MLB News and Notes September 11

MLB News and Notes September 11

Notes from Monday's games
September 10, 2007

MINNESOTA:
LHP Francisco Liriano, who has been out all season, is scheduled to throw off the mound Nov. 1 for the first time since having ``Tommy John'' surgery last Nov. 6. Liriano is rehabbing at the Twins' complex in Fort Myers, Fla. ... Rookie 2B Alexi Casilla, who did not play in the past four games and in six of the past eight games, returned to the lineup Monday. ``He needs to step back and shorten his swing,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. ... The Twins have used 41 players, compared to 39 last season. ... The Twins have struck out 716 times, which is the lowest in the majors. They are averaging 5.01 strikeouts in their first 143 games.

KANSAS CITY:
DH-1B Billy Butler, who was moved from the outfield to first base this season, will report Oct. 12 to play winter ball in the Dominican Republic. ``The sole reason he's going down is to work on his defense,'' Royals manager Buddy Bell said. Butler, who has started just five games at first base, is hitting .299 with six home runs and 44 RBIs in 76 games as a rookie. ... Royals starters have struck out 457 times in 785 innings, while their relievers has logged 404 strikeouts in 479 1-3 innings. ... OF Emil Brown is two doubles shy of 100 for his career. ... The Royals top the majors with 81 HBPs. The team leader is CF David DeJesus with 18, which ties the club record.


DETROIT: An MRI exam of RHP Jeremy Bonderman's sore right elbow showed pinched cartilage, which will not require surgery. Manager Jim Leyland said he doubts Bonderman will pitch again this season. ... OF Curtis Granderson and DH Gary Sheffield are only the third pair of Tigers teammates to hit 20 homers and steal 20 bases during a season. Alan Trammell and Kirk Gibson accomplished the feat during the 1986 and '87 seasons. ... Twenty-two of Detroit's final 37 games are at Comerica Park.

TORONTO: OF Matt Stairs' eight-game RBI streak ended Sunday at Tampa Bay, leaving him tied with Carlos Delgado (2000, '03) and Willie Upshaw (1983) for the club record for consecutive games with an RBI. Stairs, who did not start Monday at Detroit, is batting .433 with 19 RBIs and five homers in his last 25 games. ... 2B Aaron Hill's 15 homers are two off the club record for a second baseman set by Roberto Alomar in 1993. ... The Blue Jays' 48 one-run games are the most in the AL and one behind Arizona's league-leading total.


TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays promoted INF Jorge Velandia from Triple-A Durham. To make room on the 40-man roster, they moved SS Ben Zobrist from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL with a strained muscle in his right side. ... Three of Tampa Bay's minor league teams are in their league championship series: Durham in the Triple-A International League, Montgomery in the Double-A Southern League and Columbus in the Class-A South Atlantic League. ... The Devil Rays began the day with 19 games left - all against teams with a chance to make the playoffs.

BOSTON: DH David Ortiz didn't start against LHP Scott Kazmir. Ortiz said his troublesome right knee was more sore than usual. ``I'd rather take a day off, especially against a guy that's been owning you,'' Ortiz said. He is 5-for-34 in his career against Kazmir. ... Manager Terry Francona said Doug Mirabelli's strained left hamstring will keep him from catching Tim Wakefield on Tuesday night. Mirabelli, outstanding at handling Wakefield's knuckler, likely will be replaced by Kevin Cash. ... Julio Lugo started in Ortiz's place at DH and led off the bottom of the first with a single. It was the shortstop's first game as DH this year.


CLEVELAND: The Indians defeated the Anaheim Angels 6-2 Sunday night and arrived in Chicago at 4:30 a.m. on Monday. ... White Sox DH and former Indian Jim Thome is two homers shy of 500 and Indians manager Eric Wedge doesn't want to have any part in the festivities if Thome hits the milestone home run against his former team. ``I hope we don't see it. I hope he does it against somebody else,'' Wedge said. ... In the first seven games of a 10-game road trip, the Indians were 5-2. They had gained seven games on the Detroit Tigers in the second half and Wedge just wants to stay in the background during their successful stretch. ``I believe it's the manager's job to stay the hell out of the way when things are going good and get out in front when a team is struggling,'' he said.

CHICAGO: The White Sox are 61-82 through 143 games, the worst mark since going 59-84 in 1989. ... Mark Buehrle is scheduled to start on Sunday against Anaheim. RHP Gavin Floyd started in place of Buehrle on Monday night. The White Sox were trying to get a look at the rookie right-hander. ... Before Monday night's game against the Indians, Jim Thome is 6-for-12 in his last three games with three homers. He was two homers shy of 500 and the rest of his teammates feel excitement for Thome. ``He's been great with it. He has let everyone in. I imagine sometimes when guys get into that situation, they're probably not the friendliest guys to begin with and they go out and make it their own thing, but he's proving again he's a great teammate by letting everyone share with him,'' Paul Konerko said.


COLORADO: Manager Clint Hurdle still isn't sure who the Rockies will pitch Wednesday in Philadelphia. ``We don't have to name a starter,'' he said. ... Hurdle said RHP Elmer Dessens (hamstring) isn't a candidate and likely won't return to pitch until next week's series against the Dodgers, at the earliest. ... The Rockies are still without 2B Kaz Matsui (strained right hamstring). Hurdle said Matsui was being evaluated daily and would be back in the lineup as soon as ``he can go out and do a good job.''

PHILADELPHIA: Manager Charlie Manuel isn't counting the Phillies out of catching the New York Mets in the NL East. ``There are a lot of teams that have lost six, seven, eight straight,'' Manuel said. The Phillies swept a four-game series against the Mets two weeks ago and the rematch is this weekend in New York. ... OF Michael Bourn (ankle) was activated from the DL. ... Injured LHP Cole Hamels will throw in the bullpen on Wednesday.


WASHINGTON: The Nationals needed just one win in three games at Florida this week to earn the franchise's first season-series victory against the Marlins since 1998, when Montreal went 7-5. ... Relievers entered Monday night's game having posted a 2.09 ERA and .210 (39-for-186) batting average against in 14 games since Aug. 25. ... RF Austin Kearns was hitting .369 (31-for-84) with 10 RBIs in his previous 23 games. ... 3B Ryan Zimmerman had 33 RBIs in his previous 38 games and was on pace for 94 RBIs overall.

FLORIDA: RHP Rick VandenHurk has been removed from the rotation and will not pitch again this season. The Marlins are being careful with VandenHurk, who pitched just 25 innings last season following Tommy John surgery. ``It's been a great year,'' VandenHurk said. ``I've got a lot to learn.'' ... LHP Chris Seddon will make his first major league start Tuesday night, and RHP Sergio Mitre has been pushed back from Tuesday to Saturday. RHP Byung-Hyun Kim will start against Washington on Wednesday and LHP Dontrelle Willis at Colorado on Friday night. ... Matt Treanor (bruised left knee) was available but manager Fredi Gonzalez was unsure whether the catcher would be used.


MILWAUKEE: The Brewers have settled on a rotation for the start of next weekend's series in Cincinnati, with Ben Sheets (12-4) going Friday and Jeff Suppan (9-11) on Saturday. Manager Ned Yost has not yet said who will start Sunday. Carlos Villanueva (7-3) made only his third start in 55 appearances Monday night in Pittsburgh. ... Ryan Braun hit 30 homers in his first 94 major league games, including two Sunday in Cincinnati. No player has hit as many homers in so few at_bats since Mark McGwire hit 30 in 84 games during the 1986 and 1987 seasons for Oakland. ... Nashville Sounds manager Frank Kremblas joined Milwaukee's staff for the rest of the season.

PITTSBURGH:
OF Xavier Nady (concussion) remained out of the lineup Monday with recurring headaches. ... OF Jason Bay has no structural damage in his right knee, based on an MRI exam Monday. He hopes to resume playing later this week. ... SS Jack Wilson was chosen as the NL Player of the Week for the first time in his career. He was 16-for-26 with six doubles, two homers and 11 RBIs last week. Bay and LHP Tom Gorzelanny were chosen earlier this season. ... From Aug. 1 through Sunday, Wilson's .418 average was the highest in the majors.


ST. LOUIS: OF Chris Duncan left the team and flew back to St. Louis to have his sore groin examined by team doctors. Manager Tony La Russa wasn't sure how long his left-handed slugger would be out and said Duncan, who is hitting .259 with 21 homers and 70 RBI, is ``questionable'' to return this season. ``He's a sore young man,'' La Russa said. ``I don't know. I mean, he's been sore for a couple of months.'' ... Despite a 12-3 loss at Wrigley Field on Monday, the Cardinals know their upcoming three-day, four-game series at home against Chicago could make-or-break their season. ... Monday's loser Joel Pineiro was looking ahead to a rematch with the Cubs this weekend at Busch Stadium. ``This weekend is going to be the biggest series with four against the Cubs,'' Pineiro said. ``It's going to be do-or-die right there for us, so we need to bring our A game.'' Pineiro said he hopes to redeem himself with a probable start during the September 14-16 series. He gave up eight hits and six runs in 3 1-3 innings. ... The Cardinals best hope in the final three weeks is how well they've played against NL Central opponents. St. Louis is 36-25 in the division. Seventeen of their final 21 games are against divisional teams.

CHICAGO: Manager Lou Piniella already has his rotation mapped out through the final seven games of a road trip and then three games against the Reds at home, a stretch that runs through Sept. 19. During that span, Steve Trachsel will make a start this Thursday on three days' rest in Houston, and Carlos Zambrano and Ted Lilly will also go on short rest, pitching against the Cardinals this weekend and then against Cincinnati at Wrigley Field. That way, Piniella said, the Cubs will have their rotation set up for the final nine games. He said the Cubs have been watching pitch counts all season and their starters are fresh enough to go on three days rest. ... Piniella hasn't shaved in several days and is sporting a facial growth that he says is not a beard. Asked about it for the third time in two days, he said he would have a barber in Houston shave it off and might change his hairstyle. ``I might get a mohawk, too. Give you a different look,'' he said. ... Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez have now homered in the same game 25 times, including four times this season. Ramirez had the 18th two-homer game of his career and his four hits tied a career high. ... 2B Mark DeRosa had swelling in his elbow after being hit by a pitch and could miss Tuesday's game in Houston.


ATLANTA: 3B Chipper Jones and CF Andruw Jones were scratched from the lineup minutes before the first pitch. Chipper Jones strained a muscle on his right side during batting practice. It was uncertain how long he might be out. Andruw Jones was removed from the lineup because of an illness. Both sluggers were day to day. ... C Brian McCann had hit safely in 28 of his last 33 games.

NEW YORK: In a pregame ceremony on the field, the Mets honored RHP Pedro Martinez for reaching 3,000 career strikeouts. The three-time Cy Young Award winner was joined by family members, including his brother, Ramon, a former big league pitcher, and doctors who handled his shoulder surgery last year. Of the 15 major league pitchers with 3,000 strikeouts, Martinez is one of only three with more Ks than innings pitched. Nolan Ryan and Randy Johnson are the others. The jersey Martinez wore on Sept. 3 in Cincinnati, when he reached the milestone, will be displayed at the Hall of Fame. ``I would like to thank the fans for all the support and all the beautiful letters that I received even when I wasn't with the team,'' Martinez said after a video tribute. ... Backup C Ramon Castro, on the DL with lower back arthritis, was expected to play for Class-A Brooklyn on Monday night, which would be the third game of his rehab assignment. Castro caught eight innings Sunday night and went 2-for-3 with a walk.

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Mets slugger Carlos Delgado expected to be out longer than original estimate
September 10, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -Carlos Delgado is expected to miss the New York Mets' entire homestand, which would keep him out longer than the team's original estimate of a week to 10 days.

The first baseman has been sidelined since last Wednesday with a strained right hip flexor. He missed his fifth straight game Monday night, when the NL East leaders opened a three-game series against Atlanta.

The second-place Philadelphia Phillies arrive at Shea Stadium for a three-game set beginning Friday, and Mets manager Willie Randolph said it's ``safe to say'' Delgado won't be available for that series, either.

``It's going to be at least a good 10 days or so, maybe more,'' Randolph said.

Delgado has been receiving regular treatment and said he felt about the same Monday, ``a little better than when it happened.'' He said he was still a few days from resuming baseball activities.

``The key is to get to a point where you can play and don't have to think about it,'' Delgado said. ``We're not going to put a timetable on it.''

Delgado has endured a disappointing season, but he had started to come on at the plate when he got hurt. He is hitting .255 with 22 home runs and 80 RBIs.

The slugger hopes to be back in the lineup in time to get his timing back before a potential playoff series.

``We don't know until we go out there and test it. Right now it's just a little tender to the touch still,'' Delgado said. ``If you push it, obviously it hurts, but when you turn it just stretches a little bit, bites, whatever you want to call it.''

Delgado said no additional medical tests were planned.

``I'll be OK,'' he said. ``I want to have a positive attitude but I don't want to trick myself into doing something really stupid, which is going out there when you're not ready.''

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Marlins shut down rookie right-hander VandenHurk
September 10, 2007

MIAMI (AP) -The Florida Marlins have decided to take rookie right-hander Rick VandenHurk out of the rotation to guard against injury.

VandenHurk has thrown a career-high 147 2-3 innings this season - 81 2-3 for the Marlins and 66 in the minor leagues.

``He has done a terrific, terrific job, and you see him get better,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said Monday. ``You see him improve from one start to the next start.''

VandenHurk started 17 games for the Marlins and is 4-6 with a 6.83 ERA.

``I'm very happy that I made it this far,'' VandenHurk said. ``Obviously I want to finish it, but they do whatever they think is best in my interests. They know what's going on.''

Left-hander Chris Seddon will make his first major league start Tuesday against Washington. Struggling right-hander Sergio Mitre's next start will be bumped from Tuesday to Saturday.

Seddon was claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in June and assigned to Double-A Carolina. The 23-year-old left-hander has pitched two innings in relief since making his big league debut on Sept. 3.

``I'm just really excited,'' Seddon said. ``I'm trying to talk myself down and tell myself that this is doable.''

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Baseball Today - September 11
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD

Tuesday, Sept. 11

San Diego at L.A. Dodgers (10:10 p.m. EDT). Jake Peavy (16-6, 2.43 ERA) faces Esteban Loaiza (2-0, 2.49 ERA) in a matchup of playoff contenders.

STARS Monday

-Ryan Howard, Phillies, homered and hit a game-ending RBI double in the 10th inning of a 6-5 win over Colorado.

-Aramis Ramirez, Cubs, homered twice and had four hits in a 12-3 victory over St. Louis.

-Magglio Ordonez, Tigers, hit a two-run single to cap a four-run ninth inning rally and lead Detroit to a 5-4 win over Toronto.

-Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays, struck out 10 and allowed just two runners to reach second base in seven innings of a 1-0 win at Boston.

-Jeff Salazar, Diamondbacks, hit a go-ahead, three-run homer in the ninth inning for a 5-3 victory at San Francisco.

BOSTON BLANKED

Josh Wilson's sacrifice fly in the fifth inning drove in the only run for Tampa Bay in a 1-0 win over Boston on Monday. It was Boston's first 1-0 loss at home since Sept. 2, 2001, when the New York Yankees' Mike Mussina lost a perfect game with two outs in the ninth inning. The Devil Rays have won 13 of their last 17.

STRUGGLING CUBS

Aramis Ramirez homered twice and had four hits to help Ted Lilly earn his 15th victory, leading the Chicago Cubs to a 12-3 victory over St. Louis on Monday. It was just the third win in eight games for Chicago, which fell out of first place Sunday for the first time since Aug. 16. The Cubs ended the day in a first place tie with Milwaukee, which was shut down by Pittsburgh 9-0. The Cardinals have lost four straight and sit three games back of the Cubs and Brewers.

TIGERS RALLY

Detroit scored four runs in the ninth inning to rally past Toronto 5-4 on Monday. Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay was one out away from his eighth complete game when he gave up a pair of singles and was relieved by Casey Janssen, who gave up a two-run single to Curtis Granderson to make it 4-3. Magglio Ordonez hit a two-run single to cap the rally. Halladay has lasted at least eight innings in his last six starts, only one of them a win.

FREEFALL

Kurt Suzuki and Dan Johnson both hit grand slams to power Oakland past Seattle 9-3 on Monday and hand the Mariners their 14th loss in their last 16 games. Seattle is 5 1/2 games behind the wild card-leading New York Yankees and 8 1/2 behind the Los Angeles Angels in the AL West. On Aug. 26, they were leading the wild-card race by two games and were just one game behind the Angels.

BRUISING RECORD

David DeJesus was hit by a pitch in the fifth inning of Kansas City's 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Monday, bringing his season total to 19, which is a Royals record. Mike Macfarlane in 1994 and Angel Berroa in 2003 were hit by 18 pitches. The Royals have been plunked a major league-leading 82 times.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Bengie Molina hit a pair of solo home runs for San Francisco in a 5-3 loss to Arizona on Monday. Molina has a career-high 79 RBIs - 76 of them as a catcher, second-most in San Francisco history. Dick Dietz had 104 in 1970.

STREAKING

Moises Alou extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his first triple of the season in the New York Mets' 3-2 win over Atlanta on Monday. The Mets (82-61) have won four straight and nine of their last 10 to improve to a season-best 21 games above .500.

SPEAKING

''Where's that been? That was a thing of beauty. We hit the ball for power. We hit the ball in the gaps. We hit the ball with men in scoring position. A game like this can really get you going.'' - Cubs manager Lou Piniella, after his team pounded St. Louis 12-3 on Monday. Ted Lilly matched a career-high by earning his 15th win and improved to 9-1 when starting following a Cubs loss.

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Detroit's Bonderman may still be out for year
September 10th, 2007

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Detroit Tigers pitcher Jeremy Bonderman could still be gone for the season despite test results Monday that showed no structural damage in his elbow.

Bonderman had been pitching through pain instead of undergoing surgery, but it's not known if he'll pitch again this year.

Bonderman matched the shortest outing of his career on Sunday in a 14-7 loss to Seattle, as he was pounded for six runs on seven hits in just 1 1/3 innings.

Bonderman is 11-9 with a 5.01 earned run average in 28 starts this season. He began the year 8-0 and was 10-1 through July 19, but is now 1-8 in his last 10 outings.

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Musser breaks right hand on clubhouse chair
September 11, 2007

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -Rookie left-hander Neal Musser will miss the remainder of the season after breaking his right little finger punching a chair in the Kansas City Royals' clubhouse after a poor relief outing.

Musser gave up a go-ahead double to Justin Morneau, the first batter he faced, and retired just one of the four batters in the Royals' 4-2 loss to Minnesota on Monday night.

``I was a little aggravated the way I pitched and took my aggravation out the wrong way, and so I ended up breaking my hand on the back of a chair,'' Musser said. ``You live and learn. I'll never do it again. I did it one time and paid for it.''

X-rays following the game detected a break below his knuckle on his right little finger. He was wearing a cast Tuesday.

Musser was 0-1 with a 4.38 ERA in 17 relief appearances for the Royals this season, his first year in the majors.

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