MLB News and Notes September 14

MLB News and Notes September 14

Notes from Thursday's games
September 13, 2007

LOS ANGELES:
The swelling in OF Gary Matthews Jr.'s sprained right ankle has gone down considerably since he sustained the injury Tuesday, but there is no timetable for his return, he said. ... Vladimir Guerrero started as the designated hitter for the third straight game since he returned from a four-game absence due to an inflamed right triceps. Manager Mike Scioscia said Guerrero would throw this weekend to test the arm and determine when he can return to the outfield. ... C Mike Napoli, who made his first start Sunday after missing more than a month with a strained hamstring, was back in the lineup, replacing Jeff Mathis.

BALTIMORE:
Manager Dave Trembley and RHP Daniel Cabrera were suspended and fined by Major League Baseball for their roles in separate incidents during the last week. Trembley was suspended for three games because he followed his ejection from Wednesday's 18-6 loss with an animated tirade near second base. Cabrera was suspended for six games for throwing a pitch at the head of Boston's Dustin Pedroia on Sept. 7 and his part in the bench-clearing dustup that followed. Cabrera will appeal his suspension. Trembley began serving his Thursday. ... Trembley held 2B Brian Roberts, SS Miguel Tejada, 3B Melvin Mora and C Ramon Hernandez out of the starting lineup to play some September call-ups.


NEW YORK: RHP Kyle Farnsworth (stiff neck) had not pitched in the series against Toronto and was unavailable for Thursday's finale, manager Joe Torre said. ``It's getting a little better but not quick enough,'' Torre said. ... RHP Luis Vizcaino (sore back, sore shoulder) was ready to pitch Thursday. Vizcaino has not pitched since Sept. 4 at Seattle. ... OF Shelley Duncan, who has a bone bruise in his left pelvis and a small hernia, is available ``as soon as he feels up to it,'' Torre said. ... 1B Jason Giambi and C Jorge Posada were held out of the starting lineup. Wilson Betemit played 1B and Jose Molina was behind the plate.

TORONTO: Blue Jays OF Vernon Wells was held out of the starting lineup. ``He's struggling right now,'' manager John Gibbons said. ``We'll give him a bit of a mental break.'' Wells, who will undergo surgery at the end of the season to remove a cyst from his left shoulder, is batting .149 (7-for-47) in September. ... Twenty-seven of Toronto's past 33 games had been decided by three runs or fewer. The Blue Jays were 12-15 in those games. ... 2B Aaron Hill led AL second basemen with 39 doubles. Roberto Alomar set Toronto's club record for doubles by a second baseman with 41 in 1991.


TEXAS: Manager Ron Washington is giving David Murphy a good look in CF. Murphy started there in the series opener at Oakland and is scheduled to start in that spot again Friday and Saturday. Murphy also will likely get two starts in center at Minnesota, with Marlon Byrd playing the days Murphy doesn't. Washington met with Byrd about it. ``We're trying to see if he can play center field at the major league level,'' Washington said. ``We know he can play the corners. No knock on Marlon. All he cares about is the team.'' ... RHP Scott Feldman had an MRI exam to check a bone bruise in his right knee and the results were negative for a tear or damage to any ligaments. He will remain in Texas for the club's entire road trip. ... Washington was eager to see 3B Travis Metcalf, on the DL since late last month with a strained left hamstring, test his side-to-side movement taking groundballs rather than balls right at him. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy will start Saturday and be on a pitch count of 50-55. He threw a simulated game Thursday.

OAKLAND: RHP Rich Harden threw 52 pitches - just fastballs and changeups - in a simulated game as part of his recovery from a shoulder injury. He will throw another simulated game in five days and is scheduled to start Sept. 23 at Cleveland and then again on Sept. 29 against the Angels if all goes well. This is his second DL stint this year. Harden has been out since July 8 with a strained shoulder. ``Right now I feel great and I would love to get a couple of games in,'' Harden said. ``And if not, I still feel great.'' He threw mostly between 80 and 95 percent for his simulated outing, and even a few pitches at 100 percent. ``I think it's just good to see him on the mound and see him strong and healthy,'' manager Bob Geren said. ... Geren praised rookie C Kurt Suzuki for his heads-up job blocking balls Wednesday night at Seattle, not missing one stop. ``Last night was probably his best game blocking balls in the dirt,'' Geren said. ``(Dan) Haren has a late-moving, nasty split-finger. He blocked every one flawlessly. He's been good since he got here, but he's kept working and improving.''


TAMPA BAY: Carl Crawford began serving a two-game suspension after his appeal was rejected by the commissioner's office. His penalty stemmed from a heated argument he had with first base umpire Paul Nauert in a Sept. 3 game against Baltimore. Crawford's fine was reduced on appeal, but the length of the suspension was upheld. ``I just think that it was excessive,'' manager Joe Maddon said. He also thought it would have made more sense to have Crawford serve the suspension at the end of the season when the Devil Rays play Toronto instead of Seattle, which is still contending for a playoff spot. ``For me, for the integrity of the race, I was surprised that they didn't wait until the end of the season,'' Maddon added. ... Maddon has invited injured outfielder Rocco Baldelli, on the disabled list with a left hamstring strain, on this road trip. Baldelli, who has played just 35 games this season, had been working out at the team's complex. ``This is a way to get him back involved. We want him to be around the group again,'' Maddon said. ``We're building toward the future and he's a big part of that future. I'd like for this to be the beginning of his next year.'' ... The combination of Crawford's suspension and the cross-country flight from Boston forced Maddon to adjust his lineup. He rested three regulars: SS Josh Wilson, 3B Akinori Iwamura and C Dioner Navarro. Maddon thinks it's better to make wholesale changes for one game rather selective individual changes that he said weakens the ballclub on a daily basis. ``It's all done with on one day,'' he said.

SEATTLE:
Willie Bloomquist started his second consecutive game at 2B in place of regular Jose Lopez. Manager John McLaren said he's not doing it to rest Lopez. ``I just want to look at Willie a little. I'm sure Jose's not happy about it, but I'm going with players I think are going to help us win that night,'' McLaren said. ``This is more about Willie than it is Jose. I like the energy he had (Wednesday).'' ... OF Adam Jones, the organization's brightest prospect who has seen little action since his Aug. 3 call-up, had his moment to shine Wednesday. He delivered a pinch-hit, eighth-inning home run to tie Oakland. The Mariners won in the ninth, 6-5. ``That was as good an at-bat as we've had all year,'' McLaren said. ``He fought off some good pitches. He hung in there. He was on pitches. He saw the ball well. It was really good to see.'' Jones, who hit a 1-2 pitch for an opposite-field homer to right, became the ninth Mariners rookie to hit a pinch-hit home run. ... C Kenji Johjima, who missed Wednesday's game after being hit on his left wrist Tuesday on a throw by A's shortstop Donnie Murphy, was back in the starting lineup. ``You like guys who love to play the game,'' McLaren said. ... This was the first time McLaren has faced Tampa Bay, where he was the bench coach from 2003-05, since he became the Mariners' manager on July 2. ... The Mariners entered with 40 comeback wins, second in the AL and five off the franchise mark set in 2001. ... The Mariners also were second in the majors in batting average at .287. That's just shy of the team record of .288 also set in 2001.


ST. LOUIS:
The Cardinals went 0-7 on their road trip, their first winless trip of at least seven games since May 1972, when they lost four in Cincinnati and three in Pittsburgh. This winless trip included three losses in Arizona, a makeup game loss at Wrigley Field, and three in Cincinnati. ... The Cardinals hadn't been swept three games in Cincinnati since July 1998. ... St. Louis returns home for a four-game weekend series against the Cubs. The Cardinals also have three games left at Milwaukee, the other team they're chasing in the NL Central. ... RHP Kip Wells has given up 21 runs in 18 innings during his last four starts, all losses. ... Slumping OF Rick Ankiel was out of the lineup. He pinch-hit, stayed in the game and went 0-for-2, leaving him in a 1-for-23 rut.

CINCINNATI: OF Josh Hamilton was out of the lineup with a strained right hamstring. SS Alex Gonzalez was out with a sore left knee. ... David Weathers became the ninth Reds closer to get 30 saves in a season, improving to 30-for-35 in save chances. He's the first Reds reliever to reach 30 since Danny Graves in 2002. ... C David Ross hit a two-run homer, his first since July 23. The catcher had been 1-for-15 since returning from a concussion on Aug. 28. ... The Reds head to Milwaukee, where the Brewers will face starters Tom Shearn, Kirk Saarloos and Matt Belisle in a three-game series.


COLORADO: Bench coach Jamie Quirk served a one-game suspension for his actions in a game Tuesday night. Quirk engaged in an animated argument with plate umpire Mike DiMuro after a called third strike on Todd Helton and was ejected in the ninth inning of an 8-2 victory over the Phillies. ... 3B Garrett Atkins had hit safely in 19 of his last 22 road games.

PHILADELPHIA:
SS Jimmy Rollins has a chance to become the first player in major league history to have 40 doubles, 20 triples, 30 homers and 30 steals in one season. ``Sad thing is I wish I knew earlier in the season because there were some balls I probably could've stretched doubles into triples, but I was already in scoring position and I stopped,'' said Rollins, who had 17 triples. ``I can think of two instances where I shut it down and I know that could've been a triple for me.'' ... RHP Kyle Kendrick should be OK to make his next start after a hard liner gave him a bruised knee and knocked him out of the game in the fourth inning Wednesday.


CHICAGO: Manager Lou Piniella planned to rest RHP Bob Howry after the late-inning reliever pitched in four of the previous five games. Howry hadn't allowed a run in 27 of his last 32 appearances. ``He has really pitched well,'' Piniella said. ``He's resilient, he's dependable. He's indispensable in our bullpen.'' ... Piniella dismissed the notion that RHP Steve Trachsel, Thursday's starter, might be worked into the rotation in the final two weeks. Piniella said he'll go with Carlos Zambrano, Jason Marquis, Ted Lilly and Rich Hill the rest of the way. ``We can go with a four-man rotation,'' Piniella said, ``and that's what we'll probably do.'' ... The Cubs open a four-game series in St. Louis on Friday. The Cardinals lost their seventh straight game Thursday, falling further behind in the NL Central race. ``We can basically put them out of the way,'' Piniella said.

HOUSTON: RHP Chris Sampson will sit out the rest of the season with a sprained elbow capsule. Sampson started 19 games this season and was 7-8 with a 4.59 ERA. He threw a scoreless inning of relief in Tuesday's 5-4 win over Chicago, then felt soreness in his elbow. Interim manager Cecil Cooper saw no point in pitching Sampson again. ``He doesn't have to prove anything to me or the organization,'' Cooper said. ``We don't want to take a chance.'' Sampson went on the disabled list Aug. 3 with an unrelated ligament sprain in his throwing arm. ``Up until I sprained my ligament, I was rolling along,'' he said. ``I've had a solid rookie year, I've learned a lot I can build on going into next season.'' ... Cooper said C J.R. Towles and SS Cody Ransom would get some playing time this weekend against Pittsburgh. Towles and Ransom were called up from Triple-A Round Rock on Sept. 4. Cooper said Towles might start on Saturday and Sunday.


SAN DIEGO: RHP Brett Tomko, released by the Dodgers last month, will make his first start for San Diego on Saturday night against the Giants. Tomko has made three relief appearances for the Padres since he signed on Sept. 4. ... Padres manager Bud Black said OF Milton Bradley, who hasn't played since injuring his right oblique last Friday night at Colorado, probably won't return until next week at the earliest. ... Black was evasive when asked whether RHP Justin Germano, who has lost 10 of 12 decisions since starting 5-0, would remain in the rotation. ``No change is imminent,'' Black said. When asked if Germano would make his next scheduled start, Black replied: ``We'll see. No change is imminent today. His next start isn't until Monday.'' ... OF Scott Hairston made his first start since Aug. 9, when he strained his left oblique muscle. He was activated last Saturday.

LOS ANGELES: Manager Grady Little expressed confidence that RHP Derek Lowe will start Saturday against Arizona. Lowe was supposed to start Wednesday night against San Diego, but was unable to because of an injury to his pitching hand. He was hurt playing catch with fellow pitcher Jonathan Broxton during pregame warmups Tuesday. ``Derek went out and threw a little bit today,'' Little said. ``We're more than optimistic he'll be ready to go Saturday.'' ... 3B Nomar Garciaparra, activated Sept. 4 after missing 19 games because of a strained left calf, didn't start for the second straight game. ``Nomar's not 100 percent,'' Little said. ``It's very likely he won't be ready to play every day the rest of the season. That's a tough injury.'' ... The Dodgers will celebrate Tom Lasorda's 80th birthday during a pregame ceremony Friday night. The Hall of Fame manager's actual birthday is Sept. 22. Lasorda, a special adviser to the chairman, is completing his 58th season in the Dodgers organization.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 14

Baseball Today - September 14
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD

Friday, Sept. 14

N.Y. Yankees at Boston (7:05 p.m. EDT).

Andy Pettitte (13-8) faces Daisuke Matsuzaka (14-12) in the opener of a three-game set between the top two teams in the AL East.

STARS

Thursday

-Frank Thomas, Blue Jays, drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single in a 2-1 victory over the New York Yankees.

-James Loney, Dodgers, drove in four runs in a 6-3 victory over San Diego.

FAMILIAR FACE

Steve Trachsel earned his first win with the Cubs in nearly eight years and Chicago hit four home runs to regain the NL Central lead by beating the Houston Astros 6-2 on Thursday night. Trachsel gave up two solo homers and seven hits in five innings for his first win since the Cubs acquired him from Baltimore on Aug. 31. The 36-year-old right-hander pitched for the Cubs from 1993-99, and his last win with them came on Oct. 3, 1999.

STEPPING DOWN

Terry Ryan resigned as general manager of the Minnesota Twins, but will stay with the team as a senior adviser. The GM the past 13 years, Ryan said his resignation was effective Sept. 30. He will be replaced by Bill Smith. The Twins won the American League Central last season, but they're two games under .500 this season and out of the playoff chase.

RESURGENT

David Wells beat Greg Maddux in a matchup of 40-something pitchers as the Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the San Diego Padres 6-3 on Thursday night. Released by the Padres last month, Wells allowed four hits and three runs in six innings with one walk and three strikeouts. He also had two hits off Maddux for the first multihit game of his 21-year career. The second-place Padres trail NL West-leading Arizona by four games, and Los Angeles is 5 1/2 behind.

DOWNWARD SPIRAL

St. Louis lost all seven games on its trip, capped by a 5-4 loss to Cincinnati on Thursday. It was the first three-game sweep for the Cardinals in Cincinnati since July 1998. The defending World Series champions' last winless trip of at least seven games was May 1972, when they went 0-7 in Cincinnati and Pittsburgh.

SNAPPED

Frank Thomas drove in the winning run with a ninth-inning single, and the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Yankees 2-1 on Thursday night to snap New York's seven-game winning streak. ... The Angels had their six-game road winning streak snapped in a 3-0 loss to the Orioles.

STREAKS

Michael Young's two-out single in the third inning of the Rangers' 6-5 win over the Athletics on Thursday night extended his career-best hitting streak to 13 games.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Rookie pitcher Ian Kennedy allowed one hit in seven-plus innings for the Yankees in a 2-1 loss to Toronto on Thursday night.

SPEAKING

''I felt a lot of elation when we won, and sorrow when we lost. Now all of a sudden the defeats are getting a little harder to take, and the wins aren't as much fun. That's not a good thing to experience as a general manager.'' - Terry Ryan, who resigned from his position as general manager of the Minnesota Twins on Thursday. Ryan, who was the GM for the last 13 years, will stay with the team as a senior adviser.

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