MLB News and Notes September 8

MLB News and Notes September 8

Notes from Friday's games
September 7, 2007

SEATTLE:
If the Mariners end the season tied with either the New York Yankees or Detroit Tigers for the wild-card playoff spot, they would play a one-game playoff on the road, it was determined by a coin flip by Major League Baseball. Seattle would play at New York if tied with the Yankees, and at Detroit if tied with the Tigers. ... RHP Jorge Campillo was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma. He was 9-6 with a 3.07 ERA.

DETROIT:
Should they finish the season tied for the wild-card playoff spot with either the New York Yankees or Seattle Mariners, the Tigers would play a one-game playoff at New York, or would host Seattle in the contest, it was determined by a coin flip by Major League Baseball. ... RHP Jair Jurrjens, on the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder inflammation, is scheduled to throw on Saturday. If all goes well, he'll start one of the games of Tuesday's doubleheader with Texas.


BOSTON:
C Doug Mirabelli said his injured left hamstring, which forced him out of Thursday's game, remains sore and it might be Saturday before he has a sense of how serious the problem is. ``I just want to get back here and play,'' said Mirabelli, who was activated Sept. 1 after missing 14 games with a strained right calf muscle. ``I've already been gone for three weeks. I don't want to be gone for another three weeks.'' Manager Terry Francona said the Red Sox had no plans to add another catcher to the roster. ... OF Brandon Moss has been working at first base with Francona and coach Luis Alicea and will play the position in winter ball.

BALTIMORE:
The Orioles purchased the contract of RHP Victor Santos from the Cincinnati Reds. Santos, who went 1-4 in 32 games with the Reds this season, is expected to report Saturday. To clear room on the 40-man roster, Baltimore designated OF Jon Knott for assignment. ... 1B Kevin Millar entered Friday's game needing four plate appearances to reach 475 for the season, thereby triggering a vesting option that guarantees him a contract in '08. ... OF Corey Patterson missed a second straight game with a sprained left ankle. ... LHP Garrett Olson, who left Thursday's game against Boston with stiffness in his forearm, will miss his next start, manager Dave Trembley said.


TORONTO: RHP Casey Janssen, who was hit on the right ankle by a liner Wednesday, said he is available to pitch this weekend. ``It's fine,'' Janssen said. ``I'm ready to go.'' Janssen had his ankle taped Friday, but doesn't expect to tape it on Saturday. ... Tampa Bay LF Carl Crawford entered Friday hitting .388 (19-for-49) with five homers and 13 RBIs against Toronto this season. The All-Star outfielder is appealing a two-game suspension given to him Wednesday, which means he can play until a hearing is held. ``I can't blame him,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said with a smile.

TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays scored 118 runs in winning 10 of their previous 13 games. Almost going unnoticed was Tampa Bay's improved ERA of 4.19 over the previous 12 games, which was 11th overall in the majors. ``They're smoking,'' Toronto manager John Gibbons said. ``I have said it all along, the nights they pitch, they win.'' ... Devil Rays manager Joe Maddon said there could be some news on tests performed on injured CF Rocco Baldelli in the next few days. Baldelli had his minor league rehab assignment for a strained left hamstring shutdown late last month.


OAKLAND: RHP Rich Harden will throw two innings or 30 pitches in a simulated game on Saturday. Harden has been on the 15-day DL since July 8 due to a strained right shoulder. Harden has pitched in only seven games this season. ... When newly acquired OF Kevin Thompson makes his A's debut, it will raise the number of players used this season to a major league-high 52, fourth highest in team history. The club record is 56 by the 1915 Philadelphia A's.

TEXAS: Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani will throw out the ceremonial first pitch before Saturday night's game against the A's. Team owner Tom Hicks is a major Giuliani supporter, and Hicks has arranged for a Giuliani rally outside the stadium on Saturday afternoon. ... With nine OFs on the roster, manager Ron Washington has a difficult time keeping everyone sharp. Rookie David Murphy has moved into contention for a roster spot next spring by playing all three OF positions and batting .367 in his first 22 games for Texas. Meanwhile, Nelson Cruz has taken a step back with a 4-for-33 slide. Cruz remained out of the starting lineup on Friday night while he worked with hitting instructor Rudy Jaramillo to correct some mechanical problems with his swing. ``Cruz will be out there Saturday and Sunday,'' Washington said. ``They're trying to work some things out at the plate.''


NEW YORK: This weekend's series sets up a reunion of two old pals and former college teammates. Kansas City rookie 3b Alex Gordon and Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain hugged before the game and met with reporters. Chamberlain is from Lincoln, Neb., and Gordon is from nearby Omaha. They played together at the University of Nebraska. ``I called him last night and told him if we face each other, he has to throw me a fastball down the middle on the first pitch,'' joked Gordon. Said Chamberlain: ``He called it. I will.'' ... Manager Joe Torre said Roger Clemens could make his next start next weekend in Boston. The Rocket last pitched on Sept. 3 before receiving a cortisone shot in his right elbow.

KANSAS CITY: RHP Gil Meche, who started Friday night against the Yankees, came into the game with the sparest run support of any qualifying AL pitcher, getting an average of 3.85 runs per nine innings while he was in the game. Meche reached the 30-start plateau for the third time in his career. ... Attendance at Kauffman Stadium on Friday night was guaranteed to bring the season total past that of each of the past two years. Kansas City entered Friday night with a total draw for 2007 of 1,370,678 - 1,960 shy of last year and only 504 behind the 2005 total.


MINNESOTA: C Joe Mauer, who hasn't started since Aug. 25 because of an injured left hamstring, ran before Friday's game and said he hoped to play this weekend. ``I was going as quick as I could go,'' he said. ``There's still soreness in there. But as long as it doesn't get any worse as we increase activity, I think it's getting there.'' ... C Jose Morales was called up from Triple-A Rochester to give the Twins some badly needed help. C Mike Redmond strained ligaments in the knuckle of his left middle finger on Tuesday, forcing Minnesota to play Wednesday without a backup catcher. ``I never mind going with one catcher,'' manager Ron Gardenhire deadpanned. ``The last game was kind of nerve racking, to tell you the truth. That's not the way you like to go into a game, so it's nice to have a (second) catcher here.''

CHICAGO:
White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen didn't want to comment on whether Chicago would be interested in Torii Hunter when he becomes a free agent after the season. ``Everybody wants that guy. I wish I'm Torii Hunter's agent,'' said Guillen, who deferred questions to GM Ken Williams. ``He is in a great situation right now. If he is in the White Sox plans, you have to ask Kenny. Wow. There is going to be a lot of cake for that kid this year. He is going to go where the cash is. You can't send your kid to college with a ring.''


CLEVELAND:
The Indians entered Friday 70-20 when scoring four or more runs and 11-39 when scoring no more than three. ... LHP Rafael Perez came in with a 0.98 ERA since the All-Star break. ... The Indians' starting pitchers had compiled 880 innings entering the second game of their four-game series with the Angels, the most by any rotation in the majors. ... LHP C.C. Sabathia, who starts on Saturday night against Ervin Santana, is one victory away from tying his career high, and 18 strikeouts shy of his first 200-strikeout in the big leagues. He is already the first Indians pitcher in 50 years to reach double digits in wins for seven consecutive seasons.

LOS ANGELES: RF Vladimir Guerrero missed his second straight game because of inflammation in his right triceps. But 3B Chone Figgins was in the starting lineup for the first time since Aug. 21 after being sidelined because of a sprained left wrist. But he admits there's still some soreness. ``None of us are ever 100 percent, but I feel like I can go out and compete at a high level without hurting the team,'' said the switch-hitting Figgins, who has less pain batting left-handed than right-handed.


CHICAGO:
RHP Carlos Zambrano, 0-5 with a 9.42 ERA since he last won, starts Saturday night in Pittsburgh. He is 7-6 in 18 games against the Pirates but is 0-2 this season. Zambrano hasn't won since July 29, going 0-4 with a 7.06 ERA in August. The slump prompted him to criticize the team's fans, but he apologized a day later. ... Cubs coach Ivan DeJesus (prostate surgery) hopes to rejoin the team next week. ... Beginning Friday, the Cubs began a closing stretch in which they play 16 of 23 away from Wrigley Field, including 10 of 11. Their only time home during that span will be a makeup game Monday against St. Louis.

PITTSBURGH: LHP Zach Duke, the Pirates' opening-day starter, will be used out of the bullpen the rest of the season and won't return to the rotation when he is activated. He hasn't pitched in the majors since late June because of elbow inflammation. Duke allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings for Double-A State College during his fourth and final rehabilitation start Thursday. ... LHP Paul Maholm (lower back stiffness) is expected to throw a side session Saturday. He hasn't thrown since being scratched from a scheduled start Sunday in Milwaukee. ... How's this for a goal? The Pirates had to go 21-1 in their final 22 games for their first winning season since 1992.


FLORIDA:
The Marlins are almost assured of their second consecutive losing season after three straight winning years. ... Miguel Cabrera is on the verge of becoming the third player in the majors to top 100 RBIs in each of the last four seasons. ... Cody Ross extended his career-best hitting streak to nine games with an RBI double in the second inning. ... LHP Scott Olsen was pushed back to Monday instead of starting against the Phillies on Saturday. Rick VandenHurk pitches in Olsen's spot.

PHILADELPHIA: RHP John Ennis will start Saturday and the struggling Adam Eaton will be pushed back to Tuesday against Colorado, so he can face the Mets next weekend. Eaton has been successful against New York, even though he has a 6.28 ERA. Ennis will become the 13th different starting pitcher used by the Phillies this season. ... The Phillies would host the Mets in a one-game tiebreaker if the two teams finished tied for first place in the NL East. But the Phillies didn't fare well in coin flips to decide home teams for the wild-card spot. They would only host if tied with the Cubs.


HOUSTON:
RHP Roy Oswalt is scheduled to face Pedro Martinez on Sunday in a marquee matchup. Martinez (.692) and Oswalt (.679) rank 1-2 among active pitchers in career winning percentage. Oswalt is 6-0 with a 1.78 ERA in his past seven starts. Houston has won 12 of his last 13 starts. ... 1B Lance Berkman homered in the first inning, giving him homers in three of his last five games and five of his past nine. ... The Astros interviewed another candidate for their vacant general manager job: Los Angeles Dodgers assistant GM Logan White. He was the seventh man to meet with the team about the position. Houston will interview more candidates next week.

NEW YORK:
After skipping a start because of a sore right foot, RHP Orlando Hernandez is expected to return to the rotation during next week's series against Atlanta that runs from Monday through Wednesday. ``We're not sure which day it is, but if everything goes right he should be OK by early next week,'' manager Willie Randolph said. ... With slugger Carlos Delgado out for a while because of a strained right hip flexor, Jeff Conine started at 1B. Randolph said he'll go day by day at first base. OF Shawn Green and pinch-hitter deluxe Marlon Anderson also could fill in. ... RHP Pedro Martinez said he felt sharper in his bullpen session Thursday and expects to increase his pitch count Sunday against Houston. The three-time Cy Young Award winner threw 76 pitches Monday at Cincinnati in his first start back from shoulder surgery last year. ``I'm going to be pushed a little further and I'm going to push myself and I'm going to try to improve from the other outing,'' Martinez said. ``It's nice to be back with the team and doing the routine that I'm going to do now for the rest of my career hopefully.'' ... In a pregame ceremony on the field, the Mets honored the late Gil Hodges, who managed them to the 1969 World Series title. Hodges was recently inducted into the United States Marine Corps Sports Hall of Fame. Tom Seaver and Yogi Berra were among those on hand for the ceremony. The team retired Hodges' No. 14 long ago. ... 3B David Wright was among several Mets who shot a music video with Jerry Seinfeld at Shea Stadium to promote an upcoming animated movie. ``All I did was catch a yellow baseball and get a little paint on my hands,'' Wright said. ... Speedy OF Carlos Gomez was activated from the 60-day disabled list. The rookie, who had been sidelined since July 5 with a broken left hand, could see action as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement down the stretch.


MILWAUKEE: Starter Dave Bush gave up six runs in the first, one short of the most scored against the Brewers in an inning this year. Milwaukee pitchers have twice allowed seven in an inning. The seven hits by the Reds tied the most against a Brewers' pitcher in an inning this season. ... Ken Griffey Jr.'s second-inning homer was the 593rd of his career and 30th this season. ... It was the shortest start of Bush's career. He went two innings on April 18, 2005 for Toronto against Boston. ... Brewers' starters were 6-0 in the past nine games. ... Friday night's game was the 10th in a stretch of 21 against NL Central opponents.

CINCINNATI: C Ryan Jorgensen, who appeared in four games with the Reds before being optioned to Triple-A Louisville on Aug. 27, was suspended for 50 games for an unspecified violation of baseball's drug prevention and treatment program, the commissioner's office said. Jorgensen had batted .200 (3 for 15) with 2 HR and 6 RBI in four games. ``Ryan understands the rules of the program and will serve the appropriate suspension,'' the club said in a statement and declined further comment. ... Reliever Victor Santos was traded to the Orioles for cash. He appeared in 32 games, was 1-4 with a 5.14 ERA. ... Josh Hamilton started in center field despite a sore hamstring. ``He's had a nagging issue with it,'' manager Pete Mackanin said. ``I talked with him today and he said it was fine.'' Hamilton doubled in his first at-bat.


WASHINGTON: OF Ryan Church is getting plenty of time on the bench while the Nationals go with Wily Mo Pena, who was acquired on Aug. 17. Church went into Friday's game hitting .265 with 11 homers and 55 RBIs, compared with Pena's .226 average, 10 homers and 27 RBIs. Asked how Church was taking the reduced playing time, manager Manny Acta said, ``Our relationship's been pretty normal. He understands what we're trying to do here.'' ... The Nationals aren't going to the playoffs, but their Dominican Summer League team won a championship. The team, managed by Sergio Mendez, beat the Yankees' affiliate for the title. Acta said he was ``really proud'' of the accomplishment, which shows the new ownership is making strides in its attempt to bulk up the farm system.

ATLANTA:
SS Edgar Renteria came off the disabled list before the game, but he'll need a few more days before he returns to the lineup. Renteria sprained his right ankle while trying to field a hard-hit grounder on Aug. 2. He returned for one at-bat at Cincinnati but aggravated the injury and went back on the DL. While Renteria was out, the Braves went 14-17 and fell out of contention in the NL East. ``He's a clutch hitter,'' Andruw Jones said. ``He's one of those guys that, when his situation comes up, he's going to get it done. If he needs to draw a walk, he'll draw a walk. Little stuff like that. He's just clutch. He's been doing it forever. He knows how to play the game.'' ... C Brian McCann keeps having problems with his left ankle. He initially hurt the ankle last season in a home-plate collision, then tweaked it again earlier this season. On Wednesday, it began bothering him again while running the bases, forcing him out of the game. But, with benefit of an off day in the schedule, McCann was back in the lineup for the opener of the weekend series. ``It comes and goes,'' he said.


SAN DIEGO:
2B Marcus Giles (sprained left knee) will be activated Sunday. ... According to manager Bud Black, a decision has not been made about OF Scott Hairston (strained left oblique muscle). ``We have to see how he feels,'' Black said. ``There are different degrees of strains with the oblique and we want to be sure.'' ... OF Milton Bradley's ejection by umpire Phil Cuzzi last Tuesday had a simple explanation. ``Phil thought he should have left the game in a more timely fashion,'' Black said. ... Black likes the Sept. 4 signing of RHP Brett Tomko. ``I like his arm,'' Black said. ``He has something to prove the last couple of weeks.''

COLORADO: The Rockies have used a club-record 28 pitchers this season, and manager Clint Hurdle expects that number to grow. ``We've got our sights set on 30,'' he said. ``We're not stopping at 28.'' ... The team purchased the contract of LHP Mark Redman from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Friday and designated catcher Alvin Colina for assignment. The Rockies are the fourth organization for Redman this season. ... Hurdle said the Rockies will start RHP Ubaldo Jimenez against Philadelphia on Monday and then LHP Franklin Morales on Tuesday. Hurdle is undecided about the starter for Wednesday. ... There's an excitement in the clubhouse with the Rockies playing meaningful games in September. ``It's a whole different mind-set compared to what we've been dealing with in the past,'' Hurdle said. ``These guys understand there's more in front of us. We have more work to do.''

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LOS ANGELES: 3B Nomar Garciaparra returned to the starting lineup, three days after coming off the 15-day disabled list. Garciaparra, who went on the DL on Aug. 14 with a strained left calf, batted fifth. ``We wouldn't put him out there if we were nervous,'' manager Grady Little said. ... Little planned to rest 1B James Loney for Saturday afternoon's game and play Shea Hillenbrand at first. Also, Luis Gonzalez was scheduled to start in LF Saturday. ... The Dodgers had won 11 straight in San Francisco, their longest streak in a road ballpark since getting 13 straight victories at Candlestick Park from Aug. 1, 1976-Sept. 1, 1977.

SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants have all but decided to shut down LHP Noah Lowry for the remainder of the season. Lowry, a 14-game winner this year, is nursing a mild strain in his elbow but said he has experienced no pain and is trying not to worry about whether he'll take the mound again in 2007 and focus on getting healthy. ``With Noah, there is some minor irritation there,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``At this point we feel we should back him off. Could we pitch him? Sure. But we feel it's in our best interest to give him some rest. There's a very small outside chance (of him pitching again). I think Noah's had a great year - 14 wins before we shut him down.'' ... left-handed reliever Jack Taschner had an MRI exam on his troublesome shoulder that revealed a mild strain, which happened during his two scoreless innings Monday at Colorado. ``Basically strengthen and stretch, and hopefully (be ready) by the end of the homestand,'' Taschner said. ... The Giants transferred RHP reliever Vinnie Chulk to the 60-day disabled list with a circulatory ailment in his right arm that can be caused by tobacco use. Chulk, who had been chewing tobacco on and off for eight years, recently quit. By moving Chulk to the 60-day DL, it made room on the 40-man roster for infielder Scott McClain to come up from Triple-A Fresno. McClain is in the majors for the first time since playing 13 games late in the 2005 season for the Chicago Cubs. In 1,636 career minor league games, he has 262 home runs and 1,001 RBIs.

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Baseball Today - September 8
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Saturday, Sept. 8

Seattle at Detroit (7:05 p.m. EDT). The Mariners' Jeff Weaver (6-11) faces the Tigers' Nate Robertson (7-11) in a matchup of teams pursuing the Yankees for the AL wild card.

STARS Friday

-Ken Griffey Jr., Reds, hit a two-run shot for his 593rd homer and added an RBI single in an 11-4 rout of Milwaukee.

-Jim Thome, White Sox, hit a three-run homer to help erase a six-run deficit in the ninth, and Chicago beat Minnesota 11-10 in 13 innings.

-Jack Wilson, Pirates, had three hits, including a two-run homer and an RBI double, to help beat the Chicago Cubs 6-1.

-Lastings Milledge, Mets, made a diving catch to help thwart a potential rally, then hit a three-run homer in an 11-3 rout of Houston.

-Frank Catalanotto, Rangers, homered, tripled and drove in three runs to help Texas beat Oakland 5-3.

-Gregg Zaun, Blue Jays, hit a three-run homer in a 7-2 victory over Tampa Bay.

MOVING ON UP

Alex Rodriguez homered for the sixth time in nine games, raising his major league-leading total to 49 in the Yankees' 3-2 win over Kansas City on Friday night. Rodriguez homered off Gil Meche in the second inning, moving past Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews with his 513th home run and taking sole possession of 17th place. He also broke his own team record for home runs by a right-handed batter.

OVERWORKED

Colorado used nine relievers after starter Elmer Dessens left with a strained left hamstring in the third inning of a 10-4 win over San Diego on Friday night. The 10 total pitchers was a National League record for a nine-inning game, and the most since Baltimore used 10 against the New York Yankees on Sept. 12, 2004. The Rockies used 10 hurlers against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 30, 2006, in a game that went 14 innings.

20-20-20 VISION

Curtis Granderson hit his 20th home run in Detroit's 6-1 win over Seattle on Friday night, making him only the sixth major league player since 1900 with at least 20 home runs, 20 doubles and 20 triples in one season. The Tigers' outfielder leads the majors with 21 triples and has 36 doubles.

STILL GOING STRONG

John Smoltz didn't allow a hit through seven innings, leading Atlanta over Washington 7-1 Friday night. The only pitcher in baseball history with at least 200 wins and 150 saves, Smoltz (13-7) walked off to a standing ovation after allowing a leadoff single to Ronnie Belliard in the eighth. The 40-year-old struck out 10 and walked two.

SHORT OUTING

Dave Bush got just three outs in the shortest of his 99 career starts, allowing eight runs and nine hits in an 11-4 loss to Cincinnati on Friday night. It was just the third loss in nine games for the Brewers, who remained tied with the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central lead.

READY TO TUSSLE

Boston handed an angry Daniel Cabrera his 15th loss of the season, barely avoiding a brawl Friday night in a 4-0 victory over Baltimore. Both teams charged from the dugouts and bullpens in the fourth inning after Cabrera threw a fastball behind the ear of Dustin Pedroia. After a warning was issued to both teams, Cabrera waved his arms at the Red Sox, causing tempers to escalate. No punches were thrown, and Cabrera was ejected from the game.

STRONG STARTS

Dustin McGowan struck out a career-high 12 in eight innings to lead Toronto past Tampa Bay 7-2 on Friday night. McGowan (10-8) gave up two runs on four hits and a walk. He has won two straight starts, giving up just three runs in 16 innings over the stretch. ... Jon Lester allowed four hits in seven innings to win his third straight start in Boston's 4-0 victory over the Baltimore. Lester (4-0) struck out four, walked two and allowed only one runner past second base in his eighth start since returning to the majors following a bout with lymphoma.

SPEAKING

''I was just itching a spot and Nick (third-base coach Nick Leyva) thought I was putting the steal on. I'm not going to steal with Prince (Fielder) coming up. I should have seen it was a preview of what was going to come. It set the tone for the night. I looked up and saw Gabe coming and thought, 'What the heck is going on?''' - Brewers manager Ned Yost, on a pesky mosquito bite that led to Gabe Gross getting thrown out while trying to steal third in a 1-2-3 first inning. Milwaukee lost 11-4 to Cincinnati on Friday night.

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Arizona second baseman might need season-ending thumb surgery
ASSOCIATED PRESS

PHOENIX -- Arizona Diamondbacks all-star second baseman Orlando Hudson may have to undergo season-ending thumb surgery.

General manager Josh Byrnes acknowledged Friday that surgery is the ''worst case scenario'' after Hudson tore a ligament in his left thumb sliding head-first into third base against San Diego on Tuesday night. Hudson played Wednesday but was replaced after seven innings.

''Right now it's assessing can he play with it, any risk we'd be running and how he's feeling,'' Byrnes said. ''We're going to give it a couple of days, then regroup and make more of a decision on Sunday.''

The loss of Hudson would be a severe blow to a young team that entered Friday night with a one-game lead in the NL West.

''I don't want to go there yet because he means so much to the team,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ''We're going to wait a couple of days to see where it all plays out.''

Hudson, a gold glove winner in both leagues, is hitting a team-high .294 with 10 home runs and 63 RBIs.

Hudson had only missed two games entering Friday night's contest.

With the injury to his glove hand, the issue is whether he could grip the bat or field grounders without extreme pain or further damage to the thumb.

''We all have his long-term interest at heart,'' Byrnes said. ''To put a player at any sort of risk is something we take very seriously.''

The team has three other second basemen - Alberto Callaspo, Augie Ojeda and Emilio Bonifacio. Callaspo, who has been sidelined with a strained hamstring, would become the everyday second baseman in Hudson's absence, Melvin said.

Callaspo might be ready to start on Saturday, the manager said. Callaspo was recalled from Triple-A Tucson Sept. 4. He hit .341 for the Sidewinders after being sent down earlier this year.

Hudson, known by his teammates as ''O-Dog,'' has a fast-talking, upbeat personality that has made him one of the team's leaders.

''I'm talking like something has happened here already as far as him not being with us. I'd rather not do that,'' Melvin said. ''But either way he's still going to be with us. His personality and everything he brings will always be with us.''

Melvin emphasized that he's not yet counting Hudson out.

''We still have hope,'' he said. ''That's why we're waiting a couple of days.''

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Giants probably shutting down lefty starter Lowry for remainder of 2007
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants have all but decided to shut down left-hander Noah Lowry for the remainder of the season.

Lowry, a 14-game winner this year, is nursing a mild strain in his elbow but said he has experienced no pain and is trying not to worry about whether he'll take the mound again in 2007 and focus on getting healthy.

''With Noah, there is some minor irritation there,'' manager Bruce Bochy said before Friday night's series opener with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. ''At this point we feel we should back him off. Could we pitch him? Sure. But we feel it's in our best interest to give him some rest. There's a very small outside chance (of him pitching again). I think Noah's had a great year - 14 wins before we shut him down.''

Lowry went 14-8 with a 3.92 ERA in 26 starts and 156 innings this season.

In addition, lefty reliever Jack Taschner had an MRI exam on his troublesome shoulder that revealed a mild strain, which happened during his two scoreless innings Monday at Colorado.

''Basically strengthen and stretch, and hopefully (be ready) by the end of the homestand,'' Taschner said.

The Giants transferred right-handed reliever Vinnie Chulk to the 60-day disabled list with a circulatory ailment in his right arm that can be caused by tobacco use. Chulk, who had been chewing tobacco on and off for eight years, recently quit. By moving Chulk to the 60-day DL, it made room on the 40-man roster for infielder Scott McClain to come up from Triple-A Fresno.

McClain is in the majors for the first time since playing 13 games late in the 2005 season for the Chicago Cubs. In 1,636 career minor league games, he has 262 home runs and 1,001 RBIs.

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