MLB News and Notes September 16

MLB News and Notes September 16

Notes from Saturday's games
September 15, 2007

BALTIMORE:
RHP Danys Baez has a partial tear in his right elbow and will likely miss the rest of the season. Manager Dave Trembley said Baez will seek a second opinion after an MRI exam Friday revealed the partial tear. ... Trembley served the final game of a three-game suspension for an animated tirade near second base after he was ejected from Wednesday's 18-6 loss to the Angels. ... 3B Melvin Mora (tight lower back) could return to the lineup Sunday, Trembley said. ... RHP Rob Bell pitched two innings of relief Saturday before leaving with a stiff back. He is day to day. ... RHP Victor Zambrano made his Baltimore debut Saturday with four innings of scoreless relief.
   
TORONTO: 2B Aaron Hill hit his 41st double of the season, matching Roberto Alomar's club record, set in 1991. ... DH Frank Thomas hit his 509th homer and is two away from tying Mel Ott for 20th place. ... RHP Roy Halladay reached 15 wins for the fourth time. He is 15-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 25 games against Baltimore.


TEXAS: 3B Hank Blalock threw before the game to test his tender forearm, which still had some soreness but had improved some. Blalock, who missed 106 days after surgery on his clavicle area to remove a rib, was limited to the DH role. He will likely have Sunday off but could play the field next week at Minnesota if he is better. ... Manager Ron Washington is encouraged with how Ian Kinsler has performed in the leadoff hole, a spot he has shared with Frank Catalanotto. If the Rangers use them both to lead off again in 2008, Washington would be OK with that. In his second major league season, Kinsler has learned to be more patient at the top of the order - something Washington needs to see. ``Kinsler continues to progress. He's handled being at the top of the lineup pretty well,'' Washington said. ``He's got to continue to show patience. He has the ability to do that. He's very fortunate he can also pop the ball out of the ballpark, but he's not a home run hitter. I don't want him trying to go deep.'' ... Michael Young had his career-best 14-game hitting streak snapped.

OAKLAND: The A's called up LHP Jerry Blevins from Triple-A Sacramento, clearing a spot on the 40-man roster by transferring SS Bobby Crosby to the 60-day disabled list. Blevins, acquired in the July 16 trade with the Cubs that sent C Jason Kendall to Chicago, was not available to pitch Saturday after taking part in the Triple-A playoffs with the River Cats. His first outing for Oakland will be his major league debut ... RHP Rich Harden, close to returning from the DL after recovering from a strained right shoulder, is scheduled to throw a side session Sunday. He pitched a simulated game Thursday and is slated for another Tuesday. The A's have him penciled in to pitch the 23rd at Cleveland and the 29th at home during the season's final weekend against the Los Angeles Angels. ... More than 300 breast cancer survivors - including the mother and aunt of winning pitcher Joe Blanton - took the field before the game to produce a pink awareness ribbon. A moment of silence was held, then the women released pink balloons after the anthem. The A's raised more than $112,500 for breast cancer research.


NEW YORK: Chien-Ming Wang walked three batters in an inning for fifth time in his career. Boston took 16 consecutive pitches off him before Jason Varitek fouled one off. ... According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Wang's matchup with Josh Beckett was the first time that two pitchers sharing the major league lead in wins in September have faced each other since New York's David Cone met Boston's Pedro Martinez on Sept. 8, 1998; Cone won 3-2.

BOSTON:
DH David Ortiz drew his 100th walk of the season in the third inning, his third consecutive season with at least 100 walks. ... RHP Mike Timlin made his 1,006th career appearance, moving past Mike Jackson into sole possession of 11th place. ... OF Jacoby Ellsbury was 2-for-2 with two runs and three RBIs. He has hit safely in all 13 games he has played in since being recalled from the minors on Sept. 1.

KANSAS CITY: DH Mike Sweeney (strained right groin) wasn't in the lineup Saturday night. He was injured after hitting an RBI double in the fifth inning Friday night. Sweeney said he hopes to play Sunday, but more likely would return Monday. ... Billy Butler, who played first base Friday, was the DH while Ross Gload started at first. ... RHP Brian Bannister held the Indians to one run in six innings Friday, but felt partially responsible for the Royals' 5-4 loss. ``I think I wasted too many pitches early in the game,'' he said. ``By not getting into the seventh inning, I put too much pressure on the bullpen.'' ... C John Buck, who had a seven-game hitting streak snapped Friday, didn't start. Jason LaRue was behind the plate. ... Because of a makeup game in Baltimore on Sept. 24, the Royals don't have an off-day the rest of the season.

CLEVELAND: LHP Jeremy Sowers, who is expected to start a game in the Sept. 26 doubleheader in Seattle, pitched six shutout innings for Double-A Akron on Friday night against Trenton in the Eastern League championship series. He began the season in Cleveland's rotation, but was 1-6 with a 6.93 ERA in 12 starts before being sent to Buffalo in June. He was sent to Akron after the Bisons' season ended so he could keep his arm stretched out. ... Utilityman Joe Inglett, who spent the entire season at Triple-A Buffalo, was claimed on waivers by Toronto. He was designated for assignment on Sept. 6 when OF David Dellucci was activated from the DL. ... The Indians are 15-3 when 2B Asdrubal Cabrera hits second. ... Since being recalled from Buffalo on Sept. 1, LHP Cliff Lee has made two relief appearances, allowing three runs and six hits in two innings. ... Indians starting pitchers lead the majors with 928 innings.


LOS ANGELES: Manager Mike Scioscia wouldn't commit to whether RHP Bartolo Colon would be able to make his second consecutive start since coming off the 15-day DL. Colon started on Friday, taking the loss against the Chicago White Sox in his first start since coming off the disabled list on Sept. 9. He threw 99 pitches over 4 2-3 innings, allowing five runs and eight hits. ``There's obviously some stiffness you're going to have to work through,'' Scioscia said. ``Well make a decision on the rotation in the next day or two.'' ... Vladimir Guerrero was still not able to play right field because of a sore right triceps. The All-Star has been limited to a DH role since his return to the lineup on Sept. 11 after missing four games. Chone Figgins made his fourth consecutive start in right field on Saturday night in place of Guerrero. ... Gary Matthews Jr. was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game after spraining his right ankle in Baltimore.

CHICAGO: After losing nine straight decisions as a starter, Jose Contreras is 3-0 in his last four starts. ``This is a guy we're going to count on,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``If he keeps throwing the ball the way we know he can throw the ball and sets himself mentally more than physically, we'll be fine with him.'' ... Jim Thome is hoping to become the third player to reach 500 homers this season. According to the Society For American Baseball Research, there have only been three other seasons in the last 40 years in which two batters have joined the 500 club: Mickey Mantle and Eddie Mathews (1967), Harmon Killebrew and Frank Robinson (1971) and Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro (2003).


DETROIT: Manager Jim Leyland lauded the work of closer Todd Jones over the past two seasons. He called the signing of Jones ``one of the best signings of the last two years'' in all of baseball. Jones entered the night needing two saves to reach 300 for his career. Leyland said that was a great achievement, but also said he didn't think the save rule, which gives a pitcher a save if he enters the final inning with a three run lead or fewer and preserves the win, was a good rule. Leyland said he thinks the three-run threshold is too high. ``You shouldn't get a save if you come in with a three-run lead,'' Leyland said. ``I just don't think it's a good rule.'' ... Leyland was also asked if Marcus Thames could be an every day outfielder. ``I like him a lot,'' Leyland said. ``I do not think he's an everyday outfielder. I think he's a nice platoon player and part-time DH.''

MINNESOTA: Manager Ron Gardenhire said RHP Carlos Silva felt good after testing his groin on Saturday and the team will make a decision on Sunday about whether Silva will make his next scheduled start on Tuesday. The Twins are considering pushing the start back to next weekend. ``We have to be careful with this,'' Gardenhire said. ``It doesn't make any sense to put him back out there and have him hurt it again.'' ... Gardenhire said he'd like 3B Brian Buscher to go to Instructional League and get some infield work in before playing winter ball. ... LF Jason Kubel on hitting second: ``I like it. It gives me a chance to see some pitches I don't see when I'm hitting lower in the order.''


PHILADELPHIA:
LHP Cole Hamels threw a bullpen session and manager Charlie Manuel said he will start during the team's upcoming three-game series at St. Louis. Hamels has been out with a strained elbow. ... SS Jimmy Rollins' two-run triple gave him a career-high 84 RBIs. His previous best was 83 last year. ... OF Aaron Rowand tied his career high with his 24th homer. He also hit 24 with Chicago in 2004.

NEW YORK: The Mets activated backup C Ramon Castro (lower back arthritis) from the DL. They also recalled RHPs Joe Smith and Brian Lawrence, INF Anderson Hernandez and OF David Newhan from Triple-A New Orleans. ... LF Moises Alou's 19-game hitting streak is the second-longest of his career. He had a 23-game streak with Houston in 2001. ... Closer Billy Wagner was unavailable Saturday. ``He said he needed a day,'' manager Willie Randolph said. ... SS Jose Reyes extended his errorless streak to a career-best 43 games.


CHICAGO: Manager Lou Piniella wasn't ready to write off the Cardinals after a 3-2 victory in the first game of a day-night doubleheader that knocked St. Louis seven games back. ``I never discount, first of all, a Tony La Russa team and a world championship team,'' Piniella said. ``You don't do that. Our job was to come in here and win some games and hopefully build some distance and so far, we've been able to do that.'' ... LHP Ted Lilly is 2-0 with a 3.20 ERA in three September starts. He threw 107 pitches in six innings on Saturday, working on three days' rest, but will get six days of rest before his next outing as Piniella lines up his rotation for the end of the year. ... Kerry Wood won his first game since May 29, 2006. He has a 4.86 ERA in 15 relief appearances totaling 16 2-3 innings since being activated on Aug. 5. ... Alfonso Soriano's two-run eighth-inning in Game 1 gave him his first two RBIs of the season against the Cardinals. He was batting .250 (9-for-36) against St. Louis.

ST. LOUIS: Braden Looper has allowed four or fewer hits in six of his last seven starts, going 4-1 in that stretch. Looper has no explanation for his major league-leading 1.69 day-game ERA other than that he's an early riser with two young children. He's 5-9 with a 6.05 ERA in 17 night starts. ``I don't know what causes it, because believe me, if I knew, I would make those adjustments at night,'' Looper said. ``I think it's just one of those fluke things this year.'' ... Catcher Yadier Molina was in the lineup for both games of the doubleheader, with backup Gary Bennett hindered by a sore back. ... Alfonso Soriano is batting .367 (11-for-30) against Ryan Franklin with four homers and nine RBIs, including his go-ahead two-run homer in the eighth. Franklin got Soriano on a groundout to start the eighth on Friday but on Saturday he said he hung a slider. ``I made a mistake and that's pretty much it,'' Franklin said.


ARIZONA:
After losing the first two games of a three-game series at Los Angeles, OF Eric Byrnes called Sunday's finale ``as close to a must-win game as we've had all year.'' He also said the Dodgers weren't the only team the NL West-leading Diamondbacks had to be concerned about. ``The Padres are right behind us, then the Dodgers and the Rockies,'' Byrnes said. ``These guys aren't going to give it to us, and we'd better not expect that because it's just not going to happen.'' ... Even with their two straight losses to the Dodgers, the Diamondbacks have an NL-best 36-23 record since the All-Star break. ... Edgar Gonzalez will face Los Angeles' Esteban Loaiza on Sunday, which is Mexican Independence Day. Coincidentally, they are two of the 13 pitchers from Mexico currently playing in the majors. ... The Diamondbacks are hitting .248 as a team - last in the NL.

LOS ANGELES: 1B James Loney drove in a run in the first inning Saturday, giving him 14 RBIs in his last nine games. ... RHP Jonathan Broxton appeared in his 77th game, tying him for sixth place with Charlie Hough (1976), Jeff Shaw (2001) and Eric Gagne (2002 and 2003) on the Dodgers' single-season list. Broxton is second in the majors in that department behind Washington's Jon Rauch. ... The Dodgers have a 9-5 record against the Diamondbacks this season. After Sunday's game, the teams finish their season series with three games in Arizona starting Friday. ... Lowe, who grew up in Dearborn, Mich., wore a Michigan jersey and baseball hat after Saturday's game in honor of the Wolverines, who beat Notre Dame 38-0 after being upset by Appalachian State and Oregon in their first two games of the season. ... Juan Pierre has 58 stolen bases this year - the most by a Dodger since Davey Lopes stole 63 in 1976.


CINCINNATI: When 2B Brandon Phillips hits his next homer, he'll become the third member of the Reds to hit 30 homers this season, joining OFs Adam Dunn and Ken Griffey Jr. It'll be the first time since 1970 the Reds had three players hit at least 30 homers in a season. ... Since manager Ken Mackanin replaced Jerry Narron, the Reds have trimmed nine games off their deficit in the NL Central, going from 17 games out to eight entering Saturday.

MILWAUKEE: A win Saturday would give the Brewers 75, matching their win total in 2006. ... Manager Ned Yost has adjusted the team's rotation for its next series at Houston. After RHP Yovani Gallardo pitches the opener, RHP Ben Sheets will pitch the second game, switching with RHP Dave Bush, who'll start the series finale. ... Milwaukee has hit 206 homers this season, 10 off the franchise high of 216 hit in 1982, which was the last time the Brewers made the playoffs.


SAN FRANCISCO: OF Barry Bonds was not in the starting lineup Friday, but is scheduled to play Saturday. Manager Bruce Bochy wanted to use Thursday's travel day and Friday's game to give Bonds a two-day break, but wouldn't commit to any kind of schedule for the remainder of the Giants' six-game road swing. ``If he feels good, he's going to be out there,'' Bochy said. ... RHP Tim Lincecum, who was scheduled to start Saturday night, will have his turn skipped as a precaution, but not because of any health issue. LHP Jonathan Sanchez will be recalled from Triple-A Fresno to make the start. Sanchez is 1-2 with a 5.30 ERA in 29 games with San Francisco this year. Bochy said Lincecum would take LHP Noah Lowry's Tuesday start. ... While Sanchez and OF Nate Schierholtz are expected to join the Giants tomorrow from Fresno when rosters expand, Bochy said any other callups will be delayed until midweek, when minor league seasons end. Bochy said he envisioned summoning five or six players from the minors.

WASHINGTON:
Manager Manny Acta called a closed-door meeting Friday for his slumping Nationals. His message: No mental vacations allowed. ``It's just about staying focused,'' Acta said. ``And making sure that not everything that we've put into the season for 6 1/2 months goes down the drain in the last month of the season. This game is just like life - 'What have you done for me lately?' If we start slacking off now, I'm not going to remember whatever they did in May in the seventh inning with two out like it's a baseball movie. I'm just going to remember my freshest memory.'' ... The Nationals began the day 18 games under .500, matching their season worst. They opened a homestand against the San Francisco Giants after losing the final six games of the nine-game road trip. ``We're all professional in here,'' first baseman Robert Fick said. ``And he wasn't really talking to the older guys, he was talking to the younger guys. The older guys in here will make sure the younger guys show up to play every day until the last day of the season. It was pretty simple. 'Do your job.' He doesn't yell.''


PITTSBURGH: Xaver Nady was in the starting lineup Saturday for the first time since being hit in the head by a pitch Sept. 3 in St. Louis. Manager Jim Tracy said Nady could have started Friday, but Tracy decided it wouldn't be good for him to return against Roy Oswalt, whom Nady was 0-for-17 against in his career. But Tracy doesn't feel Nady will have any problems returning. ``I think he's fine,'' Tracy said. ``Him seeing the ball for the first time against a left-hander (Wandy Rodriguez) was discussed. But I think he'll be all right.'' Tracy also started Steve Pearce at first base in place of regular Adam LaRoche, who has started 135 games at first. ``I wanted to give Adam a little bit of chance to catch his breath,'' Tracy said. ``And I wanted to allow Pearce to accumulate some major league at_bats.''

HOUSTON: The Astros held a 15-minute team meeting three hours before game time and manager Cecil Cooper said he just wanted to keep the team focused and playing hard. He also wanted them to know they must continue to show up on time. He was asked if punctuality has been a problem. ``No, I just wanted to get it before it gets to be a problem,'' Cooper said. ``We're in the last two weeks. Last place, things are not going well, people tend to sometimes drag around a little bit. I just wanted them to know that, 'Hey, I'm watching, people are watching, keep up tempo.''' ... Rookie CF Josh Anderson made his first start Friday night and went 2-for-5, including his first major league hit. He was back in the lineup Saturday. ``We have to find out about these young players and what better time than now,'' Cooper said. ``We've just got to keep playing them and let him get comfortable. This is a tough place to play center field.''

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FLORIDA: RHP Kevin Gregg is the fourth different Marlins closer to record at least 30 saves in the last four years. The previous three were Joe Borowski, Todd Jones and Armando Benitez. ``And he wasn't our closer coming out of spring training,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``We tried (Jorge) Julio and Henry Owens and they didn't work out.'' ... RHP Marcos Carvajal, who was claimed off waivers Wednesday, threw a bullpen session. ``He looked OK,'' Gonzalez said. ``We'll use him when the situation dictates we use him.'' ... Gonzalez hasn't made a decision on who will start Tuesday in Atlanta. ``I need to give it more time,'' he said.

COLORADO: 2B Kaz Matsui took ground balls Saturday, but manager Clint Hurdle isn't sure when he'll be ready. Matsui has been hampered by a right hamstring strain. ``He seems to be making steps forward,'' Hurdle said. ... Hurdle is still hoping to get OF Willy Taveras back before the end of the season. Taveras is out with a strained right quadriceps. ``We're heading in the right direction,'' Hurdle said. ``We're just running out of time.'' ... Hurdle thinks 1B Todd Helton is having a Gold Glove season. Helton, who's won the award three times, has two errors this season. ``I think he's been exceptional this year in the dirt, picking throws,'' Hurdle said. ``He very well could represent the NL with a gold glove and I don't think anyone would blink an eye.''

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Baseball Today - September 16
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD Monday, Sept. 16

New York Yankees at Boston Red Sox (8:05 p.m. EDT). Roger Clemens returns to the rotation and faces Curt Schilling and the Red Sox.

STARS Saturday

-Ty Wigginton, Astros, homered twice to help Houston rally from five runs down to beat Pittsburgh 9-7.

-Dan Johnson, Athletics, hit a pair of solo homers to help Oakland defeat Texas 7-3.

-Miguel Cabrera, Marlins, hit the first grand slam of his career and drove in a season-high five runs and Florida routed Colorado 10-2.

-Fausto Carmona, Indians, pitched three-hit ball over eight innings, retiring his final 16 batters to propel Cleveland over Kansas City 6-0.

-Scott Kazmir, Devil Rays, allowed one unearned run on three hits and struck out 11 to lead Tampa Bay past struggling Seattle 6-2.

LUCKY SEVEN

Frank Thomas hit his 509th career home run, one of a club-record seven consecutive hits to begin the game, and Toronto beat Baltimore 8-3 on Saturday. The seven hits to begin the game broke the Blue Jays' previous mark of five, set May 8, 1987, at Texas. The major league record for consecutive hits to begin a game is eight.

COMEBACK KIDS

Carlos Beltran misplayed Jimmy Rollins' line drive into a two-run triple and Philadelphia rallied to beat New York 5-3 Saturday for their seventh straight victory over the Mets. The Phillies, who pulled to within 4 1/2 games of the NL East-leading Mets, lead the majors with 45 come-from-behind wins.

PRINCE IS KING

Prince Fielder hit his NL-leading 46th homer, setting a Brewers franchise record, and Milwaukee beat Cincinnati 5-3 on Saturday. Fielder's solo homer in the third inning surpassed the previous team home-run mark he shared with Gorman Thomas (1979) and Richie Sexson (2001, 2003). He is batting .422 with seven homers and 12 RBIs in September.

GOOD COMPANY

Miguel Cabrera drove in five runs to bring his season total to 104 and help Florida rout Colorado 10-2 on Saturday. He joins Alex Rodriguez and Vladimir Guerrero as the only players to reach the 100-RBI plateau in each of the last four seasons. Cabrera currently has a 10-game hitting streak and the Marlins matched a season-high with their fourth straight win.

SHORT OUTING

Horacio Ramirez lasted four batters, throwing just 20 pitches, in matching the second-shortest start in Mariners' history, and Scott Kazmir pitched Tampa Bay over Seattle 6-2 on Saturday. Frank MacCormick had the shortest outing in Mariners' history, lasting just three batters on May 5, 1977, Seattle's inaugural season. John Montague also faced just four batters on June 30, 1979.

STREAKING SWISHER

Nick Swisher homered for the third straight game to power Oakland past Texas 7-3 on Saturday. Swisher has scored at least one run in 10 straight games, and he has six home runs and eight RBIs vs. Texas this year.

SNAPPED

After losing 3-2 in the opener, St. Louis rallied past the Chicago Cubs 4-3 in the second game of a day-night doubleheader to end a nine-game losing streak. The Cardinals lost nine in a row for the first time since a 10-game skid in 1980.

SPEAKING

''We're playing against a tough team, and I think they'll say the same thing. That's why our games usually last between 12 and 13 hours a day.'' - Boston ace Josh Beckett, on the Red Sox beating the Yankees 10-1 on Saturday to move to 5 1/2 games ahead in the AL East. Beckett pitched three-hit ball over seven innings to become the first 19-game winner in the majors.

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