MLB News and Notes September 18

MLB News and Notes September 18

Notes from Monday's games
September 17, 2007

DETROIT: The Tigers entered the AL Central showdown 4 1/2 games back of the Indians. ``It's pretty simple right now,'' manager Jim Leyland said. ``Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland and New York have played better than we have. We need to get ahead of one of them, or two of them.'' ... 1B Sean Casey, just 3-for-21 in his career against Cleveland RHP Paul Byrd, wasn't in the starting lineup for Monday's series opener. Carlos Guillen moved from shortstop to first and Ramon Santiago started at shortstop. ... The Tigers were coming off a three-game sweep in Minnesota, which even surprised Leyland. ``Nobody in the American League thought we would go into the Metrodome and win all three games, including me,'' he said. ... LF Timo Perez is batting .467 (28-for-60) with seven doubles, two triples and nine RBIs in 18 games since being called up from Triple-A Toledo. ``He's a veteran guy who knows how to play,'' Leyland said. ... By recording his 300th save on Sunday, RHP Todd Jones is tied for 20th on the career list with Bruce Sutter. Jones became the 21st pitcher in major league history to reach 300 saves.

CLEVELAND: LHP Jeremy Sowers' disappointing season with the Indians will come down to one start, and it could be an important one. Sowers, sent back to Triple-A Buffalo in June after going 1-6 with a 6.93 ERA in 12 starts for Cleveland, was recalled from Double-A Akron on Monday. His next - and perhaps final - start of 2007 will be in one game of the Sept. 26 doubleheader at Seattle. If the Indians haven't wrapped up a playoff spot by then, Sowers' outing could be an important one. ``If this team isn't in the postseason by then, then it's a way for me to help them get there,'' said Sowers, who went 7-4 in 14 starts a year ago. ``That's what I've been told I'm going to do and I'm going to do it.'' Sowers didn't need long to come to terms with his demotion. He was struggling, and with Cliff Lee and Jake Westbrook coming off the DL, the left-hander accepted his fate and vowed to make changes. ``It was the right move,'' he said. ``I needed to start feeling like I did in the past, getting that confidence back.'' It returned slowly as Sowers started 0-4 with the Bisons before posting a 4-1 mark over his final nine starts. He credited his turnaround to a start last month against Syracuse, when everything: his command, fastball and confidence returned. ``I felt like I was myself again,'' he said. ... With Hall of Famer Bob Feller on hand to shovel the first ceremonial load of dirt, officials from Goodyear, Ariz., broke ground on the Indians' $75 million spring training ballpark and recreation center on Monday. The Indians will return to Arizona - they trained in Tucson from 1947 to 1992 - in 2009 after spending one more spring in Winter Haven, Fla.


BALTIMORE: All-Star 2B Brian Roberts was batting .167 since Aug. 23 before hitting a leadoff double in the first inning. ... OF Corey Patterson was headed back to Baltimore for an MRI exam on his sprained left ankle Tuesday. Patterson missed the previous 10 games. ... INF Scott Moore was not in the starting lineup. Orioles manager Dave Trembley said Moore rolled his ankle during Sunday's game in Toronto. ``I think he caught his spikes in a seam in the turf,'' Trembley said, adding that Moore told him he could play Monday if needed. ``I'm hoping he might be able to play the last day here.'' ... Trembley on slumping 1B Kevin Millar: ``I think what Kevin's got to do is be a little more patient.'' ... LHP Garrett Olson (strained forearm) threw in the outfield for the first time since getting hurt. ... Trembley said improving the bullpen will be an offseason priority.

NEW YORK: SS Derek Jeter singled in the first inning, tying Bernie Williams for fourth place on the club's career list with 2,336 hits. ... CF Melky Cabrera was rested. In a 1-for-27 skid, he was hitless in his past 14 at_bats. ``I think he's just a little scrambled eggs up here,'' manager Joe Torre said, pointing to his head. Johnny Damon started in center. ... Slumping LF Hideki Matsui was back in the lineup after getting a night off Sunday in Boston. Matsui hit a solo home run in the third, his first homer in 123 at_bats since Aug. 8 at Toronto off Roy Halladay. ... Jorge Posada was back behind the plate after serving as the DH on Sunday night. Posada was knocked over in a home plate collision with Eric Hinske on Saturday. ... Torre said RHP Roger Clemens felt fine after Sunday night's start and would probably pitch again this weekend against Toronto. ... After a 7-2 road trip that ended with Sunday night's victory in Boston, the Yankees were permitted to report to the ballpark an hour later than usual. They skipped batting practice on the field.


BOSTON: Manager Terry Francona said OF Manny Ramirez must prove he is mentally ready to play before returning from a strained left oblique muscle. ``He's got to know inside that he can play the game and not hurt himself,'' Francona said. Ramirez has not played since Aug. 28. ... INF Kevin Youkilis, who was hit by a pitch Saturday, was held out of the starting lineup Monday for the second straight game. Youkilis is performing mild exercises, Francona said, but his right wrist remains swollen. ... C Doug Mirabelli (strained left hamstring) was too sore to catch RHP and knuckleballer Tim Wakefield on Monday. ``He wants to play right now but I don't think he's ready,'' Francona said. Kevin Cash got the start behind the plate.

TORONTO: 3B Troy Glaus had surgery on his left foot in Los Angeles on Monday and is expected to be healthy in time for spring training, general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. ... 1B Lyle Overbay, who suffered a broken right pinkie when he was hit by a pitch in June, will have a procedure next week to remove four screws from his hand, ending his season. Matt Stairs has started at first base the past three games for the Blue Jays. ... LHP Scott Downs is expected to miss the three-game series against Boston because of a suspected case of gout in his right foot. ... LHP B.J. Ryan, who had elbow-ligament replacement surgery in April, resumed throwing three weeks ago, Ricciardi said. He joined the team Monday to throw in front of Toronto's training staff.


TEXAS: Vicente Padilla, who was ejected from Sunday's game in Oakland after hitting the second batter he faced, will start Wednesday in place of Kason Gabbard, who has been battling some forearm soreness. ``Rather than him keep pushing it we just decided to shut him down,'' manager Ron Washington said. ``It's nothing that is going to be following him into the spring.'' ... If Texas does not have to go deep in its bullpen against Minnesota, Luis Mendoza will start Friday. ``If we have to use him, we'll have to cross that bridge when we get to it,'' Washington said. ... RHP Kameron Loe, sidelined with right elbow inflammation, was expected to play catch Monday. If all goes well he would likely throw off a mound Tuesday. ... Guillermo Quiroz started behind the plate for the first time this year. He was called up from Triple-A Oklahoma on Sept. 3. Gerald Laird, who has started 108 games at catcher, missed his second straight game with a sore right knee. He is listed as day to day. ... 2B Ian Kinsler was not in Monday's starting lineup. Washington said Kinsler looked ``a little sluggish at the plate'' in Oakland. Kinsler is 1-for-17 in his past five games.

MINNESOTA: Manager Ron Gardenhire said Nick Punto has a head start at winning the second base position in 2008. Punto, who started the year as Minnesota's third baseman, entered Monday's game hitting .205, but has been solid defensively at third and second. Punto, who was 5-for-10 in the weekend series with Detroit, admits he has ``beat himself up a lot'' because of his offensive woes. ``It doesn't matter if I finish .210, .195, its a failure,'' he said. ``It's been a bad offensive season for me.'' ... With his team one loss or one New York win away from being eliminated from playoff contention, Gardenhire continues to lament his team's six straight home losses, including three over the weekend, to Detroit by a combined seven runs. ``We lost all six, when we could have won all six. That's the difference. We haven't come up with the plays this year,'' he said. ... Garrett Jones got his first start of the year in left field. ... Before Monday's game, Torii Hunter received the Bill Shea Distinguished Little League Graduate Award. The award is given to a former little leaguer in the major leagues who best exemplifies the spirit of Little League Baseball. Previous winners include George Brett and Robin Yount.


CHICAGO: 3B Joe Crede, who had back surgery on June 12, joined the team in the clubhouse Monday, driving over from Westphalia, Mo. ``I'm not 100 percent yet, but obviously I'm getting there,'' Crede said. ``I'm in the second phase of my rehab. I should be hitting at the end of October or early November.'' ... This season the White Sox have had LHP Mark Buehrle throw a no-hitter, RHP Bobby Jenks retire 41 straight batters - matching the longest streak in baseball history - and DH Jim Thome hit his 500th home run on Sunday. ``We've got more milestones than wins,'' White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen quipped. ... Alex Cintron made his 10th start at 3B. ... LHP Mike Myers has witnessed a 500th home run three times in his career: Alex Rodriguez and Thome this season and Eddie Murray on Sept. 6, 1996, at Baltimore while he was with Detroit.

KANSAS CITY: DH Mike Sweeney was out of the lineup for the third straight game with tightness in his right groin. Sweeney, who started his career as a catcher, has requested he catch an inning in the Royals' season finale on Sept. 30, which could be his final game with Kansas City. He is eligible for free agency after the season. ``We've got to get him to hit first,'' Royals manager Buddy Bell said. ... LF Emil Brown has 228 fewer at_bats than CF David DeJesus, 164 fewer than 3B Alex Gordon and 159 fewer than RF Mark Teahen, but went into Monday leading the team with 59 RBIs. DeJesus has 58 and Gordon and Teahen each have 57. ... The Royals are 24-24 in series finales after winning Sunday at Cleveland.


TAMPA BAY: LF Carl Crawford will not play in the three-game series against the Angels because of a groin strain and will be re-evaluated on Friday. Crawford, who leads the AL with 50 stolen bases, was injured trying to beat out an infield single in the ninth inning of Sunday's 9-2 win at Seattle. ``We've been playing at a high level the last two months, and he has been a big part of that success. But there's no sense in pushing him right now,'' manager Joe Maddon said. ``We're playing the Angels, Red Sox and Yankees - and we've talked about the integrity of the pennant races. So of course we want to win these games, and we still can. But it's not worth risking his health.'' ... LHP Scott Kazmir was named Monday by the AL as co-player of the week with Cleveland RHP Fausto Carmona. Kazmir pitched 13 scoreless innings in his two starts last week and had 21 strikeouts in road wins against Boston and Seattle. ``Kaz has gotten better as the year's progressed. His fastball against Seattle was the best I've seen him throw a fastball in two years,'' Maddon said.

LOS ANGELES: RHP Dustin Moseley, who gave up Jim Thome's 500th career home run in Sunday's loss at Cleveland, was bummed about losing on Thome's walkoff two-run shot. But some of the sting went away Monday at the start the season's final homestand when he was informed that his former pitching coach with the Angels - Bud Black - served up Reggie Jackson's 500th homer while pitching for Kansas City against the Halos. ``He never told me that,'' Moseley said with a grin. ``I've learned that things like that are going to happen. You don't want them to happen, but you go get prepared the next day and try to bounce back. I'm sure that's what Buddy Black would tell me. It's just a matter of getting over it. It just happened to be a memorable home run for him. Somebody was going to give it up.'' ... The Angels' rookie level team in the Pioneer League, the Orem Owlz, won their third league championship in four years under manager Tom Kotchman - whose son plays first base for the parent club.


FLORIDA: RHP Sergio Mitre may be done for the season. The Marlins will start Chris Seddon on Tuesday, and they're not sure if Mitre will be able to make another appearance. ``We've given him some time off,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ``The other day he had some pretty good innings, and then he just hit the wall a little bit.'' Mitre (5-8) has not undergone an MRI exam or X-rays. He may be suffering from a tired arm after working 149 innings. ``The velocity's OK, but the life on the ball, it's not the same,'' Gonzalez said. ``Why risk injury right now?''

ATLANTA: The Braves aren't likely to make the playoffs, but they have at least one player in the running for a championship. OF Brandon Jones, who was called up from Richmond over the weekend, will return to Triple-A for one night only: Tuesday's Bricktown Showdown between the champions of the International and Pacific Coast leagues. Richmond, which won the IL, will meet Pacific Coast champion Sacramento in a one-game playoff at Oklahoma City. ``It's the last game of the year,'' Jones said. ``I thought it would be a lot of fun, so I decided to go.'' He'll be back in Atlanta on Wednesday. ... LHP Jo-Jo Reyes will get another shot at his first major league win Tuesday. The Braves plan to start the rookie in place of Buddy Carlyle (8-6), who is bothered by a hyperextended right elbow. Reyes (0-2) has pitched in eight games for the Braves, including seven starts. He has an ERA of 7.75, giving up 41 hits and 23 walks in 33 2-3 innings.


NEW YORK: CF Carlos Beltran's two-run shot in the first inning Monday night was his 30th homer of 2007 and pushed his RBI total to 101. ... LF Moises Alou singled in the first inning Monday to extend his hitting streak to 21 games. ... RHP Pedro Martinez will stay on five days' rest during the regular season. ``I'm as tired as I would be if I was here all year. I'm probably as tired as the guys who've been here all season,'' he said. ``My rehab was double the work. My rehab was very long, very intense.'' ... 1B Carlos Delgado doesn't know when he'll return from the strained right hip flexor that has sidelined him since Sept. 4. ``I think swinging is going to be the biggest test,'' he said. ``You have to start somewhere.'' Manager Willie Randolph said Delgado might be able to play toward the end of the Mets' seven-game road trip that closes Sunday at Florida.

WASHINGTON: The Nationals claimed RHP Enrique Gonzalez off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The 25-year-old Gonzalez was 8-10 with a 5.14 ERA in 27 starts at Triple-A Tucson this season. He went 3-7 with a 5.82 ERA in 23 major league appearances, including 18 starts, over the past two seasons. The Nationals think he could be a starter or reliever. ``He's had success in both roles, even on the major league level. He's kind of a fourth or fifth starter or swingman. But he can do both,'' assistant GM Mike Rizzo said. ``He still has a really good arm.'' ... 1B Dmitri Young missed a second consecutive start Monday after getting hit in the neck by a hard one-hopper Saturday night. ``His neck is very sore and I don't think he's able to play yet,'' manager Manny Acta said.


CINCINNATI: 1B Scott Hatteberg was set to miss his 12th straight game because of a sore right oblique muscle. ... Marcus McBeth pitched a perfect inning both Saturday and Sunday against the Brewers. McBeth, called up from Triple-A Louisville on Sept. 1, hasn't allowed a run in five of six appearances this month. ``He's got a good slider and a very good changeup,'' interim manager Pete Mackanin said. ``The thing I like about him is his changeup. It's a nice-looking pitch and it could be effective, especially against lefties.'' McBeth is 2-2 with a 6.60 ERA in 18 games this season. ... INF Jeff Keppinger entered with a .341 average since the All-Star break (62-for-182) with four home runs and 26 RBI. His production hasn't gone unnoticed. ``He gives you good at_bats,'' Mackanin said.

CHICAGO: RHP Carlos Zambrano isn't worried about making his Tuesday start on three days' rest, something he's never done in his major league career, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Both Zambrano and Ted Lilly will faces the Reds on Tuesday and Wednesday on short rest, allowing the Cubs to get their rotation back in order with two off days ahead and giving them potentially advantageous matchups over the final nine games of the season. ``You get to September, and you cut back on their side stuff in between, and you go after it,'' general manager Jim Hendry said. ``You have to look at the whole package of 12 games, and give yourself the best chance to win.'' Rich Hill and Jason Marquis are expected to complete the four-man rotation during the final two weeks, with Steve Trachsel and Sean Marshall the dropped - although Trachsel could start a game against in Florida the final week. ... The Cubs entered with 24 homers in September. They had only 19 in August and just 13 in July.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 18

MILWAUKEE: Joe Dillon, recalled from the minors on July 31, started in left field and Corey Hart played center as manager Ned Yost tweaked his lineup trying to maximize its scoring potential. Dillon drove in a career-high four runs in Sunday's 5-2 win over Cincinnati, while regular left-fielder Geoff Jenkins is mired in a 2-for-21 stretch. Hart is hitting .419 over his last 23 games, while usual center fielder Bill Hall is hitting only .225 since coming off the disabled list on July 25. ``You play the hot hands,'' Yost said. ``I have a responsibility to field a team that's producing right now.'' ... The Brewers won't have to face Houston ace Roy Oswalt this week, but Yost dismissed the notion that his team is catching a break. After facing RHP Matt Albers on Monday night, Felipe Paulino and Juan Gutierrez, both recalled from the minors on Sept. 4, were the Astros' scheduled starters for the rest of the series. ``Every game is a huge game for us,'' Yost said. ``If I feel fortunate that we're not facing Oswalt, that takes away from what Gutierrez and Paulino can do against you. If you think, for one second, that you've got an advantage because those two guys are pitching over the other guys, you're going to get your butt whipped.''

HOUSTON: RHP Roy Oswalt was jittery before Monday's game, but he wasn't thinking about his next start. Oswalt was skipping his scheduled start on Tuesday to be with his wife, Nicole, who was due to give birth to their second child. ``It's still kind of hectic,'' Oswalt said. ``I'm always nervous. I've only been through it once. You never know what to expect until you get in there.'' Manager Cecil Cooper was still pondering when Oswalt would pitch again. His turn in the rotation would come up on Saturday in St. Louis. ``We're kind of letting him decide,'' Cooper said. ... Rookie Josh Anderson, recalled from the minors on Sept. 1, led off on Monday. He went 5-for-5 in Sunday's 15-3 win over Pittsburgh. ``He follows instructions and he's done OK,'' Cooper said. ... Cooper likes the poise he's seen from C J.R. Towles, recalled from the minors on Sept. 4. Towles started the last two games of the Pittsburgh series over the weekend. ``He's handled some veteran pitchers, he's not afraid to go out to the mound and talk to them in key situations,'' Cooper said. ``That's a rookie doing that, so that's pretty impressive.''


PHILADELPHIA: LHP Cole Hamels (elbow) was on track to come off the DL Tuesday and make his first start since Aug. 16. Manager Charlie Manuel said Hamels, 14-5 with 3.50 ERA, would have a 65-70 pitch limit depending on how well he felt. ... The Phillies entered with a four-game winning streak, while the Cardinals had lost 10 of 11. ``It means nothing,'' Manuel said. ``We have tremendous respect for them.'' ... The bullpen had an 0.93 ERA during the winning streak, allowing two earned runs in 19 1-3 innings and had the decision in the last five victories, with Geoff Geary going 2-0 and Brett Myers, Tom Gordon and Antonio Alfonseca getting a win. ... The Phillies began the night 76-58 since April 21, best in the NL.

ST. LOUIS: RF Rick Ankiel batted fifth for the first time. He had been in a 2-for-29 slump before getting two hits on Sunday. The slump coincided with a (New York) Daily News report that he had received human growth hormone with a prescription in 2004, before the substance was banned by baseball. ... The injury-riddled Cardinals fielded a lineup featuring only four players from the opening-day lineup. ... RHP Brad Thompson made his 15th start but first since Sept. 9, and manager Tony La Russa still had not revealed a starter for Tuesday, likely a bullpen-type game that could be started by RHP Todd Wellemeyer.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 18

Mariners activate right-hander Cha Seung Baek
September 17, 2007

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -The Mariners activated right-hander Cha Seung Baek from the 15-day disabled list Monday.

He had been on a rehab assignment in Arizona after an inflamed throwing shoulder had sidelined him since June 17. He was 3-3 with a 5.74 ERA in 11 starts for Seattle this year.

Manager John McLaren plans to use him in long relief or perhaps for a spot start.

``We got him healthy,'' McLaren said. ``We want to get him up and see what he's got.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 18

Baseball Today - September 18
ASSOCIATED PRESS

SCOREBOARD - Tuesday, Sept. 18

L.A. Dodgers at Colorado (8:35 p.m. EDT).

Brad Penny tries for win No. 17 in a matchup of NL wild-card contenders.

STARS

Monday

-Frank Thomas, Blue Jays, hit three home runs to lift Toronto over Boston 6-1.

-Ryan Howard and Aaron Rowand, Phillies, hit two homers apiece and Philadelphia held off St. Louis 13-11.

-Casey Blake, Indians, homered in the 11th inning to help Cleveland come from behind to beat Detroit 6-5.

-Mark DeRosa, Cubs, went 5-for-5 and hit a game-winning single to help Chicago rally past Cincinnati 7-6.

THREE FOR THOMAS

Frank Thomas hit three home runs to lift Toronto over Boston 6-1 on Monday, raising his total to 512 and tying Ernie Banks and Eddie Mathews for 18th on the career list. Thomas homered twice off knuckleballer Tim Wakefield, then hit his third against reliever Kyle Snyder. Thomas had three homers one other time - hitting all of them off Wakefield at Fenway Park on Sept. 15, 1996.

THE YANKS ARE COMING

Hideki Matsui homered to help the New York Yankees defeat Baltimore 8-5 on Monday and trim their deficit in the AL East to 3 1/2 games, their smallest deficit since before play on April 22. AL East-leading Boston lost to Toronto 6-1. The Yankees have won 10 of 12, improving to a season-best 22 games over .500. New York also increased its wild-card lead to 3 1/2 games over Detroit, which lost to Cleveland 6-5.

METS ERRORS

The New York Mets dropped their fourth consecutive game on Monday, making four more errors in a 12-4 loss to Washington. Add in their six miscues Sunday, and the Mets set a franchise record with 10 errors over two games. They never had more than eight errors over two games, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

PICKOFFS KING

Kenny Rogers picked Jason Michaels off first base in the sixth inning of Detroit's 6-5 loss to Cleveland on Monday, giving him 91 career pickoffs to tie Mark Langston for the most in the majors since the statistic started being kept in 1974.

BIG INNING

Jermaine Dye, Danny Richar and Josh Fields homered in an 11-run fifth inning and the Chicago White Sox defeated Kansas City 11-3 on Monday. Chicago, which sent 14 men to the plate, had its biggest inning since an 11-run third at St. Louis on June 20 last year. It was the most runs in an inning off Kansas City since an 11-run first at Cleveland on Aug. 13 last year.

IMPENETRABLE PADRES

Rookie Jack Cassel and three relievers combined on San Diego's 20th shutout on Monday - tops in the majors and a franchise record. Cassel, making his second career start and fourth appearance, allowed eight hits over six innings in the 3-0 win over Pittsburgh.

SPEAKING

''How about that? Maybe in Little League, but I've never seen a game end like that. That was pretty fun.'' - Minnesota's Torii Hunter, after the Twins beat Texas in the ninth inning on an Ian Kinsler error. Kinsler had a 50-game errorless streak heading into play on Monday.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 18

Tracy to undergo season-ending knee surgery
September 18, 2007

PHOENIX (AP) -Arizona third baseman Chad Tracy will undergo season-ending surgery on his right knee on Thursday.

The announcement came a week after All-Star second baseman Orlando Hudson underwent surgery on his thumb, ending his season.

Tracy had struggled with the injury for much of the season, going on the disabled list Aug. 15. He pinch hit on Sunday but couldn't do knee bends when he arrived at the ballpark the next day.

Manager Bob Melvin said an MRI exam on Monday revealed fragments in the knee. But Tracy said he wasn't sure what was wrong and that doctors might not know the extent of the damage until they operate.

``I could wake up with a short recovery or I could wake up with a long recovery,'' he said.

Tracy is hitting .264 with seven homers and 35 RBIs in 76 games. He's been replaced at third base by Mark Reynolds, promoted from Double-A Mobile in May.

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