MLB News and Notes September 21

MLB News and Notes September 21

Griffey to miss rest of '07 with groin strain
Associated Press

Ken Griffey Jr. will miss the rest of the season because of a strained groin, the latest in a string of injuries to Cincinnati's All-Star outfielder.

Griffey left Wednesday night's game at the Chicago Cubs in the eighth inning after injuring himself while fielding a ball in right field. As he started to make a throw, Griffey stopped in pain and had to underhand the ball back to the infield before falling to the ground.

The Reds originally announced the injury as a strained lower abdomen, and Griffey returned to Cincinnati be examined. On Thursday, the team said he was diagnosed with a high groin strain and will be examined again in four weeks.

Griffey hit .277 this year with 30 homers and 93 RBIs, playing 144 games - highest total since 2000. He was an All-Star for the first time since 2004 and the 13th time overall, and he moved up to sixth on the career home run list with 593.

Griffey has been on the disabled list eight times since 2000, missing nearly a month early in the 2006 season because of swelling behind his right knee and sitting out 22 of the last 24 games after dislocating a toe.

His playing time also has been cut by torn hamstrings, a torn knee tendon, a dislocated shoulder and a torn ankle tendon. He broke his left hand in an accident at home last December.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 21

Notes from Thursday's games
September 20, 2007

CHICAGO: RHP Jon Garland threw just 78 pitches while picking up a complete-game loss Thursday, 3-0 to Kansas City. When was the last time he had fewer than 80 pitches in a complete game? ``Maybe in Little League, not in the big leagues,'' Garland said. It was his first complete game of the season and seventh of his career. ... 3B Alex Cintron was a late scratch with a bruise between his left thumb and index finger. He was replaced by Andy Gonzalez. ... RHP Jose Contreras ranks second in the AL with 16 losses, but he has won his past four decisions and is 5-2 with a 3.11 ERA in his past nine outings. ``That's the Jose Contreras we know,'' manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``He's done it before. The last four, five outings he has gone out and just gotten better and better.'' ... 2B Danny Richar went 0-for-3, snapping his career-high eight-game hitting streak.

KANSAS CITY: RHP Zack Greinke became just the fourth Royals pitcher to strike out 10 or more in a game since the start of the 1998 season. The others were RHP Blake Stein, June 17, 2001, at Milwaukee, RHP Luke Hudson, Sept. 4, 2006, vs. the Yankees, and LHP Odalis Perez, Sept. 8, 2006, at Boston. ... C John Buck snapped an 0-for-12 skid with two hits. ... Greinke and RHP Joakim Soria combined for the team's second two-hitter of the season. The first was June 1 at Tampa Bay.


BALTIMORE: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (strained left oblique) is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Saturday. He has not been on the mound since leaving his start Sept. 9 after pitching five innings against Boston. ... After being swept by the New York Yankees, the Orioles dropped to 32-34 against AL East teams. They have not had a winning record against division foes since 1997. Baltimore plays its final six games against AL East rivals Toronto and New York.

TEXAS: 3B Hank Blalock threw again Thursday, but it's unlikely that he'll play in the field again this season. Blalock is still recovering from surgery in May to remove a rib that was affecting nerves in his arm and is now experiencing some elbow soreness. Blalock said he doesn't want to have a sore arm going into the offseason, when he plans an aggressive rehabilitation. Blalock was in the lineup as the designated hitter Thursday. ... C Gerald Laird was back in the starting lineup Thursday after missing five straight games with a sore knee.


SEATTLE: Manager John McLaren said he'd read speculation that Cardinals manager Tony La Russa might be headed for the Mariners next season, and his reaction was essentially the same as La Russa's. ``It's just that time of year,'' said McLaren, who took over for Mike Hargrove on July 2. ``It doesn't have any effect on me.'' La Russa said earlier in the week he had no reaction to the speculation and didn't think there was anything to it. ... McLaren obviously wished the Mariners were closer to the AL West lead as they began a four-game series in Anaheim, with the Angels 8 1/2 games ahead of second-place Seattle. ``We still come in here with the same approach. We want to show people we belong on the same field,'' McLaren said. ``They've kind of owned us this year, and we want to change that.''

LOS ANGELES:
CF Gary Matthews Jr. was expected to miss his ninth straight game because of a sprained right ankle. He ran in the outfield, did cuts and pivots and took early batting practice, and manager Mike Scioscia said there was a possibility that he could be in the lineup sometime during the weekend. Having a sizable lead over second-place Seattle has made it that much easier for the Halos to take a conservative attitude regarding Matthews' injury. ``I don't know if we'd approach it any different because I'm trying to be healthy for the long haul,'' Matthews said. ``If I did anything to irritate it - or God forbid blow it out, then I'm out for good. If this were the World Series, I'd probably be playing right now.'' ... Switch-hitting 3B Chone Figgins, who has made several starts in RF lately because of Vladimir Guerrero's sore right triceps, wasn't in the starting lineup against LHP Ryan Feierabend because of Figgins' troublesome left wrist. But he took batting practice right-handed, and might start Saturday against LHP Jarrod Washburn. ... Guerrero is doing internal strength exercises for his shoulder, but throwing drills will be pushed back a few days.


PITTSBURGH: CF Nyjer Morgan tripled leading off both Wednesday night and Thursday. The last player to lead off consecutive games with triples was Elijah Dukes of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on May 20-22. ... Julie Wilson, wife of SS Jack Wilson, gave birth to a girl, Jersi, on Thursday morning. She is the couple's third child. Jack Wilson hasn't played since hurting his right hamstring on Tuesday night.

SAN DIEGO: The Padres won their 47th home game, their most in a season since Petco Park opened in 2004. ... The crowd of 27,020 gave San Diego a season total of 2,685,757, eclipsing last year's total of 2,659,757 with three games left. ... Kevin Kouzmanoff has reached base safely in each of his last 14 games, collecting a hit in 11 of those games. During his last 27 games, he's raised his average from .233 to .270.


LOS ANGELES: Soreness in his lower back kept SS Rafael Furcal out of the starting lineup for a third straight game. ``I couldn't go again,'' Furcal said. ``I couldn't help the team in the condition I'm in.'' ... RHP Derek Lowe's ERA rose 22 points to 3.93 after giving up six runs in three innings. ``I wasn't very good,'' Lowe said. ``I was trying to bounce the ball into Matt Holliday and the ball stayed up in the zone and he crushed it.'' ... 3B Andy LaRoche hit his first major league home run.

COLORADO: SS Troy Tulowitzki's homer gave him 22 and tied him for second place all-time for home runs by a rookie shortstop with Oakland's Bobby Crosby (2004) and Ron Hansen of Baltimore (1960). Current Dodger Nomar Garciaparra (1997) hit 30 as a rookie for Boston. ``Troy is something special,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. ``He brings enthusiasm to the ballpark every day.'' ... 2B Kaz Matsui was back in the lineup after a sore right hamstring had sidelined him since Sept. 8. ``He past the test last night when he pinch-ran and ran the bases hard,'' Hurdle said. ... LHP Mark Redman will start Saturday for Colorado in San Diego.


METS: RF Shawn Green planned to sit out Friday night's game in observance of Yom Kippur. ... LHP Tom Glavine moved ahead of Walter Johnson into 12th place on the all-time list with his 667th career start Thursday at Florida. ... Since joining the Mets, RHP Pedro Martinez is 2-3 with a 2.20 ERA and 54 strikeouts in 45 innings in seven starts against the Marlins. He is scheduled to pitch against them Friday.

MARLINS: LHP Scott Olsen takes a career-high five-game losing streak into Friday night's game against the Mets. ... Manager Fredi Gonzalez said RHP Sergio Mitre or LHP Chris Seddon would likely start the final game of the series Sunday.


HOUSTON: 2B Craig Biggio, making his final trip to St. Louis, was in the lineup Thursday and was also set to start on Sunday in the finale, with Chris Burke scheduled to start Friday and Saturday. ``He wanted to play a couple of games here,'' Cooper said. ``This is one of his favorite cities.'' ... Interim manager Cecil Cooper said RHP Juan Gutierrez, who worked six strong innings Thursday night, could get two more starts.

ST. LOUIS: Albert Pujols missed his second straight start with a strained left calf muscle, and manager Tony La Russa called him ``doubtful'' for the weekend. But La Russa said a report that the Cardinals' star might miss the rest of the year was ``premature.'' Pujols was to get a painkilling injection for the injury and trainer Barry Weinberg said he could perhaps play on Monday. ... OF Chris Duncan underwent surgery for a sports hernia that will sideline him the rest of the year. ... Broadcaster Mike Shannon will be honored for 50 years with the team on Sunday, in a pregame ceremony prior to the home finale. Shannon was part of World Series teams in 1964, '67 and '68, and later moved into the broadcast booth after illness cut short his playing career.


PHILADELPHIA: RF Shane Victorino was back in the lineup Thursday night, his first start since Sept. 10 and only his fifth since injuring his right calf July 30. ``He says he's well, and so does our trainer,'' Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. ``I'm looking for him to get on base some, and he'll bring energy to our team.'' Victorino doubled in his second at-bat. ... The Phillies began the day 2 1/2 games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets. ``We're still looking at the division. Things can happen. We could win three in a row, they could lose three in a row,'' Manuel said. ``We're still in it, and we've still got a chance.'' ... Philadelphia entered Thursday leading the majors with 46 come-from-behind victories.

WASHINGTON: RHP Shawn Hill will have surgery on his left shoulder Oct. 4, and he expects to be able to follow his regular winter preparation for next season. Hill (4-4, 3.01 ERA) has two starts left this season, including Friday against Philadelphia. ... RHP Jason Simontacchi had a small bone spur removed from his pitching elbow; he's expected to need three to four months to recover. ... SS Cristian Guzman, on the disabled list since June with a sprained ligament in his left thumb, took swings Thursday in a simulated game situation, facing Washington's No. 1 pick in this year's amateur draft, Ross Detwiler. ``He swung the bat OK for a guy that hasn't seen a live pitcher in so long. It still is not a game-type of situation, but he hung in there,'' manager Manny Acta said. ``We're going to see how he feels tomorrow, and if he feels good, probably set up another simulated game and then we'll make a decision'' on whether Guzman can play in a game before the season ends.


CINCINNATI: OF Ken Griffey Jr. will miss the rest of the season because of a strained groin, the latest in a string of injuries to the All-Star. Griffey left Wednesday night's game against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in the eighth inning after injuring himself while fielding a ball in right field. ``He's done,'' manager Pete Mackanin said Thursday. ``It's a season-ending injury, but it could have been worse. It's not the worst-case scenario, so we're happy about that.'' ... Buck Coats earned the start in RF in place of Griffey on Thursday night, while Mackanin also planned to use utilityman Jeff Keppinger in the outfield along with little-used Jason Ellison.

SAN FRANCISCO: Slugger Barry Bonds, nursing a sprained big toe on his right foot, could play two of the four games against the Reds and also in two of the final three games at home this season next week against San Diego. ``It would be good for the fans,'' manager Bruce Bochy said. ``I know Barry would love to get out there for his fans.'' ... The Giants are shutting down hard-throwing rookie RHP Tim Lincecum as a precaution. The team's top draft pick from 2006, 10th overall out of Washington, was scheduled to start Friday but will be replaced by LHP Pat Misch. Lincecum went 7-5 with a 4.00 ERA in 24 starts and 146 1-3 innings this season. ``We just feel at this point with his workload this year and last year it's best to shut him down,'' Bochy said. ``We just feel it's the best thing. He's fine (with the decision). It's the best thing to do. He did have a little fatigue a couple weeks ago.'' ... LHP Noah Lowry also definitely won't pitch again in 2007, as the Giants had said would likely be the case. The 14-game winner this year is nursing a mild strain in his elbow but threw Thursday. ``He feels fine but we're not going to pitch him,'' Bochy said.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 21

Baseball today - Friday, September 21
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Friday, Sept. 21

Oakland at Cleveland (7:05 p.m. EDT)

The Indians are scheduled to send Paul Byrd to the mound as they chase the AL's best record.

STARS Thursday

-Justin Towles, Astros, went 4-for-4 with a franchise-record eight RBIs in an 18-1 win over the Cardinals.

-Dan Uggla, Marlins, hit an RBI double in the 10th that lifted the last-place Marlins over the New York Mets 8-7.

-Zack Greinke, Royals, struck out a career-high 10 and Kansas City blanked Chicago 3-0.

SLIP, SLIDIN' AWAY

The New York Mets twice blew a three-run lead, raising speculation they might be about to blow the NL East. Florida rallied in the ninth inning when the Mets did not use closer Billy Wagner, then Dan Uggla hit an RBI double in the 10th that lifted the last-place Marlins over New York 8-7 Thursday night. New York's lead was reduced to 1 1/2 games over the second-place Philadelphia Phillies, who rallied past Washington 7-6. The Mets led by seven games on Sept. 12, but they've lost six of their past seven.

GAINING GROUND

Jimmy Rollins hit a go-ahead RBI double in the eighth inning after Jayson Werth's pinch-hit homer helped erase a four-run hole, and the Phillies rallied to beat the Washington Nationals 7-6 on Thursday night, keeping the heat on the New York Mets in the NL East. It was the Phillies' seventh victory in eight games, a streak that pushed them within 2 1/2 games of the division-leading Mets entering the day. ... Brett Tomko pitched six solid innings, rookie Kevin Kouzmanoff delivered two more hits and the Padres won their season-high seventh in a row, 6-3 over the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Padres pulled within a half-game of first-place Arizona, which was idle.

EIGHT IS ENOUGH

Rookie Justin Towles went 4-for-4 with a franchise-record eight RBIs and the Houston Astros reached season highs in runs and hits in an 18-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday night. Towles hit a two-run double off Braden Looper (12-11) in the second to open the scoring. He added a two-run single in the fourth, an RBI double in the sixth and a bases-loaded walk in the eighth before hitting his first career homer in the ninth off Aaron Miles.

ON THE BRINK

The Los Angeles Angels moved to the brink of their third AL West title in four years. Vladimir Guerrero hit a two-run homer, Garret Anderson had two hits and three RBIs and Los Angeles beat the Seattle Mariners 9-5 Thursday night to clinch at least a tie for the division crown.

STAYING AFLOAT

Matt Holliday homered again and Troy Tulowitzki also connected as the Colorado Rockies completed a four-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers with a 9-4 victory Thursday. The Rockies won their fifth in a row and remained 4 1/2 games behind San Diego in the NL wild-card race.

NO SUPPORT

Jon Garland has a 1.80 ERA in his past four starts but is 1-3, with the White Sox totaling three runs in the three losses, after a 3-0 defeat to Kansas City on Thursday.

SPEAKING

''We're in a rut right now. There are a lot of crazy things happening. We seemed to have a little bit of everything go wrong.'' - Tom Glavine, after the Florida Marlins took advantage to rally in the ninth inning, then scored in the 10th on Dan Uggla's RBI double to beat New York 8-7 Thursday night. The Mets' lead in the NL East was cut to 1 1/2 games by second-place Philadelphia, which rallied past Washington 7-6. New York led by seven games on Sept. 12, but has lost six of their past seven.

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