team anymore.''

The Mets got Conine from the Reds for two minor leaguers on Aug. 20, a day after infielder Damion Easley went on the 15-day disabled list with a severely sprained left ankle. Conine played first base on Wednesday and went 0-for-4, leaving him batting .260 overall with six homers and 34 RBIs.

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Notes from Wednesday's games
September 5, 2007

CLEVELAND: After the Indians scored three runs in the top of the ninth inning, manager Eric Wedge stuck with reliever Rafael Perez to finish the game. Perez got five outs for his first major league save. It also allowed Wedge to rest top setup man Rafael Betancourt and closer Joe Borowski. ``Perez has been our guy,'' Wedge said. ``We weren't going to go to Betancourt today. We were going to stay away from him.'' ... The Indians scored three runs in the first inning. It was the ninth time in 18 games against the Twins this season that Cleveland scored in the first inning, and the sixth game in a row. ... LF Franklin Gutierrez was the only Indians starter not to get a hit.

MINNESOTA: C Joe Mauer did some light running to test his strained hamstring, but is still not close to returning to action. Mauer did not run the bases and said it was still sore. ... Twins great Tony Oliva had some fun with C Mike Redmond before the game. Redmond has a strained ligament on the middle finger of his left hand, which makes it very painful to swing. Oliva grabbed a roll of medical tape and slid it over his middle finger. ``I won two batting titles swinging like this,'' Oliva said. He showed it to manager Ron Gardenhire. ``Tony, I don't think that's going to work,'' Gardenhire said. ... Rookie reliever Nick Blackburn pitched three-plus innings after Scott Baker left in the fifth, getting charged with two of Cleveland's three runs in the ninth. ``He threw the ball very good. Very deceptive. Changed speeds,'' Gardenhire said. ``We heard a lot of good things about him in Triple-A.''


OAKLAND:
Barring another 20-game winning streak like the one they had in 2002, this could be the first time in nine years the Athletics won't finish first or second in the AL West. They are 14 games behind the division-leading Angels with 21 to play, and were 7 1/2 behind second-place Seattle entering Wednesday. But that doesn't mean they weren't happy about avoiding a sweep by the Angels with a 6-2 victory. ``It is big for us. We want to beat them every time we play them,'' manager Bob Geren said. ``But at this point, our goals right now are to get above .500 and finish strong. We still have a lot to play for, and the guys are playing hard every day.'' ... Mark Ellis set a franchise single-season record for home runs by a second baseman when he hit his 17th, a three-run shot in the fourth inning. The previous mark was shared by Davey Lopes (1983) and Jimmie Dykes (1921). ``He's always had some pop,'' Geren said. ``When we first got him, we saw the power in his bat. He's not real tall, necessarily, but he is a strong guy. He's been fairly healthy all year, and I think that contributes to it.'' ... Ellis also holds the club mark for longest streak without an error for a second baseman, extending his streak to 99 on Wednesday.

LOS ANGELES:
The Angels activated INF Erick Aybar, who went on the 15-day DL on Aug. 20 with a strained left hamstring. ... The AL West-leading Angels open a four-game series at home against Central division leader Cleveland on Thursday. ``They're in the hunt, we're in the hunt,'' Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia said. ``It should be a good series.'' ... RF Vladimir Guerrero is creeping up on Lou Gehrig. With 22 home runs and a .326 batting average this year, Guerrero seems well on his way to his 10th consecutive season of hitting at least 25 homers and batting .300 or above. Gehrig reached those numbers for 11 straight seasons, from 1927-1937. Tied for third on the list with eight consecutive seasons are Babe Ruth (1926-1933) and Ted Williams (1941-1942 and 1946-1951). Williams served in the military and did not play from 1943-45.


TORONTO:
Frank Thomas extended his hitting streak to 15 games, the longest this season by a Toronto player, with a second-inning single. ... Not only did the Red Sox beat the Blue Jays 5-3 on Tuesday night, Boston's Double-A team eliminated Toronto's Double-A team in a one-game Eastern League playoff when Portland beat New Hampshire 7-4. ... Roy Halladay (14-7) has lost three of his seven complete games this season. He went all the way in Tuesday night's loss to Josh Beckett (17-6).

BOSTON:
Mike Lowell singled in the first inning, one night after his 16-game hitting streak ended. That equaled his career high. ... 2B Dustin Pedroia got a rest when Alex Cora started in his place. Pedroia had at least two hits in each of his previous five games. He is 13-for-23 in that span, raising his batting average to .329. ... Manager Terry Francona said Manny Ramirez, sidelined with a strained muscle in his left side, will not accompany the team to Baltimore for a four-game series starting Thursday. ... Rookie OF Jacoby Ellsbury, called up Sept. 1 from Triple-A Pawtucket, doubled in his first at-bat. On Tuesday, he missed hitting for the cycle by a double.


SEATTLE:
Ichiro Suzuki was called out twice on calls that replays showed were blown by umpires. When he tried to steal second in the third inning, he was called out by second base ump Gerry Davis even though SS Derek Jeter missed the tag. In the fifth, Suzuki appeared to beat out a grounder but was called out by first base ump Tony Randazzo. Manager John McLaren unsuccessfully argued the call. ... Despite entering Wednesday's game 74-63, Seattle had been outscored 677-676.

NEW YORK:
RHP Roger Clemens received a cortisone injection in his sore right elbow, two days after a start against Seattle was cut short after four innings because of elbow inflammation. ``Talking to him the other day before he went to Houston, he made me feel like: I'll see you shortly in the starting rotation,'' manager Joe Torre said. ... RHP Chien-Ming Wang will take Clemens' turn on Sunday at the Kansas City Royals, pitching on his regular four days' rest. Torre said the Yankees decided not to have Wang, a sinkerballer, wait until the series at Toronto, which has artificial turf. Wang said his back felt fine, a day after it stiffened in the eighth inning and forced him out after 86 pitches. ... Ian Kennedy is to start Friday's series opener against the Royals, followed by Andy Pettitte on Saturday. Mike Mussina, bumped from the rotation last week in favor of Kennedy, likely will start one of the games in Toronto. ... RHP Luis Vizcaino had an MRI exam on his right shoulder, which felt sore when he pitched against Seattle on Tuesday night. The shoulder checked out fine, but Torre said Vizcaino wouldn't be available through the weekend.


CHICAGO:
Though he didn't criticize the quality of umpiring in the major leagues, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he respects the critical comments Atlanta's Chipper Jones made recently about umps. ``They're human beings, they have the right to miss calls,'' Guillen said. ``But their attitude has to get better.'' ... Guillen also said RF Jermaine Dye, who left Tuesday night's game with a left groin injury, would only be used as a pinch-hitter if absolutely necessary Wednesday night.

DETROIT:
MVP candidate Magglio Ordonez wasn't in the starting lineup so he could rest a sore heel. ... Tigers manager Jim Leyland said RHP Jeremy Bonderman's elbow was a little sore after Tuesday night's 3-1 loss to the White Sox, but didn't think it was serious enough for Bonderman to miss his next start.


BALTIMORE: C Ramon Hernandez, 2B Brian Roberts and 1B Kevin Millar were all rested. Melvin Mora got the start at DH. ... LHP Garrett Olson (1-3) is scheduled to start Thursday night's opener of a four-game series against the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox. The fourth-place Orioles are 5-9 against the Red Sox this season.

TAMPA BAY: Before the game, 3B Akinori Iwamura said his confiscated bat had not arrived from New York. Iwamura's unusual model was taken away by umpires Saturday after Yankees manager Joe Torre asked them if it was legal. MLB officials examined the bat and announced Tuesday it was in full compliance with the rules. ... Manager Joe Maddon said there was no news yet regarding tests performed on CF Rocco Baldelli, who had his minor league rehab assignment for a strained left hamstring shut down late last month after he experienced leg soreness.


KANSAS CITY:
RHP Gil Meche will be trying to snap his six-game losing streak when he gets the start at home Friday night against the Yankees. Meche has the lowest run support in the AL at 3.85 per game, and the Royals have scored 10 runs in his 12 losses. ... The hyperextended knee 3B Ross Gload sustained Tuesday night as he ran out a double-play ball wasn't as bad as first feared. Gload was out of the lineup Wednesday night, but manager Buddy Bell thinks Gload will be available this weekend against the Yankees.

TEXAS:
Hank Blalock continues to work on his throwing from third base in pregame drills with the goal of returning to playing in the field sometime during the 10-game road trip that starts next week. Blalock has been filling in at DH since he was removed from the 60-day DL on Sept. 1 after missing 106 days due to a shoulder injury. Blalock said he can make routine throws, but needs a little more time to get his arm in shape for the more difficult throws. ... SS Michael Young is the team's recipient of the Roberto Clemente Award presented to the player from each club who combines baseball ability with community service. Young received a plaque before the game. ... Manager Ron Washington wants to lower the workload on his three primary relievers: LHP C.J. Wilson, RHP Joaquin Benoit and RHP Frank Francisco. ``With the innings they're throwing, there's fatigue,'' Washington said. ``It's the time of the year where it's not only physical, it's mental.''


NEW YORK:
1B Carlos Delgado is expected to be sidelined for a week to 10 days because of strained muscles in his right hip. Delgado hurt himself on a swing in his last at-bat on Tuesday night. A test on Wednesday detected the strain. ... Delgado hit his 22nd homer in the series opener Monday. He has hit safely in nine of his last 10 games, with four homers during that span. ... The Mets had four other regulars out of the starting lineup Wednesday. Manager Willie Randolph wanted to rest them in a day game after a night game. ... New York managed only three hits and didn't get a runner past second base. The Mets were shut out for only the fourth time this season. ... The three hits matched their season low.

CINCINNATI: Brandon Phillips' 28th homer surpassed Joe Morgan's club record for homers by a second baseman. Morgan hit 27 in 1976, when the Big Red Machine won its second straight World Series title. ... Phillips' main goal for this season is 30 homers and 30 steals. He needs two more homers and three more stolen bases to get there. ``Why not shoot for it?'' he said. ... 1B Joey Votto hit a solo homer off the batter's eye in center for his first big-league hit. He's the third Reds player to get a homer for his first major league hit this season. OF Josh Hamilton and C Ryan Jorgensen also did it. ... RHP Tom Shearn allowed three hits in six innings for his second win in three starts. The 30-year-old rookie is hoping to get a chance to make the team in spring training next year, perhaps as a long reliever.


PHILADELPHIA: After being waived by San Diego, C Pete Laforest finds himself in the middle of another playoff race. He was claimed by the Phillies, who are trying to chase down the New York Mets in the NL East. ``It's the exact same race, so I'm right back where I wanted to be,'' Laforest said. ... LHP Cole Hamels said he's still not close to pitching in a game. The All-Star has been on the disabled list since Aug. 22 because of a strained elbow, and he hasn't pitched since Aug. 16. The Phillies could definitely use Hamels (14-5, 3.50 ERA) as they try to erase New York's five-game lead in the NL East. ``It's a long ways off,'' Hamels said. ``I've got to make sure this thing's OK. It (stinks), especially at this time of year.''

ATLANTA: C Brian McCann is hurting again. He tweaked his left ankle while running the bases in the eighth inning and had to leave the game. McCann has struggled with ankle problems since last season, when he was injured in a home-plate collision at Arizona. After coming out this time, he was taken to his car in a golf cart. The Braves listed him as day to day, and McCann has some extra time to recover. Atlanta is off Thursday before starting a weekend series against Washington. ... OF Willie Harris snapped out of long slump with two hits, including a homer, and a couple of RBIs. He was 0-for-25 coming into the game, but led off the first with a single, homered in the sixth and drove in another run with a bases-loaded walk in the eighth. ``I know you're going to have good and bad times,'' he said, ``but I didn't think my bad time would go on this long.''


FLORIDA:
LHP Dontrelle Willis has just one win since May 29, but manager Fredi Gonzalez says he's still throwing well. ``It's been difficult because I know he's better than that,'' Gonzalez said. ``You see signs of the old dominating Dontrelle Willis - the old dominating pitcher.'' ... OF Miguel Cabrera became the third youngest player to reach 500 RBIs in his career on Tuesday night - and he began Wednesday night needing four RBIs for his fourth consecutive 100 RBI season. He would become the third youngest player to accomplish that. Mel Ott and Ted Williams are the others. ``You see how consistent he is day in and day out,'' Gonzalez said. ``When he goes 3-for-20, you start panicking because he never does it.''

WASHINGTON: 1B Dmitri Young was not in the starting lineup. Young began the day with a .330 average, firmly among the NL leaders, but was 3-for-17 in his last five games - and he's hit into four double plays in his last four games. ``I think he needs a day off, and it's the right time. He looks to me like he needs a day off,'' manager Manny Acta said. ... The Nationals play 19 of their final 22 games against the top three teams in the NL East - New York, Philadelphia and Atlanta - and they're looking forward to it. ``It will be interesting to play those guys,'' INF Ronnie Belliard said. ``We're going to win some games - put somebody out of the race.''


HOUSTON:
Triple-A Round Rock manager Jackie Moore and trainer Mike Freer will join the Astros Friday in New York and will be with the team for the remainder of the season. Moore was Cecil Cooper's first manager in pro baseball, in Jamestown, N.Y., in 1968. ... Houston signed its first player from the Major League Baseball European Academy, 17-year-old right-handed pitcher Andrea Lucati, from Ponzano Veneto, Italy. He is expected to join the team in Spring Training. ... Before the game Tuesday, Craig Biggio received several gifts from the Milwaukee Brewers, including a gas grill and 144 sausages. ... Biggio is the team's nominee for the Roberto Clemente Award.

MILWAUKEE: After concluding their six-game homestead, the Brewers have a day off Thursday before visiting Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Milwaukee is 26-42 on the road and has won just seven of its 22 series. ... The Brewers will finish with a winning record against Houston for the first time since going 2-1 in 1997. ... Pitcher Jeff Suppan is the team's representative for the Roberto Clemente Award. ... Reliever Ray King, acquired in a trade with Washington, joined the club on Wednesday. ... Dave Bush will start Friday against the Reds. He is 8-3 with a 4.01 ERA over his last 15 outings, which includes relief wins on June 27 and July 31.


LOS ANGELES: C Russell Martin, who hurt his left knee while trying to score from third on a fly ball Tuesday night, was sent to a local hospital for a precautionary MRI exam. ``We wanted to make sure everything was OK,'' trainer Stan Conte said. ``The knee doesn't look bad. There was enough soreness for me to get an MRI.'' Martin was out of the lineup Wednesday - manager Grady Little had planned to give Martin a day off during the four-game series with the Cubs - and results from the test were not available before Wednesday night's third game of a four-game set. ``Hopefully he'll be ready to play tomorrow,'' Little said. ... Pitcher Randy Wolf had exploratory surgery on his left shoulder and the news was good. Conte said there no repair needed because there was no structural damage or tears and that surgeons mostly did a cleanup of debris. He said Wolf will start a rehab program and should be ready for spring training. ...David Wells' first start after serving a seven-game suspension will come Saturday in San Francisco against Barry Zito and the Giants. Wells, then with the Padres, was suspended for his animated argument with an umpire who ejected him on July 7 against the Atlanta Braves, a scene that ended with the pitcher hurling a ball into the screen as he left the field.

CHICAGO: Manager Lou Piniella and pitching coach Larry Rothschild met with temperamental ace Carlos Zambrano on Tuesday. Piniella wouldn't go into specifics of the meeting with the struggling right-hander, who hasn't won since July 29. ``Told him to relax and pitch,'' Piniella said. Zambrano, who signed a $91.5 million contract last month, criticized fans for booing him after another shaky outing Monday when he was hit hard by the Dodgers. He offered a public apology to the fans on Tuesday. ... Piniella promised to add some speed to his lineup after the Cubs struggled for two straight games against the Dodgers to score runs. But his lineup Wednesday featured Ronny Cedeno at short and Craig Monroe in center, giving two of his fastest players, Ryan Theriot and Jacque Jones, the night off. He also started Pacific Coast League MVP Geovany Soto at catcher. ... Are the Cubs feeling the stress as they're chased by Milwaukee and St. Louis? ``I think everybody is relaxed,'' Piniella said. ``Nobody is putting undue pressure on themselves. ... It can be a stressful time if you let it. `` ... Steve Trachsel will make his second start in his second stint with the Cubs on Sunday in Pittsburgh. Ted Lilly will pitch a makeup game against the Cardinals on Sept. 10 at Wrigley Field. Lilly and Sean Marshall will be the starters in a doubleheader in St. Louis five days later. Marshall has been skipped in the rotation to make room for Trachsel.

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PITTSBURGH: OF Xavier Nady, beaned by the Cardinals' Andy Cavazos on Monday, was not in the lineup for the second straight day. Manager Jim Tracy said team medical personnel advised him to give Nady another day to recover but reiterated Nady does not have a concussion. ... LHP Zach Duke (elbow) is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start for Class A State College on Thursday and should join the rotation after that. ... LHP Paul Maholm (back), scratched from his turn in the rotation on Monday, will miss at least one more start while the team takes a cautious approach with him, but Tracy said shutting him down for the year has not been discussed. ``Maholm is progressing,'' Tracy said. ``Until he gets to the point where he's free and clear with those low-back symptoms, we will not push him forward, because we do not want him altering his delivery. Not with the progress he's made.''

ST. LOUIS: 3B Russell Branyan, who homered and made three nice plays defensively on Tuesday in his first start with his new team, earned a second straight start. Branyan was not used his first three games after the Cardinals acquired him from the Phillies on Friday. ... LHP Mark Mulder was on an approximate 85-pitch count Wednesday and LHP Mike Maroth, who'll be making his first start off a rehab stint from elbow tendinitis on Thursday, will be limited to about 60 pitches. Maroth's longest rehab was 2 2-3 innings on Friday, pitching after Mulder's five-inning stint for Triple-A Memphis. ... Manager Tony La Russa said it's ``still possible'' that UT Scott Spiezio, on the restricted list undergoing treatment for substance abuse, could rejoin the team before the end of the season. La Russa declined to reveal where Spiezio was being treated, saying ``What difference does it make where he is?'' ... Two minor league affiliates, Double-A Springfield and Class A Quad Cities, began postseason play Wednesday night.


SAN FRANCISCO:
LHP Jack Taschner underwent an MRI exam on his right shoulder in San Francisco. ``We don't know any of the results, but the good news he is feeling better,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ... The Giants also received favorable results from an examination of LHP Noah Lowry's left elbow. ``I was told there wasn't any significant damage,'' Bochy said. ``We'll know more about his status for the rest of the year when we get home.'' ... The Giants haven't heard anything from the league about disciplinary action for when RHP Brian Wilson and Bochy were ejected after Wilson hit Colorado C Yorvit Torrealba with a pitch in the eighth inning of Tuesday night's game.

COLORADO: Bench coach Jamie Quirk managed the team as Clint Hurdle served a one-game suspension and was fined an undisclosed amount for bumping umpire Jerry Layne on Aug. 31 at Arizona. ... LHP Franklin Morales will remain in the rotation despite being shelled for five runs in three innings on Tuesday night.


SAN DIEGO:
Manager Bud Black said he's not worried about RHP Chris Young's health. Young (9-6 with a 2.63 ERA) has struggled since coming off the disabled list, where he landed because of a strained left oblique muscle. He has allowed 14 earned runs in his last 13 1-3 innings, a span of three starts. ... OF Scott Hairston, out since Aug. 10 because of a strained left oblique muscle, could return to the team this weekend. Hairston has three homers in 20 at_bats since the Padres acquired him from Arizona on July 27.

ARIZONA: The Diamondbacks have an off day Thursday, which allows them to skip the troubled No. 5 spot in their rotation. With four off days in September, the Diamondbacks may need a fifth starter only three times. RHP Edgar Gonzalez is a leading candidate, and Dana Eveland and Yusmeiro Petit also in the mix. ... 1B Tony Clark hit his fourth homer - in nine career at_bats - off San Diego's Chris Young on Tuesday night. But Arizona CF Chris Young extended his slump against the Padres' Chris Young to 0-for-10. ... RHP Brandon Webb starts the opener of a three-game series against NL Central contender St. Louis on Friday night in Chase Field. Webb is 1-4 with a 4.67 ERA in six career starts against the Cardinals.

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Baseball Today - September 6
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Thursday, Sept. 6

Cleveland at L.A. Angels (10:05 p.m. EDT). Paul Byrd faces Kelvim Escobar in a possible playoff preview.

STARS Wednesday

-Alex Rodriguez, Yankees, homered twice in an eight-run seventh inning to help the New York Yankees get past Seattle 10-2.

-Matt Diaz, Braves, hit a three-run double with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to lift Atlanta over Philadelphia 9-8.

-Carlos Pena, Devil Rays, homered twice and drove in a team-record seven runs as Tampa Bay pounded Baltimore 17-2.

-Timo Perez, Tigers, hit a game-ending single in the 11th inning to push Detroit past the Chicago White Sox 2-1.

SPECIAL DELIVERY

After he was nearly scratched from the starting lineup with a sprained right ankle, Alex Rodriguez homered twice in an eight-run seventh inning to lead New York over Seattle 10-2 Wednesday night and help the Yankees open a three-game lead over the Mariners in the AL wild-card race. His first homer tied Mel Ott on the career list, and his second matched Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 17th place at 512. Rodriguez, who leads the majors with 48 homers and 134 RBIs, became the first Yankees player to homer twice in an inning since Cliff Johnson on June 30, 1977, at Toronto.

BONDS HOMERS

Barry Bonds hit his 762nd home run to help San Francisco beat Colorado 5-3 on Wednesday. Ubaldo Jimenez became the 449th pitcher to allow a home run to Bonds, who has 54 career home runs against the Rockies. Bonds hit his record-breaking 756th home run on Aug. 7.

BREWS BASH

Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun and Corey Hart each hit three-run homers, and Milwaukee connected five times in all to beat Houston 14-2 on Wednesday. For Fielder, it was his NL-leading 41st homer. Hart became the fifth player in Brewers history to hit at least 20 homers and steal 20 bases in a season.

TWIN KILLING

Cleveland defeated Minnesota 6-2 Wednesday on the strength of a strong outing from Fausto Carmona to complete its second sweep of the Twins in 10 games. Minnesota had won five in a row and trailed the Indians by 6 1/2 games in the AL Central on Aug. 27 before a showdown in Cleveland. The Twins finished the series 12 1/2 games behind the Tribe.

BASEMENT DWELLERS

Carlos Pena homered twice, including a grand slam, and drove in a team-record seven runs as Tampa Bay hammered stumbling Baltimore 17-2 on Wednesday. The Orioles have lost 13 of 15. Including the 30-3 loss on Aug. 22 to Texas, Baltimore has allowed eight or more runs in 10 of 15 games. The 17 runs were a season high for Tampa Bay, and the team's most ever in a home game.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Rick Ankiel hit a two-run homer for St. Louis, his seventh in 75 at-bats, in an 8-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Wednesday. It gave him 22 RBIs in 22 games since the former pitcher returned to the major leagues as an outfielder on Aug. 9.

STREAKING

Wily Mo Pena hit a tiebreaking single in the seventh inning to help Washington get past Florida 6-4 for the Nationals' fifth straight win. They have won seven straight games against the Marlins.

SPEAKING

''We get any of us old folks in that MRI machine for an hour, who knows what the hell the thing is going to say.'' - Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who hit two homers as the designated hitter in a 10-2 rout of Seattle on Wednesday. Rodriguez was questionable for the game with a bad ankle following a collision with Mariners third baseman Adrian Beltre on Tuesday.

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Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin is day-to-day because of a knee sprain
ASSOCIATED PRESS

CHICAGO -- Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Russell Martin has a mild sprain of his left knee and will be evaluated daily. He underwent a precautionary MRI exam on Wednesday and did not play in an 8-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Martin hurt his knee during Tuesday night's game when he tried to score from third base on a fly ball and was thrown out at the plate by Alfonso Soriano.

Manager Grady Little said he wasn't sure if Martin would be available Thursday in the final game of the series with Chicago.

The 24-year-old Martin has stolen 21 bases this season and leads NL catchers in hits, runs scored, steals, walks, batting average and on-base percentage. He is batting .297 with 17 homers and 81 RBIs.

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Arizona's Orlando Hudson will undergo MRI exam for sprained left thumb
September 6, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) -Arizona second baseman Orlando Hudson has a sprained left thumb and will undergo an MRI exam on Thursday.

Hudson went 1-for-4 with a triple in the Diamondbacks' 9-6 victory over San Diego on Wednesday night, but he left the game after seven innings. Arizona manager Bob Melvin said the injury occurred on a slide into third base one night earlier.

Hudson will undergo an MRI on Thursday, an off day, and Melvin said the club doesn't know when he may return. The Diamondbacks open a three-game series against NL Central contender St. Louis on Friday night.

Hudson has been one of Arizona's hotter hitters. Since Aug. 3, he is batting .319 (38-for-119) with six doubles, four triples and a homer.

``This obviously puts a little damper here,'' Melvin said after the Diamondbacks moved a game ahead of the Padres in the NL West. ``This is one of our leaders right here, so we've got to try to find a way to get him healthy.''

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Sheffield returns to Detroit's lineup
September 6, 2007

DETROIT (AP) -Detroit Tigers designated hitter Gary Sheffield was in the starting lineup Thursday after missing two weeks with a shoulder injury.

Sheffield was activated from the disabled list before Detroit played Chicago. He last played Aug. 21.

``It's been frustrating - that's why I left for rehab,'' he said. ``If I had been here, it would have affected me even more. It's exciting to be able to do something and help the team.''

Sheffield has had surgery on the shoulder twice, most recently in 1995, but ruled out a third operation.

``I don't want to go through that - having to do six weeks of rehab and break up the scar tissue,'' he said. ``I only have two years left, and I can make that.''

Sheffield hit third for Detroit. He is hitting .279 with 24 homers.

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