MLB News and Notes September 22

MLB News and Notes September 22

Nationals activate SS Guzman from 15-day DL
September 21, 2007

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Washington Nationals reinstated shortstop Cristian Guzman from the 15-day disabled list before Friday night's game against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Guzman was thought to be done for the season when he sprained his left thumb tagging out Cleveland's Josh Barfield on a steal attempt on June 24. Guzman had surgery the next day.

But Guzman has been taking fielding practice recently, and on Thursday he took swings in a simulated game.

Manager Manny Acta said Guzman is scheduled for another simulated game but that the team decided to activate him "just to have an extra body on the bench."

Guzman, who signed a four-year, $16.8 million contract with the Nationals in 2005, was batting .329 with 31 runs in 43 games when he was hurt.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 22

Notes from Friday's games
September 21, 2007

OAKLAND: OF Nick Swisher will return from his three-game suspension Saturday. He was suspended for charging the mound after being hit by Texas RHP Vincente Padilla last Sunday. ``I need to have something to do,'' Swisher said. ``I haven't been doing anything.'' ... RHP Rich Harden has been limited to seven appearances this season because of a sore shoulder, but is scheduled to start Sunday. ... Oakland's starters are 4-12 with a 6.62 ERA over the last 25 games. ... The A's have used the disabled list 22 times, which ties the club record set in 1992. The 22 players on the DL have combined to miss a team-record 1,186 games.
   
CLEVELAND: The Indians entered Friday night's game against Oakland with their magic number at three and the chance this weekend to clinch their first division title in six years. ``Whenever you're in a position to have an opportunity like that, you would love to do it at home,'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said. The Indians clinched their last division title on Sept. 30, 2001, at Jacobs Field. ... The Indians are 46-23 against the AL Central with three games left against Kansas City - the best record of any team against its division. ... LHP Jeremy Sowers pitched a simulated game Friday and will start a game in the Indians' doubleheader Wednesday against Seattle. ... RHP Fausto Carmona entered his start Friday night leading the AL with a 3.07 ERA, just ahead of Oakland's Dan Haren, who was scheduled to pitch Saturday night against Cleveland.


TORONTO:
Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said backup C Sal Fasano left the team to be with his wife, who is expecting a baby. ... Toronto recalled INF Joe Inglett from Triple-A Syracuse. Inglett was claimed off waivers from Cleveland last Friday. ... SS John McDonald was held out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game because of a sore groin, the result of a hip flexor injury. Ray Olmedo started at shortstop again. McDonald was to be examined by a doctor on Friday afternoon, Gibbons said.

NEW YORK: SS Derek Jeter doubled in the first inning, tying manager Joe Torre for 118th place on the career hits list with 2,342. ... The Yankees will honor Hall of Fame SS Phil Rizzuto in a pregame ceremony Sunday.


KANSAS CITY: RHP Brian Bannister is scheduled to start Tuesday, and the Royals plan to shut him down after that. Including starts in the minors, Bannister has already surpassed his career high in innings pitched. ``They are going to do what is in the best interest of the team, for me and next year,'' Bannister said. ``There is no reason in doing something that would hurt me in getting ready for next year.'' ... LHP Jorge De La Rosa will start Sunday at Detroit, pushing RHP Gil Meche to Monday, and is also scheduled to start the final game of the season. ... INF Jason Smith hit his career-high sixth homer Friday night.

DETROIT: RHP Jeremy Bonderman (elbow) said if he responds well to throwing on the side Saturday, he might start Tuesday. ``We'll see how it feels,'' he said. ``We're still just taking it day by day.'' If Bonderman doesn't start, RHP Yorman Bazardo is expected to go against Minnesota. ... LHP Andrew Miller is to report Monday in Lakeland, Fla., for instructional ball. Manager Jim Leyland said Miller and RHP Jair Jurrjens, who gave up four runs in 2 1-3 innings Friday, are candidates for the rotation next year. ... Leyland plans to keep playing his regulars, even though Detroit is all but eliminated from the playoffs. ``We've got nine days of work left, and I want to make sure they put it in,'' Leyland said. ``This isn't a tryout. This is major league baseball.'' ... 1B Sean Casey hit his fourth home run Friday night.


BOSTON: Manager Terry Francona didn't get to enjoy Thursday's off day because he had flulike symptoms. ``It was great,'' he joked. ... Francona said he had known for a couple weeks that Red Sox minor league manager and former Boston OF Gabe Kapler was planning to try and make a comeback. ``You have to follow your heart and he is,'' Francona said. ``I'm a little surprised because I thought he was really on his next course. We were excited about the path he was on.''

TAMPA BAY:
All-Star LF Carl Crawford (strained left groin) was out of the lineup for the fourth straight game. Manager Joe Maddon didn't rule out Crawford playing again this season. ``He's doing better,'' Maddon said. ``He's feeling better. It was more encouraging that I thought.'' ... 2B Brendan Harris (strained left lat muscle) could return to the lineup in the next few days. He has been out since Tuesday. ... C Josh Paul (lower back tightness) was available.


BALTIMORE: Manager Dave Trembley said he hasn't had discussions with SS Miguel Tejada about a potential move to 3B. But Trembley thinks that Tejada would put aside personal pride for team goals. ``I think Tejada wants to win, I think he loves to play, and I think he'll do whatever he can to help the team,'' Trembley said. ... Scott Moore got his first start for the Orioles at 1B. He has also played at 3B and LF. ``I'd like to know what we have going into spring training,'' Trembley said.

TEXAS: RHP Brandon McCarthy downplayed reports that his latest injury (forearm tendinitis) could shut him down for the season. ``I'll do everything I can to get out and make my last two starts. I would say it's better than 50-50,'' he said. McCarthy will play catch Saturday, and is scheduled to start again Tuesday against the Angels. ... With RHP Vicente Padilla serving a seven-game suspension, the Rangers haven't listed a starter for Monday. Manager Ron Washington wouldn't confirm that rookie RHP Armando Galarraga will make his first major league start.


PITTSBURGH: The Pirates had plenty to say about the outfield conditions at Wrigley Field. Just as Cincinnati's Adam Dunn commented two days ago that the conditions were unsafe and were like playing in a parking lot, the Pirates echoed pretty much the same sentiment. There was a Police concert at Wrigley earlier this season. ``It's rock hard, it's as fast as turf, but it looks like there's been a dozen cows out there grazing this week,'' Pirates left fielder Nate McLouth said. Said Pirates manager Jim Tracy: ``The outfield is horrendous to play on. As bad as I've ever seen it in the big leagues. It's not a major league caliber outfield.'' ... SS Cesar Izturis, who had an error, a double and a triple against his former team, left in the fourth inning because of right elbow irritation. Tracy said Izturis had numbness in the last two fingers of his throwing hand and it had to do with his ulnar nerve. ... LHP Zach Duke starts Saturday against the Cubs, his first for the club since June 28. Duke was activated off the disabled list on Sept. 11 after being shelved for more than two months with two months with elbow tendinitis. Tracy said Duke doesn't have a definitive pitch count, but he is on restrictions. ... SS Jack Wilson is expected to rejoin the team this weekend. He's been in Los Angeles with his wife, who gave birth to their third child on Thursday.

CHICAGO: RHP Mark Prior, who underwent shoulder surgery in April and was lost for the season, joined his teammates Friday and did some light tossing before the game. ``I expect to come back. Fortunately, in this day and age, we have the medicine and technology that gives us a second chance,'' said Prior, who won 18 games in 2003 when the Cubs last made the playoffs. He was on mound in Game 6 of the NLCS when Chicago blew a late lead and went on to lose the series after being five outs from making the World Series. Now that the Cubs are back in the race, Prior has been keeping up with his team. ``It's tough being away and watching it. I'm getting an ulcer. Some of these games are getting interesting. They're in a really good position and the next eight days are going to be really fun to watch,'' he said. He's especially happy for Kerry Wood, who has also battled injuries before making a comeback this season as a reliever. ``It's nice for Woody to be pitching well. He's worked hard to get back to where he has. We had some different things going on but it's nice to see him get back and be able to contribute because, I know early on, he thought it was going to be a lost season,'' Prior said. ... Steve Trachsel is the likely starter for the Cubs game on Sept. 27 at Florida. Trachsel hasn't pitched since Sept. 13 as the Cubs have gone with a four-man rotation. ... Carlos Marmol has thrown 21 1/3 straight scoreless innings.


NEW YORK: The Mets purchased the contract of RHP Carlos Muniz from Triple-A New Orleans. He went 2-4 with a 2.45 ERA and 23 saves for Double-A Binghamton this year. To make room on the 40-man roster, LHP Jason Vargas went on the 60-day disabled list because of an elbow injury. ... 1B Carlos Delgado was in the lineup Friday for the first time since Sept. 4, when he was sidelined by a strained right hip flexor. 2B Luis Castillo was also in the lineup after missing Thursday's game because of a sore knee. ... Closer Billy Wagner said the back spasms that left him unable to pitch Thursday were less severe following treatment, but he was unsure whether he would be available Friday night at Florida. He said the therapy included ``poking and jabbing and popping and cracking. Pretty exciting. ... We're going to do whatever it takes to get me out on the field, short of cutting the muscle out of my back.''

FLORIDA:
LHP Chris Seddon will start Sunday against the Mets. Slumping RHP Sergio Mitre might not pitch again this season, manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ... With his 200th hit Thursday, SS Hanley Ramirez became the second Marlins player to reach the milestone. Juan Pierre had 204 hits in 2003 and 221 in 2004.


MILWAUKEE: LHP Manny Parra was activated from the 15-day DL. He hurt his left thumb on Aug. 31 and missed 19 games. ... RHP Ben Sheets, who left his last start due to a left hamstring strain, will throw Saturday. He is scheduled to pitch Sunday against the Braves. ``I'm not going to try to be a hero,'' said Sheets. ``This game is hard enough when you're 100 percent.'' Manager Ned Yost said: ``We'll see how he feels tomorrow and then we'll get together and make a decision.'' ...The Brewers, prior to Friday night's game were 31-47 on the road. They were 2-2 on their current seven-game road trip before ending the season at home with three games against St. Louis and four against San Diego. ... Second baseman Rickie Weeks did not start because he's 0-for-8 against Atlanta starter Tim Hudson. Craig Counsell took his place and led off.

ATLANTA: RHP Rafael Soriano, who was suspended for four games on Thursday, will appeal. He will make his case on Tuesday in Philadelphia, where the Braves open a three-game series. ... RHP Peter Moylan leads all rookies with 74 games pitched, a 1.77 ERA and a .201 opponents batting average prior to Friday night's game. ... 1B Mark Teixeira had his 12-game hitting streak end Thursday Night. He began another one Friday night when he hit a solo home run in the second inning. Entering Friday night's game, Chipper Jones (77 walks, 71 strikeouts), Albert Pujols (94 BB/56 K) and Barry Bonds (132 BB/54K) are the only three NL players to hit 25 or more home runs and have more walks than strikeouts.


HOUSTON: Wandy Rodriguez had been 2-10 with a 7.31 ERA on the road before dominating the Cardinals on Thursday, allowing one run in eight innings. ``He showed me he's a quality big league pitcher,'' interim manager Cecil Cooper said. ``He was very smooth.'' ... RF Hunter Pence was in the lineup a day after he was a late scratch due to upper back soreness from crashing into a wall chasing a home run ball.

ST. LOUIS: CF Jim Edmonds underwent an MRI exam Thursday for persistent groin pain and was scheduled to visit with Dr. George Paletta, the team physician, later in the day. Manager Tony La Russa said it was too soon to say whether Edmonds, who missed his fourth straight start, would be shut down. ... 1B Albert Pujols (calf) took some ground balls before the game but missed his third straight start. ... RHP Anthony Reyes has mild tendinitis in his right shoulder and La Russa said he will not pitch the rest of the season. The injury is perhaps a result of Reyes, 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA, shuttling between starting and the bullpen. ``Who knows?'' Reyes said. ``I'm not really used to that, so that could be, but I have no idea.'' ... 3B Russell Branyan was hospitalized Friday to receive IV fluids for a flulike symptoms, but was expected to rejoin the team Saturday.

PHILADELPHIA: As they chase the Mets for the NL East title, manager Charlie Manuel credited his players' willingness to ``scratch and claw'' to stay in the race. ``I've always said, 'Give me the talent, and I'll work with the attitude,''' Manuel said. ``Really, to me, that's what it's all about.'' ... The bullpen entered Friday's game having allowed only two earned runs over 22 2-3 innings. The relievers have been busy this week, throwing 11 innings in an extra inning game against St. Louis on Tuesday and seven innings in Thursday's comeback win over the Nationals. ... The start time of the Sept. 29 home game against Washington has been moved from 7:05 p.m. to 3:55 p.m.

WASHINGTON:
SS Cristian Guzman, out since June 24 because of a sprained left thumb, was reinstated from the 15-day DL. Guzman took swings Thursday in a simulated game and is scheduled to do so again, but manager Manny Acta said the team decided to go ahead and activate him ``just to have an extra body on the bench.'' ... With the Nationals wrapping up the season with games against teams in the playoff chase, Acta isn't able to give significant playing time to LHP Ross Detwiler (2006 first-round pick) and OF Justin Maxwell (2005 second-rounder). ``I'm dying to do it,'' Acta said. ``I wish I could be playing teams that are not in the race - in a way - so that I could see Maxwell and Detwiler. But I'm loving this because I'm playing games that have some significance.'' ... 1B Dmitri Young is still recovering from the hard hit on the head he took while trying to field a grounder during last Saturday's game against Atlanta. ``The headaches are gone,'' Acta said. ``The neck's still a little stiff. Not game ready yet.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 22

Giants tell Bonds they are moving in different direction, letting slugger go
September 21, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -Barry Bonds is finished in San Francisco.
   
The Giants told Bonds they will not bring him back next season, ending a 15-year run in which he set the single-season and all-time home run records and became a lightning rod for the steroids debate in baseball.

``It's always difficult to say goodbye,'' Giants owner Peter Magowan said Friday

``It's an emotional time for me. We've been through a lot together these 15 years. A lot of good things have happened. Unfortunately a lot of bad things have happened. But there comes a time when you have to go in a different direction.''

On his Web site, Bonds said he wasn't done.

``There is more baseball in me and I plan on continuing my career. My quest for a World Series ring continues,'' he said.

The 43-year-old Bonds did not join Magowan and general manager Brian Sabean at the news conference. Asked whether he had anything to add, Bonds said, ``I already made my statement.''

Bonds had always said he wanted to finish his career in the comfort of his hometown, where his father, Bobby, played alongside his godfather, Willie Mays. Bonds talked with Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey and took batting practice in the cage before Friday night's game against Cincinnati.

Bonds hasn't played since Sept. 15 because of a sprained right big toe and was out of the lineup again. Manager Bruce Bochy said he thought Bonds could play this weekend. The Giants' final homestand ends Wednesday night.

Magowan said he and Sabean recently decided about Bonds' future. Magowan personally told Bonds in a 90-minute meeting during Thursday night's game against Cincinnati.

``I think he knew the decision was coming,'' Magowan said. ``I don't think it was surprising to him. I think, naturally, he was disappointed, maybe somewhat saddened,'' Magowan said. ``But he was really very respectful.''

Bonds broke Hank Aaron's record with his 756th home run on Aug. 7. Bonds helped revitalize a struggling franchise that nearly moved to Florida before he signed with the Giants as a free agent in December 1992.

Bonds has spent the past 15 seasons of his 22-year big league career with the Giants. Re-signed as a free agent in the offseason, he made $19.3 million in a one-year contract, including $3.5 million in bonuses.

Shadowed by steroid speculation for the past few years, Bonds has hit 28 homers this season, raising his career total to 762. The seven-time NL MVP is batting .279 with 66 RBIs and a major league-leading 132 walks.

``He can still play,'' Sabean said. ``He's still one of the biggest threats of any No. 4 hitter in the National League.''

Prior to the toe injury, he had been mostly healthy, playing 125 games. The left fielder has 2,935 career hits and has said that reaching 3,000 is a goal of his.

``This is a guy who plays every day and is still leading the National League in some league categories, which is amazing,'' teammate Barry Zito said. ``He's really done special things this year being at the age that he is. If Barry has the opportunity to go be a DH somewhere I'm sure that's only going to prolong his career.''

Despite Bonds' personal achievements, the season has been a disappointing one for the Giants, who are mired deep in last place in the NL West.

``We've heard for a long time that the Giants are an old team and want to get younger, so we're not surprised,'' said Bonds' agent, Jeff Borris. ``Barry is their oldest player, but qualitatively, he's their best player.''

``He's still planning on playing next year, irrespective of whether it's an AL or NL team,'' he said.

Bonds has long denied using performance-enhancing drugs, but fans across the country have greeted him with placards inscribed with asterisks - baseball-fan shorthand for the belief that his record is hopelessly tainted by allegations of steroid abuse.

Even the person who paid $752,467 for Bonds' historic 756th home run has threatened to stamp it with an asterisk.

Fashion designer Marc Ecko revealed himself this week as the winning bidder for the ball and has posted a Web site giving visitors a chance to vote on what he should do with the ball: donate it to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y.; brand the ball with an asterisk in reference to the steroid allegations against Bonds; or blast the ball into space.

After parting ways with Bonds, San Francisco will be free to scrap a win-now philosophy in which Sabean surrounded the slugger with aging veterans every year to maximize Bonds' chances to win his first championship. San Francisco came within five outs of winning the World Series in 2002, but hasn't been back to the postseason since 2003.

``It is certainly unprecedented for an organization, especially a general manager, to replace a player like this, which will be nearly impossible,'' Sabean said.

In his statement, Bonds said he believes the Giants made the decision long ago not to bring him back for next season.

``Although I am disappointed, I've always said baseball is a business, and I respect their decision,'' Bonds said. ``However, I am saddened and upset that I was not given an earlier opportunity to properly say goodbye to you, my fans, and celebrate with the city throughout the season as I truly believe this was not a last-minute decision by the Giants, but one that was made some time ago.''

``I would have loved nothing more than to retire as a Giant in the place where I call home and have shared so many momentous moments with all of you,'' he said.

Bonds' presence helped the Giants build their waterfront ballpark that is on pace to draw more than 3 million fans for the eighth straight season since opening. Bonds was the biggest draw but Magowan said he was not concerned about how his absence would affect attendance.

``I think we pride ourselves as an organization on knowing what our fans think. On this issue the fans are divided, Magowan said. ``We listen to our fans carefully, but they don't make the decisions. They are made by the baseball people.''

San Francisco is where Bonds became entangled with federal prosecutors and with the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative, the lab at the center of the steroids scandal in professional sports.

The perjury investigation is focused on whether Bonds lied in 2003, when he told the federal grand jury investigating BALCO that he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs.

Bonds said his personal trainer told him he was taking flaxseed oil and arthritis balm.

His childhood friend and trainer, Greg Anderson, has spent nearly a year in prison for refusing to testify to the grand jury investigating Bonds' alleged perjury.

On the field, a championship is about the only thing missing on Bonds' resume.

He played in his 13th All-Star game this summer, an event held in his home ballpark.

Bonds has reached the postseason seven times, and a World Series title barely eluded him in 2002. The Giants were just five outs from the title in Game 6 against the Anaheim Angels, but they lost that lead and also got beaten in Game 7. Bonds hit .471 in those seven games with four home runs, and the Angels walked him 13 times.

A day after last season ended, Magowan said that Bonds would no longer be the centerpiece of the organization and that the team would change its formula for winning.

Bonds then checked out the free-agent market, and a couple of teams - including St. Louis, Oakland and San Diego - showed early interest. But there seemed to be a pervasive feeling around baseball that Bonds would ultimately rejoin the Giants and he did for one final season that was a disappointment for the team.

``The fact that we failed doesn't mean that Barry failed the Giants in some fashion,'' Magowan said. ``He did all that we could have reasonably expected or anticipated he could do when we signed him.''

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 22

Baseball Today - September 22
ASSOCIATED PRESS

Saturday, Sept. 22

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 Friday

-Brad Hawpe, Rockies, homered with two outs in the 14th inning and Colorado beat San Diego 2-1.

-Greg Zaun, Blue Jays, hit a go-ahead homer in the 14th inning to lift Toronto over the New York Yankees 5-4.

-Aramis Ramirez, Cubs, hit a pair of three-run homers to power the Chicago Cubs past Pittsburgh 13-8.

-Josh Fields, White Sox, hit two homers and the Chicago White Sox beat Minnesota 6-4.

-Tony Clark, Diamondbacks, drove in four runs, including a two-run homer, and Arizona routed the Los Angeles Dodgers 12-3.

BYE, BYE, BONDS

Barry Bonds is finished in San Francisco. The Giants told Bonds they will not bring him back next season, ending an era in which he became all-time home run champion and a lightning rod for the steroids debate in baseball. The 43-year-old Bonds broke Hank Aaron's record with his 756th home run on Aug. 7. He has spent the past 15 seasons of his 22-year big league career with the Giants, but hasn't played since Sept. 15 because of a sprained right big toe.

20 FOR BECKETT

Josh Beckett pitched six strong innings to become the Red Sox's first 20-game winner since Curt Schilling in 2004 and lead Boston to an 8-1 victory over Tampa Bay on Friday. He's the first in the majors to do it since 2005, when Dontrelle Willis, Chris Carpenter, Bartolo Colon and Roy Oswalt all reached the plateau.

TRIBE TANDEM

Fausto Carmona won his 18th game and Cleveland beat Oakland 4-3 on Friday to lower their magic number to two for clinching their first AL Central title since 2001. The Indians are the only team in the majors with two 18-game winners, with Carmona tying teammate C.C. Sabathia. Carmona, 23, is the youngest Indians right-hander to win 18 or more games since Bob Feller did it each year from 1939-1941.

SANTANA STRUGGLES

Johan Santana's troubles with the long ball continue. Josh Fields hit two homers and Jim Thome added the 503rd of his career to lift the Chicago White Sox to a 6-4 victory over Minnesota on Friday. Santana struck out 11 in seven innings but lost for the fourth time in five starts. The three homers pushed his total for the season to 33, most in the American League.

SNAPPED

Brad Hawpe homered with two outs in the 14th inning and the Colorado Rockies ended San Diego's seven-game winning streak by beating the Padres 2-1 on Friday night.

SLOPPY DEFENSE

Florida committed a team record six errors while allowing eight unearned runs, and the New York Mets put the brakes on their free fall by winning 9-6 on Friday. The misplays were nothing new for the last-place Marlins, who lead the major leagues with 127 errors.

SPEAKING

''A lot of them, after they saw what happened, could've not showed and gone to high school football. I'm totally impressed.'' - Detroit manager Jim Leyland, on the size and enthusiasm of the home crowd on Friday, coming off a deflating sweep against the Indians earlier in the week. The Tigers beat Kansas City 5-4, maintaining their slim chances of making the playoffs.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 22

Toronto Blue Jays call up infielder Joe Inglett
September 21, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -The Toronto Blue Jays recalled infielder Joe Inglett from Triple-A Syracuse on Friday before the opener of a four-game series against the New York Yankees.

Toronto claimed Inglett off waivers from the Cleveland Indians last Friday.

In other news, shortstop John McDonald was held out of the starting lineup for the third consecutive game because of a sore groin, the result of a hip flexor injury. Ray Olmedo started at shortstop again.

McDonald was to be examined by a doctor on Friday afternoon, manager John Gibbons said.

Gibbons also said backup catcher Sal Fasano left the team to be with his wife, who is expecting a baby.

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