MLB News and Notes September 27

MLB News and Notes September 27

Notes from Wednesday's games
September 26, 2007

LOS ANGELES: Manager Mike Scioscia calls OF Juan Rivera's comeback from a broken left tibia last winter one of the team's most pleasant surprises. Rivera has started 10 games since being activated from the 60-day DL on Sept. 2 and might be on the playoff roster. ``It's almost like getting a guy in a trade,'' Scioscia said. ``We'll see how he looks in the batter's box the next three, four days, but he looks more comfortable.'' Scioscia believes Rivera could be a playoff factor as a DH and pinch hitter. ... Scioscia will go with a 10-man pitching staff for next week's playoff roster, leaving a couple of roster spots for one-dimensional players. ``Whether it's speed or a bat off the bench, the 10-man staff allows you to do some things offensively that you don't have the luxury of in the season,'' he said. He won't announce the playoff rotation until this weekend.

TEXAS: Sammy Sosa's 21st homer of the season and No. 609 of his career came in the first inning of the home finale off Joe Saunders, the 371st different pitcher that has allowed a long ball to Sosa. ... Sosa was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the seventh, and Hank Blalock responded with a three-run homer. It was the Rangers' fourth pinch-hit homer this season. ... The 16 runs and 17 hits Wednesday, when every starter had a hit, were well short of the season high. Texas had 30 runs and 29 hits in that doubleheader opener at Baltimore on Aug. 22.


OAKLAND: In the last 24 games not pitched by Wednesday's starter, Joe Blanton, Oakland's starters were 2-13 with a 7.69 ERA. ... Blanton made his 34th start of the season, the most in the AL. The Athletics scored at least four runs Wednesday for only the 14th time in those starts. ... Mark Ellis broke an 0-for-10 slump with a single in the second inning but was thrown out trying to steal, completing a double play after Kurt Suzuki struck out. ... Donnie Murphy's homer in the fourth was his sixth of the season, all coming in his last 26 games. He hadn't homered in his 45 games before that.

BOSTON: CF Coco Crisp missed his second straight game after feeling dizzy. Manager Terry Francona said Crisp will see a doctor on Thursday. Rookie Jacoby Ellsbury replaced him. ... Francona said it's ``very important'' to get LHP Hideki Okajima in a regular-season game and he hopes it happens Thursday. Okajima hasn't pitched since Sept. 14 because of a tired arm. ``His arm is probably stronger now than it had been at the start of the season,'' Francona said. ... Josh Beckett (20-6) makes his final start of the regular season Thursday night against Minnesota's Boof Bonser. Francona has said Beckett will start the playoff opener against the Los Angeles Angels or Cleveland.


MINNESOTA:
Manager Ron Gardenhire said Wednesday would probably mark Joe Mauer's final catching appearance of the season. ``I think this is it,'' Gardenhire said. ``I'm not planning to use him in Boston unless he really pounds me to put him in.'' ... Gardenhire said that RHP Scott Baker (hand) will not pitch again this season. ... LHP Johan Santana entered his final start of the season with a 15-13 record, which pleased Gardenhire. ``At least he'll finish as a winning pitcher,'' he said. ``I know there are pitchers with better records out there, but I still think Johan is the best in the league. I'll take my chances with him over anyone.''

DETROIT: Jim Leyland is scheduled to meet with team president Dave Dombrowski the day after the regular season ends, and the manager wants to have his contract extended. ``I hope that when I leave Monday, I will be the manager of the Tigers through 2009,'' Leyland said Wednesday before the home finale. ... 1B Sean Casey and LHP Kenny Rogers attended Lions practice in nearby Allen Park, and the slow-footed Casey drew a challenge. ``I want to race Casey,'' center Dominic Raiola said. ... C Ivan Rodriguez isn't sure if the Tigers are going to pick up his $13 million option for next season, but he does know how he feels about his four years in Detroit. ``The team, the fans and the city have been absolutely great to me,'' Rodriguez said.


CLEVELAND: C Victor Martinez was in the lineup for the first game of Wednesday's doubleheader, after leaving Tuesday night's game when he fouled a pitch off his right knee. ``We wanted to take precautions with it last night, but he was feeling pretty good today,'' manager Eric Wedge said. ... RHP Paul Byrd will make his final start before the playoffs on Thursday and could be pitching for a spot in the postseason rotation. The final starting spot in the divisional round will likely come down to Byrd or Jake Westbrook, who makes his final regular season start on Saturday in Kansas City. ``After a tough year last year, they signed me as a free agent and I didn't do the job,'' said Byrd, who is 15-7 this season. ``This season I've been able to come back and right myself a bit.'' ... Wednesday was Cleveland's first doubleheader this season. The Indians' last doubleheader was Aug. 12, 2006, at home against Kansas City.

SEATTLE: Longtime Mariners' clubhouse assistant Rob Reagle was found dead late Tuesday night at his home. No cause of death was known. Reagle had worked for the Mariners since 1989 and leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter. ``I have known Rob for nearly 20 years,'' Mariners' president Chuck Armstrong said. ``His upbeat attitude, sense of humor and sly smile will be missed in our clubhouse.'' ... According to the Mariners and research done by Retrosheet, Wednesday was the first time since 1913 that the home team batted first in its own ballpark. Seattle hit first in the first game of the doubleheader, the final makeup game from the Mariners and Indians snowed-out series in April in Cleveland. ... Manager John McLaren said OF Charlton Jimerson's sore back was feeling better, but he would not be available for the doubleheader


TORONTO:
Hitting coach Mickey Brantley will be dismissed at the end of the season, the team announced Wednesday. The decision was made last week but was not revealed until before Toronto's game against Baltimore. Brantley, who has been a Blue Jays coach since 2004, was in his second season as hitting coach. After hitting .284 with 809 runs in 2006, Toronto was batting .259 with 725 runs through 157 games in 2007. ... INF John McDonald will undergo surgery on Tuesday in Philadelphia for a sports hernia, but will play out the season, manager John Gibbons said. ... OF Vernon Wells was operated on in Alabama on Tuesday for a torn labrum in the left shoulder. A cyst close to a nerve was not removed because it was not believed to be part of the injury. ... 1B Lyle Overbay was also operated on Tuesday, in Baltimore, for a right hand injury. He had four pins removed from the hand. Both are expected to be recovered in time for 2008 spring training.

BALTIMORE: RHP Jeremy Guthrie will be on a pitch count when he returns Thursday for a start against Toronto. Guthrie has not pitched since Sept. 9, when he strained a muscle in his left rib cage. He will be limited to 75 pitches, manager Dave Trembley said. ... CF Corey Patterson remains sidelined with a sprained ankle, and Trembley indicated the outfielder won't be returning this season after missing 20 straight games through Wednesday. ... The Orioles have won consecutive games only once since Aug. 15.


NEW YORK: LF-DH Hideki Matsui was out of the starting lineup. ``He's been struggling,'' manager Joe Torre said. Matsui, 10-for-74 (.189) in September, has been slowed by sore knees. ... RF Bobby Abreu might get a day off Thursday. Shelley Duncan, the DH Wednesday night, would likely replace Abreu. ... The pair of Chinese players signed by the Yankees in June, LHP Kai Liu and C Zhenwang Zhang, are working out with New York's Florida fall instructional league team in Tampa, Fla.

TAMPA BAY:
Manager Joe Maddon said INF Brendan Harris (strained left calf muscle) is available to pinch run. Harris has been out of the lineup for the past eight games, and Maddon said if Harris can not go by Thursday, he will be shutdown for the season. ... INF Jorge Velandia became the 170th player in major league history to hit a grand slam for his first career home run. Velandia hit a grand slam Tuesday off New York RHP Brian Bruney.


KANSAS CITY: RHP Zack Greinke made his 14th start of the season, and seventh since leaving the bullpen to rejoin the starting rotation on August 24. Greinke has a 1.24 ERA in his last six starts and has shown manager Buddy Bell that he is worthy of prominent spot on the Royals in 2008. ``From the way (Greinke's) pitched up to this point he should be in the rotation,'' Bell said. ``Zack has been as good a pitcher as there's been in the league the last two months. This guy is an impact guy no matter where you put him.'' ... Alex Gordon has only one hit in his last 22 at bats. Bell said he thought Gordon might be focusing too much on statistics instead of just playing. ``I don't think he's tired,'' Bell said. ``I just think sometimes kids look at their numbers and want to finish at that number of this number. Instead of focusing on the ball, they focus on everything but the ball. But regardless of what he does, he's come a long way.''

CHICAGO: Scott Podsednik entered in a 2-for-20 slump. ... Jerry Owens has 30 stolen bases which leads majors league rookies. Owens is hitting .283 since he was recalled from Triple-A Charlotte on July 3. ... Closer Bobby Jenks needed one save to become the first pitcher in White Sox history to have 40 or more saves in two seasons. ... Jermaine Dye, who got off to disappointing start, is hitting .292 with 15 home runs and 36 RBIs in the second half. Dye is hitting .250 on the season with 27 home runs. ... The White Sox are hitting .246 this season compared to .282 through 157 games in 2006.


FLORIDA: The Marlins hired former Orioles and Expos GM Jim Beattie as bullpen coach for the final week of the season. ``He'll observe and give us his perspective,'' manager Fredi Gonzalez said. ... Closer Kevin Gregg is nursing a sore forearm but might be available Thursday, Gonzalez said. ... RHP Lee Gardner retired two batters Tuesday, lowering his ERA to 0.83 since he was recalled from the minors June 29.

CHICAGO:
The Cubs' starting pitchers in the final four regular-season games will be Steve Trachsel on Thursday, Carlos Zambrano on Friday, Rich Hill on Saturday and Ted Lilly on Sunday. Zambrano could then start the first playoff game Wednesday on five days' rest. ``It works out quite well,'' manager Lou Piniella said. He said Lilly may be pushed back if the Cubs clinch the NL Central before Sunday. ... C Jason Kendall, who has been nursing a sore thumb, was back in the starting lineup Wednesday for the first time since Sept. 18. Piniella said Kendall will likely catch at least three of the final four games.


DIAMONDBACKS:
Manager Bob Melvin settled on a rotation for the season-ending series in Colorado, with RHP Micah Owings (7-8), RHP Edgar Gonzalez (8-3) and LHP Doug Davis (13-12) facing the Rockies. Previously, Melvin had not announced starters for Saturday and Sunday. ... RHP Brandon Webb (17-10, 3.02 ERA), last season's NY Cy Young Award winner, faces the Pirates on Thursday. He is 3-0 with a 2.70 ERA in four career appearances against them but has not faced Pittsburgh this season. ... Webb has won his last three decisions and is 3-1 with a 4.18 ERA in September.

PIRATES:
SS Jack Wilson, out of the Pirates' lineup since Sept. 18 as his wife gave birth to the couple's third child, was expected to return to the lineup Thursday against Arizona. Wilson was bothered by a hamstring problem when he left the club in San Diego and did not start Tuesday or Wednesday after returning to the club. Manager Jim Tracy was unhappy with Wilson's extended stay away from the team during a stretch when the Pirates were facing contenders, even though Wilson had permission from interim general manager Brian Graham to remain with his wife after she developed complications. Wilson and Tracy met Wednesday, but neither talked afterward. ... LHP Paul Maholm (lower back stiffness) won't start again Thursday as scheduled, with RHP John Van Benschoten (0-6, 9.73 ERA) taking his place. LHP Zach Duke, LHP Tom Gorzelanny and RHP Bryan Bullington will start in the final series of the season, against St. Louis. That series will be the only one in PNC Park this month in which Pittsburgh did not face a team that was in first place at some point during the series.


ATLANTA: If the Braves are still in the playoff chase on Sunday, Tim Hudson most likely would pitch against the Astros on three days' rest. ``That would be the logical choice,'' manager Bobby Cox said. ``Would he go no matter what? I don't know about that.'' Cox joked that he would rest Hudson if the Braves clinch a spot before then. They would have to keep winning and get a lot of help to secure a playoff berth by Sunday. ... John Smoltz (14-7, 2.95) takes the mound in the series finale on Thursday night. It'll be his 35th career start against the Phillies. He's 13-12 vs. Philly.

PHILADELPHIA: Injured reliever Ryan Madson could be ready to pitch in two weeks if the Phillies make the playoffs. Madson has been sidelined since late July because of a shoulder strain. He has a 3.05 ERA in 38 appearances. ... When Jimmy Rollins joined Bobby Abreu as the only players in franchise history to hit 30 homers and steal 30 bases in the same season, he also became just the third regular shortstop to do it. Alex Rodriguez (1998) and Barry Larkin (1996) are the others. ... The Phillies have the third-best record in the NL over the past five seasons, but still haven't made the playoffs in that span.


WASHINGTON:
With one win in the final four games, the Nationals would top last year's win total of 71. ... The Nationals were trying for their first sweep at Shea Stadium since September 2005. ... Starting in place of injured RHP Shawn Hill, ex-Met Mike Bacsik lasted only 2 1-3 innings - the shortest of his 35 major league starts. He was tagged for five runs and seven hits, including three homers.

NEW YORK: Mets manager Willie Randolph said he would ``possibly'' consider using RHP Orlando Hernandez (sore right foot) out of the bullpen this weekend - if he gets healthy in time. What about giving Hernandez a start before the regular seasons ends Sunday? ``That would really be pretty much a long shot, unless he really fights me to take the ball or something,'' Randolph said, pointing to the fact that El Duque hasn't pitched much over the past month because of injuries. ... RF Shawn Green has been hitting well lately, but he didn't start against LHP Mike Bacsik. Carlos Gomez started in RF rather than Lastings Milledge, who finished serving a three-game suspension Monday. ``Sometimes I just like the way it feels,'' Randolph said, pointing out that Gomez provides speed and strong defense. ``Just tonight against this guy, I think Gomez gives us the best chance to win.'' ... 3B David Wright extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a first-inning single. ... 2B Jose Valentin was on crutches in the clubhouse after having surgery for a torn anterior cruciate ligament Tuesday. Valentin said the doctor told him he'll be sidelined for six months, but he hopes to be ready for spring training next year - no matter which team he might be with.


HOUSTON: More than a quarter of the residents of OF Josh Anderson's hometown of Eubank, Ky., were on hand for the Astros game at Cincinnati on Tuesday. Eubank, with a population between 350 and 400, is less than two hours from Cincinnati, and Anderson estimated that a group of a hundred family and friends made the trip. ``They had to shut down the town,'' he joked. ``The postmaster, everybody was up here. Luckily, it was a night game.'' ... SS Adam Everett returned to the Astros starting lineup Wednesday night after being away from the team while his wife gave birth on Sunday to their second child. ... If Atlanta is out of the wild-card race by this weekend's season-ending series in Houston, Astros' interim manager Cecil Cooper is promising some lineup surprises.

CINCINNATI: OF Adam Dunn had season-ending arthroscopic surgery Wednesday morning to clean out his right knee and to repair the torn meniscus in that knee. Dunn is expected to recover fully in 4-6 weeks. ... INF Pedro Lopez is expected to start Thursday at shortstop. Lopez pinch-ran Friday in San Francisco in his only appearance since being reinstated from the disabled list on Sept. 9 after being out since July 26 with a broken left cheekbone, the result of being hit by a pitch from Milwaukee RHP Matt Wise. ... The Reds reinstated from the 60-day disabled list INF Jerry Gil and transferred to the 60-day disabled list OF Ryan Freel on Wednesday.


ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals on Thursday continue their weeklong season-ending road trip in New York. RHP Joel Pineiro (5-4)will make his first career appearance against the Mets in the makeup of a rained-out June 28 contest. St. Louis finishes the season with three games against Pittsburgh. ... OF Jim Edmonds was back on the bench for Wednesday night's game against Milwaukee after playing the previous day. Edmonds had not started a game since September 17 because of a groin injury. Manager Tony La Russa said Wednesday Edmonds aggravated the injury going after a ball Tuesday night. ``He felt a little something when he took a dive,'' said La Russa.

MILWAUKEE: C Damian Miller started his third straight game behind the plate Wednesday night. He has taken over for starting catcher Johnny Estrada, who has been sidelined since Sunday with a torn medial meniscus in his left knee. ... RHP Yovani Gallardo (9-4) pitches Thursday night when the Brewers open their final series of the season, a four game set at home against San Diego. He will be trying to notch his fifth straight victory. His last outing Sunday was a no-decision in a 4-3, 11-inning loss to Atlanta.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 27

COLORADO: 1B Todd Helton, hitting over .330 in a big-league career that began in 1997, has never played in the postseason. ``I've only been over .500 once in my career - in 2000,'' said Helton, in his 10th full season with the Rockies. ``It's exciting - it's been a lot of fun. I'm very happy. But I'm still focused on what we've got to do.'' ... Clint Hurdle, finishing his sixth year as the Rockies' manager, said he's enjoyed this season like few others. ``It has been a blast,'' he said. ``It has been a long time since I've had this much fun in a baseball season.'' And it's not just the team's recent surge. ``I would have said that in June or July,'' he said. ... The Rockies had committed 65 errors entering Wednesday's action - 11 fewer than any other big-league team.

LOS ANGELES: Manager Grady Little said injured infielders Rafael Furcal, Jeff Kent and Tony Abreu were all day-to-day. Furcal, bothered by a stiff lower back, missed his eighth straight game. ... The Dodgers used a lineup with five September callups - SS Chin-Lung Hu, OF Delwyn Young, 3B Andy LaRoche, C Chad Moeller and 2B Wilson Valdez. ``We won't lose respect for the game and what it means to everyone concerned,'' Little said. ``We'll try to win every game we can.'' ... All-Star C Russell Martin was named the winner of the second annual Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodger player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The winner was determined in a vote of Dodgers uniform personnel. SS Rafael Furcal won the inaugural award last season. ... Rookie 1B James Loney entered with 28 RBIs in September - most in the majors.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 27

Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez to have shoulder surgery
September 26, 2007

PITTSBURGH (AP) -Pirates second baseman Freddy Sanchez, last year's NL batting champion, will sit out the final five games of the season because of a shoulder injury that will require arthroscopic surgery on Friday.

The procedure will essentially repair a separated shoulder and is not expected to set back his offseason conditioning program. The shoulder is expected to be normal within six to eight weeks.

Sanchez played Tuesday against Arizona, going 1-for-3 before leaving in the seventh inning with what was described as blurry vision. He will finish the season with a .304 average, 11 homers and 81 RBIs, a year after his .344 average was the highest by a Pirates player since Roberto Clemente's .345 in 1969.

Sanchez missed nearly all of spring training because of a knee injury, and got off to a slow start with a .224 average in April. He was hitting as high as .318 on Sept. 3 before getting six hits in his final 38 at_bats.

Despite that slump, Sanchez had a .329 average over the final seven weeks of the season. His 146 starts were the most by a Pirates second baseman since Tony Womack made 149 in 1998.

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Re: MLB News and Notes September 27

Reds activate Jerry Gil, move Ryan Freel to 60-day DL
September 26, 2007

CINCINNATI (AP) -Reds infielder Jerry Gil was activated off the 60-day disabled list and outfielder Ryan Freel was placed on the 60-day disabled list Wednesday.
   
Gil, acquired last October from Arizona for minor league pitcher Abe Woody, missed almost the entire season after reconstructive surgery on his right elbow May 8. He was placed on the 15-day disabled list March 23.

Freel has been on the disabled list since Aug. 7, the day before he had season-ending surgery to repair torn cartilage in his right knee.

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