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Zaun goes on DL with elbow injury

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) -Gregg Zaun felt something in his right elbow after making a throw Monday and it was still bothering him two days later.

To let him fully heal, the Toronto Blue Jays placed their veteran catcher on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday with a mild strain and inflammation in the elbow. The 37-year-old Zaun sat out Tuesday's series opener at Oakland hoping his elbow would calm down, but he still felt discomfort Wednesday.

``It flared up a little bit Monday on a throw during the game but I thought it would get better,'' Zaun said. ``I took yesterday off and it wasn't better. It was barking pretty good. Unfortunately you can't carry just one catcher.''

Rod Barajas will handle most of the catching responsibility and Toronto called up Curtis Thigpen from Triple-A Syracuse. He made quite the clubhouse entrance, sporting the messy, bed-head style with his blonde hair and dressed sharply as he made the meet-and-greet rounds.

Reliever Armando Benitez called Thigpen into the training room to pose with him for a picture.

``You need two (catchers) here,'' Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said.

Zaun said the injury came out of the blue and is especially discouraging considering he hasn't had arm trouble for years and his body has felt great all season. Zaun is in his 14th big league season and fifth with the Blue Jays.

He is batting .264 with two home runs and eight RBIs in 41 games this year. He has reached base safely in 31 of his 35 starts.

Yet Zaun knows that if he had to try to make a hard throw in a game he might not be able to get the ball there with the elbow hindering him.

``We'll take a couple of weeks and get it better and hopefully be good to go,'' Zaun said. ``I haven't had any arm trouble for a long time. I've been feeling like offensively I was starting to turn the corner and swing the bat pretty well. And I was throwing some guys out. A little time out will get it back.''

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Reds send slumping Patterson to minors

CINCINNATI (AP) -Corey Patterson is headed to the minors to try to work the kinks out of his swing.

The Cincinnati Reds optioned their leadoff hitter to Triple-A Louisville on Wednesday as part of a mutual agreement. The center fielder knows something has to change.

Patterson pinch hit and flied out Tuesday night in a 9-6 win over Pittsburgh, leaving him in an 0-for-18 slump that dropped his average to .200. His on-base percentage was .240, extremely poor for a leadoff hitter.

Patterson approached manager Dusty Baker to talk about going to the minors to streamline his swing.

``It was a mutual decision,'' Baker said. ``Actually, I was going to call Corey in to talk to him, and he came in before I could get him and said, 'I've got to get my act together and change some things.' He knows he's better than he's played. He's got skill and talent. He's only 28 years old.''

The Reds purchased the contract of utility infielder Andy Phillips, who was batting .315 with five homers for Triple-A Louisville.

Cincinnati also transferred shortstop Alex Gonzalez to the 60-day disabled list. Gonzalez sustained a compression fracture in his left knee early in spring training and still is having problems when he runs hard.

One of the Reds' biggest problems has been finding a leadoff hitter. They thought Patterson could fill the need when they signed him on March 3, the only team willing to give him such a chance.

Part of attraction was Patterson's history with Baker. He played for him with the Chicago Cubs, having his best moments in the majors before flaming out. Patterson hit well during spring training, winning the job in center field. He was set to make $3 million in the majors this season.

Patterson's struggles in the last few weeks led the Reds to look for another option. They called up Jay Bruce and started him in center on Tuesday. The former first-round pick went 3-for-3 with a pair of walks in his major league debut.

When Bruce was called up, Patterson decided it was time to work on his swing. Baker hasn't given up on him.

``He's got the skill,'' Baker said. ``It's not just going on like or dislike. I like the skill. I know skill when I see skill. I know talent when I see talent. If he was 35, it might be a little different.''

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Kennedy on DL; Joba to rotation sooner?

BALTIMORE (AP) -The New York Yankees placed right-handed starter Ian Kennedy on the disabled list Wednesday, a move that could speed up Joba Chamberlain's move into the starting rotation.

Kennedy strained a muscle near his right ribcage in his start Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles. Manager Joe Girardi said Wednesday that Kennedy also has bursitis in his right shoulder blade.

``We DL'd him because we figured it would linger into a second start,'' Girardi said.

Kennedy was 0-3 with a 7.41 in nine appearances, eight of them starts. To fill his spot on the roster, New York recalled reliever Chris Britton from Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre.

Kennedy joined starter Phil Hughes (fractured rib) on the Yankees' disabled list. Girardi said the results of an MRI exam on Hughes earlier in the day showed a ``hot spot,'' and that the pitcher would have another MRI next week.

The loss of Hughes and Kennedy increased speculation that Chamberlain might soon join the starting rotation, though Girardi would not confirm what role the hard-throwing reliever will have in the coming weeks. The Yankees began Chamberlain's conversion from a setup man to a starter last week.

``I think Joba loves to pitch, so I think if you told him he could pitch every day, he would,'' Girardi said. ``He knows he is going to get a chance to compete.''

Girardi said Mike Mussina, Chien-Ming Wang and Darrell Rasner will pitch Friday through Sunday against Minnesota, but the manager would not name a starter for Monday night.

``We could move Andy (Pettitte) up to that date if we wanted to,'' Girardi said. ``(Chamberlain) is a possibility that he can throw sometime after this and give us a start. We'll take it step by step.''

Girardi said in order for Chamberlain to be considered for a start, he would have to be used for an extended outing and then see how he felt afterward. Chamberlain was expected to pitch Wednesday night against the Orioles.

``Somehow we have to get 50-55 pitches in him in order to increase (his endurance) and strengthen him. But you have to see how he comes out of it physically and how he feels two days afterward,'' Girardi said. ``I can't tell you 100 percent that he is going to take that spot. I have to see what happens tonight first.''

Britton, meanwhile, joined the Yankees for the fourth time this season. The right-hander has pitched in two games, allowing one earned run in 4 2-3 innings. In 10 relief appearances at Scranton/Wilkes Barre, Britton pitched 13 innings and was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA.

``He hasn't had much of a chance when he's been up,'' Girardi said. ``We used him some and other times we just didn't need him. You try to pick situations for a guy that you believe he's going to be successful in. He'll get his opportunities for us.''

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Cardinals place Pineiro on DL

ST. LOUIS (AP) -Cardinals pitcher Joel Pineiro was put on the 15-day disabled list Wednesday because of a strained right groin after the team determined he wouldn't be ready to make his next start.

Mike Parisi will take Pineiro's spot in the rotation on Saturday against Pittsburgh, making his first major league start. Right-hander Kelvin Jimenez was recalled by St. Louis from Triple-A Memphis and will be used in long relief.

``He's not going to be able to pitch Saturday, so it's better to give him the two weeks,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``We expect in two weeks he'll be fine.''

Pineiro also was skipped in the rotation on Tuesday. He's 2-3 with a 4.50 ERA in eight starts.

Pineiro was hurt shagging fly balls during batting practice last Wednesday in San Diego, a day after his last start. The move to the disabled list is retroactive to May 21.

The 27-year-old Jimenez appeared in three games for the Cardinals in April and was 0-0 with a 3.00 ERA, totaling three innings. He was 1-2 with a 1.88 ERA and one save in 20 games at Memphis, with 14 strikeouts and three walks in 24 innings.

Parisi, 25, was the opening day starter at Triple-A Memphis and was 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA in six starts in the minors. He's 0-1 with a 2.87 ERA in eight relief appearances with St. Louis.

``He impressed in spring training and he's picked it up here,'' La Russa said. ``He's done a very good job.''

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Houston (30-24) at St. Louis (31-23)

The Astros send ace Roy Oswalt (4-4, 5.61 ERA) to the mound in the finale of their three-game series at Busch Stadium, while the Cardinals will counter with Kyle Lohse (4-2, 4.26).

The teams have split the first two games of this series, with Houston winning the opener 8-2 on Tuesday and the Cardinals taking last night’s contest 6-1. St. Louis snapped a modest two-game slide with the victory and is now 7-3 in its last 10 and 15-6 in its last 21 against winning teams. However, Tony LaRussa’s club is just 2-5 in its last seven divisional games and 1-4 in its last five on Thursdays.

Wednesday’s loss aside, the Astros are still on rolls of 17-8 overall, 8-4 on the highway, 6-2 versus the N.L. Central, 4-1 as an underdog, 19-8 against right-handed starters and 11-2 against winning teams.

This is the third series this season between these two teams, and the Cardinals now hold a 5-3 edge after last night’s win, going 3-2 at Busch Stadium.

Oswalt has struggled all season, giving up at least three runs in 10 of his 11 starts. He’s been especially bad in his last two outings, getting rocked for a total of 11 runs and 22 hits in 12 innings, striking out just five batters as Houston lost 6-2 at Texas and 7-5 at home to the Phillies. On the bright side, Oswalt has pitched at least six innings in eight straight starts.

Oswalt is 2-3 with a 4.85 ERA in six road outings, and the Astros are just 2-6 in his last eight on the highway dating to last year. However, he’s been terrific against St. Louis in his career, going 9-5 with a 2.85 ERA in 24 games (23 starts). In fact, the right-hander has registered 10 straight quality starts against the Redbirds, giving up three earned runs or fewer and pitching at least six innings in every game. That includes an April 26 start at St. Louis, where Oswalt surrendered three runs on five hits in six innings, getting a no-decision in the Astros’ 4-3 loss.

Lohse was outstanding in his most recent work at Los Angeles on Saturday, scattering six hits over six scoreless innings, walking none and striking out five in a 4-0 victory. Prior to that, the right-hander held Tampa Bay to three runs (two earned) in six innings, getting a no-decision in the Cardinals’ 5-4 home win. Prior to winning those last two games, St. Louis had gone 1-5 in Lohse’s previous six trips to the mound.

Lohse is 2-1 with a 3.48 ERA in seven home starts, with the Cardinals posting just a 3-4 record. He’s also just 2-4 with a 3.51 ERA in six lifetime appearances (five starts) against Houston. However, one of the victories came on April 27 at home, when he limited the Astros to a run on four hits in six innings of a 5-1 victory.

The under is 4-2-1 in Lohse’s seven starts at home, 4-2 in Oswalt’s six outings on the road and 7-3 in Oswalt’s last 10 starts versus the Cardinals, including 3-0 in the last three overall. Additionally, 11 of Oswalt’s last 12 starts at Busch Stadium – including the last five in a row – have stayed under the total.

For Houston, the under is on streaks of 8-3 overall, 9-3 in division games, 12-6-1 on the highway and 36-18-2 against winning teams. For the Cardinals, the under runs include 5-2 overall, 6-2-1 against winning teams and 36-15-1 on Thursdays. Finally, the under is 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head meetings overall and 5-1 in the last six clashes at Busch Stadium.



Chicago White Sox (28-23) at Tampa Bay (32-21)

Two of the hottest teams in the American League kick off a four-game series at Tropicana Field, with the Rays’ Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.47) matching up against Chicago’s John Danks (3-4, 3.00) for the second time this season.

Chicago arrives in Tampa Bay after taking two of three from the archrival Indians in Cleveland, capped by Wednesday’s 6-5 victory. The White Sox are 11-3 in their last 14 games, including 7-1 on the road. They’re also 6-1 in their last seven as an underdog and 4-0 in their last four on Thursday.

Tampa Bay continued its winning ways with Wednesday's 5-3 home win over Texas. The Rays are 14-5 in their last 19 games overall, including 11-2 at the Trop. In fact, they’ve won 17 of their last 19 home games, and their 21-9 home record is the best in the American League and second-best in baseball. Additionally, Tampa is on streaks of 6-0 on Thursday, 7-0 in series-openers and 7-1 as a favorite.

This is Chicago’s second trip to the Trop, having taken two of three in mid-April, with the two victories coming by margins of 9-2 and 6-0, with Danks outdueling Jackson in the latter contest. The White Sox have won seven of the last eight against the Rays, going 6-1 in Tampa Bay during this stretch.

Danks has been rock solid almost the entire season, giving up two earned runs or fewer in eight of his 10 starts, while allowing just three runs in another. In his most recent outing on Saturday against the Angels, he gave up two runs on five hits in five innings, but was saddled with the 2-0 loss. Despite the southpaw’s impressive numbers, Chicago is just 2-4 in his last six outings.

Danks has been especially good on the road, going 1-1 with a 1.76 ERA in five contests. The victory came at Tampa Bay on April 20, as he pitched seven scoreless innings, yielding just three hits and no walks with eight strikeouts in seven innings. His only other start against the Rays also came at Tropicana Field last June, and he surrendered four runs on four hits in five innings, earning a 5-4 victory.

Jackson scored his first victory since April 10 – a span of eight starts – on Saturday, holding Baltimore to three runs on four hits and five walks in five innings en route to an 11-4 home win. Even though the right-hander hasn’t had much to show for it, he’s posted a 1.42 ERA in his last four starts, with Tampa Bay going 3-1.

Jackson is 3-2 with a 3.72 ERA in six home starts, with the Rays going 3-0 in his last three outings in Tampa. In fact, Jackson’s last home loss came against Danks and the Pale Hose in that April 20 contest, with Jackson yielding all six runs in just 4 1/3 innings. He also gave up four runs on nine hits in six innings in Tampa’s 5-4 loss at Chicago last August, giving him an 8.71 career ERA against the White Sox.

The under is 7-1 in Danks’ last eight starts overall, 5-1 in his last six on the road and 4-0 in his last four on Thursdays. Also, the under is 14-5-1 in Jackson’s last 20 efforts overall, 10-1 in his last 11 at home and 4-1 in his last five versus the A.L. Central.

The White Sox followed up a 10-2 “under” streak by topping the total in all three games in Cleveland, and the over is 4-0 in their last four on the highway. However, the under for Chicago is on streaks of 11-4 as an underdog, 8-0 on artificial turf, 5-0 against the A.L. East, 7-2-1 on Thursdays and 15-7 against right-handed starters. Also, for the Rays, the under is on streaks of 7-3-1 against the A.L. Central and 7-0 at home against lefty starters.

Finally, the under is 7-1 in the last eight series meetings between these two, including 6-1 in the last seven clashes at Tropicana Field.



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Baseball Today

Pittsburgh at Cincinnati (7:10 p.m. EDT). The Reds try for their 10th straight win at home.


-Matt Garza, Rays, gave up two runs and four hits in eight innings of a 5-3 win over the Rangers. He struck out 10 with two walks to improve to 4-1.

-Adam Wainwright, Cardinals, gave up a run on a walk and three hits over eight innings in a 6-1 win over Houston. He also struck out eight.

- Chase Utley, Phillies, hit his major league-leading 17th homer and Philadelphia beat Colorado 6-1.

-Jason Giambi, Yankees, homered and drove in a pair of runs in a 4-2 win over Baltimore.

-Jeff Suppan, Brewers, scattered five walks and four hits over eight innings, striking out seven in a 1-0 victory over the Braves.

-Chase Utley, Phillies, hit his major league-leading 17th homer, a three-run shot that powered Philadelphia to a 6-1 victory over Colorado.


Kansas City blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning against Minnesota to lose its 10th straight. The skid started when the Royals were no-hit by Boston's Jon Lester on May 19 in Fenway Park, and is their longest since a 13-game slide May 12-25, 2006. The current streak includes four-game sweeps at Boston and Toronto.


Albert Pujols drew his major league-leading 13th intentional walk in the first inning of a 6-1 win over Houston, and walked on six pitches in the third. He's walked 45 times this season.


The Giants spoiled Doug Davis' homecoming Wednesday night with a 11-3 rout of Arizona. Davis was making his second start of the season and first at home since returning from surgery to remove his cancerous thyroid gland.


Andy Pettitte gave up two runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings in the Yankees' 4-2 win over Baltimore, improving to 24-6 lifetime against the Orioles. The left-hander is 15-4 in Baltimore, by far the winningest visiting pitcher in Camden Yards history.


The Rockies are a season-worst 13 games under .500 after a 6-1 loss in Philadelphia. The defending NL champions, who swept Philadelphia in the division series last October, have been decimated by injuries this season.


Red Sox pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka is auctioning off a sushi dinner for five - including him and his wife, Tomoyo - to benefit a children's charity, Good Sports. The opening bid for the eBay auction that runs through June 7 was $1,000. A translator will be provided.


The AL Central-leading White Sox have won five of six against Cleveland in a nine-game span and 11 of 14 overall. With its 6-5 win over the Indians on Wednesday, Chicago has beat Cleveland exactly 1,000 times.


Tampa Bay closer Troy Percival limped off the mound with tightness in his left hamstring during a win over Texas. ... The Yankees placed right-hander Ian Kennedy on the disabled list with a strained muscle near his right ribcage. He also has bursitis in his right shoulder blade. ... Indians DH Travis Hafner was out of the starting lineup for third straight game because of an injured right shoulder. ... The Blue Jays placed Gregg Zaun on the 15-day disabled list with a mild strain and inflammation in his right elbow.


``Too many babies here. They don't know how to play the game and win the game right, the way it's supposed to be played. And that's the problem here. Now I know why this organization's been losing for a while. Now I know.'' - Royals outfielder Jose Guillen after Kansas City blew a five-run lead in the ninth inning of a 9-8, 10-inning loss to Minnesota.

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Thursday's MLB Tip Sheet
By Brad Young

Thursday is a travel day for Major League Baseball, with only three American League games scheduled. There are seven National League contests also occurring before teams travel to their next destination. Now let’s take a look at four of Thursday’s top contests.

**Dodgers (Penny) at Mets (Vargas)**

-Caesars Palace installed New York as a $1.15 home ‘chalk’ over Los Angeles, with the total set at nine ‘under’ (minus $1.20). First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

-Los Angeles pitcher Brad Penny (5-5, 5.32 ERA) dropped to 0-3 his last four starts with Saturday’s setback to St. Louis as a $1.40 home favorite, 4-0. The right-hander surrendered four runs on four hits with two walks and five strikeouts over seven innings.

-The four runs failed to topple the 8½-run closing total, ending a string that saw the ‘over’ go 7-1 his previous eight outings.

-The 30-year-old fell to the Mets May 7 as a $1.15 home ‘chalk,’ 12-1, going just 4 2/3 innings while being reached for 10 runs on 10 hits with three walks and two strikeouts. The combined 13 runs eclipsed the 8½-run closing total.

-New York counters with right-hander Claudio Vargas (1-2, 3.93 ERA), who is fresh off his first victory of the year at Colorado Saturday as a $1.25 road underdog, 9-2. The Dominican Republic native tossed seven innings, yielding both runs on four hits (one home run) with a walk and three strikeouts.

-The combined 11 runs went ‘over’ the 10-run closing total, ending back-to-back ‘under’ outings for the 29-year-old.

-Vargas, a six-year veteran, has not started against the Dodgers the past few seasons.

**Astros (Oswalt) at Cardinals (Lohse)**

-Caesars Palace opened St. Louis as a $1.10 home favorite over Houston, with the total listed at 8½ ‘over’ (minus $1.20). This National League Central contest is scheduled to begin at 8:15 p.m. ET.

-Houston hurler Roy Oswalt (4-4, 5.61 ERA) escaped with a no-decision in Thursday’s meeting with Philadelphia. The 30-year-old was tagged for five runs on 11 hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts over six innings.

-The Astros eventually dropped that affair as a $1.20 home ‘chalk,’ 7-5, while the combined 12 runs toppled the 9½-run closing total. The ‘over/under’ has alternated his previous nine starts.

-Oswalt received a no-decision against the Cardinals April 26 after going six innings, surrendering three runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. The Astros eventually dropped that contest as a $1.10 road underdog, 4-3, while the combined seven runs went ‘under’ the eight-run closing total.

-St. Louis pitcher Kyle Lohse (4-2, 4.26 ERA) blanked Los Angeles Saturday as a $1.30 road underdog, 4-0. The 6-foot-2 hurler tossed six scoreless innings on six hits with no walks and five strikeouts.

-The four runs never seriously threatened the 8 ½-run closing total, ending a 3-0-1 ‘over’ streak his previous four outings.

-Lohse beat the Astros April 27 as a $1.45 home favorite, 5-1, going six innings while yielding the lone run on four hits with a walk and three strikeouts. The combined six runs went ‘under’ the nine-run closing total.

**White Sox (Danks) at Rays (Jackson)**

-Caesars Palace lists Tampa Bay as a $1.30 home ‘chalk’ over Chicago, with the total set at 8½ ‘under’ (minus $1.20). This American League tilt is slated to start at 7:10 p.m. ET.

-Chicago southpaw John Danks (3-4, 3.00 ERA) heads to the hill for the first time since Saturday’s setback to Los Angeles as a $1.08 home favorite, 2-0. The two-year veteran went five innings, allowing both runs on five hits (one home run) with two walks and four strikeouts.

-The two runs never seriously threatened the 8 ½-run closing total, enabling the ‘under’ to improve to 8-2 his 10 starts.

-Danks beat the Rays April 20 as a $1.10 road underdog, 6-0, pitching seven scoreless innings on three hits with no walks and eight strikeouts. The six runs failed to topple the 9 ½-run closing total.

-Tampa Bay’s Edwin Jackson (3-3, 3.47 ERA) upended Baltimore Saturday as a $1.68 home favorite, 11-4. The 24-year-old went five innings while being reached for three runs on four hits (one home run) with five walks and two strikeouts.

-The combined 15 runs soared ‘over’ the 9 ½-run closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 3-1-1 his last five starts.

-The right-hander fell to Danks and the White Sox April 20, surrendering six runs on seven hits (one home run) with three walks and four strikeouts over just 4 1/3 innings.

**Twins (Slowey) at Royals (Hochevar)**

-Caesars Palace installed Kansas City as a $1.15 home favorite over Minnesota, with the total listed at 8½. This AL Central contest is scheduled to begin at 8:10 p.m. ET.

-Minnesota pitcher Kevin Slowey (1-4, 4.21 ERA) ended a personal four-game losing skid by beating Detroit Friday as a $1.40 road underdog, 9-4. The Winthrop product tossed six scoreless innings on four hits with three walks and two strikeouts.

-The combined 13 runs went ‘over’ the 9½-run closing total after the ‘under’ cashed his first four starts.

-Slowey, a two-year veteran, has not started against the Royals in his brief major league career.

-Kansas City right-hander Luke Hochevar (3-4, 4.54 ERA) has suffered back-to-back losses after Saturday’s setback to Toronto as a $1.30 road underdog, 6-0. The former Tennessee Volunteer went six innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on six hits (one home run) with four walks and four strikeouts.

-The six runs failed to eclipse the eight-run closing total, enabling the ‘under’ to improve to 6-1 for the 24-year-old.

-Hochevar, a two-year veteran, has never started against the Twins in his brief major league career.

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