Red Sox-Blue Jays
BOSTON: Manager Terry Francona said RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka occasionally ``tries to be too quick'' when pitching from the stretch position, leading to a lack of control. Matsuzaka, who will pitch Wednesday, worked a season-low five innings in his last outing, allowing seven runs and five hits, walking seven. Matsuzaka will face fellow countryman RHP Tomo Ohka on Wednesday in the first matchup between Japanese hurlers since June 19, 2002, when Ohka, pitching for Montreal, beat Kansas City's Mac Suzuki. ... The Red Sox bullpen has converted 13 of 14 save opportunities this season, the best in the major leagues. Four Boston relievers have earned saves so far (Okajima, Papelbon, Romero and Timlin).
ff. ... 2B Aaron Hill dropped back to the seventh spot in the lineup on Tuesday after going 0-13 in three games as Toronto's leadoff hitter. OF Alex Rios returned to the leadoff spot. ... RHP Brandon League (sore shoulder) will throw off the mound within the next couple of days, moving him closer to pitching in a game for class-A Dunedin.
Devil Rays-Orioles
TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays bolstered their bullpen with the addition of RHPs Chad Orvella and Tim Corcoran from Triple-A Durham. They replace RHP Ruddy Lugo, who was optioned to Durham after Sunday's game, and RHP Juan Salas, suspended 50 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Manager Joe Maddon said both newcomers would be used in sixth- and seventh-inning situations to take advantage of their effectiveness against both left- and right-handed hitters. ``We're back at full strength in the bullpen and we're going to move on,'' Maddon said. ... 2B B.J. Upton continues to lead the A.L. with a .371 average. At 22 years, 8 months, he is the youngest player in the majors to be leading his team in hitting.
activated Wednesday. ... A CT scan on LHP Adam Loewen's left elbow performed Monday showed no additional damage beyond the stress fracture that forced him to the DL on May 4. Orioles Vice President Jim Duquette said Loewen's rehabilitation program would continue and that films of the test would be forwarded to surgeons for review. ... RHP Sean Tracey cleared waivers, was taken off the Orioles' 40-man roster and assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Tracey was claimed on waivers from the White Sox in spring training. Baltimore's roster now stands at 39.
White Sox-Twins
CHICAGO: DH Jim Thome (ribs) is eyeing a return for the Yankees series, which begins on May 15. Thome went on the DL on April 28 and will likely start a rehab assignment on Thursday, manager Ozzie Guillen said. ``He has to,'' Guillen said. ``I want him to get some at-bats.'' ... SS Juan Uribe is scheduled to return to the lineup on Wednesday after missing four games to tend to his ailing mother. ... GM Ken Williams on those calling for hitting coach Greg Walker's ouster: ``I haven't even thought about it, and the only person that could change my mind ... is the guy that Greg works directly for and that's Ozzie. And he hasn't even brought it up.''
MINNESOTA: With AL batting champ Joe Mauer on the DL, Torii Hunter has taken over for him in the third spot in the batting order. Hunter entered the game with a 21-game hitting streak and a .345 batting average. He said he likes hitting in front of Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau. In his usual No. 6 spot, there isn't as much pop behind him. ``I'll be that used car in the third hole until Mauer gets back,'' Hunter said. ... Jason Tyner was moved up to the No. 2 spot and Nick Punto slid down to eighth because manager Ron Gardenhire thought Tyner was a better matchup against White Sox starter Javier Vazquez. ... The injuries keep piling up for the Twins. Gardenhire said he'll need to have surgery on his achy left knee in the near future to ``clean it up.''
DETROIT: RP Joel Zumaya visited the clubhouse, one day before he is scheduled to fly to New York for surgery on his pitching hand. Zumaya ruptured the flexor tendon in his middle finger while warming up Saturday night in Kansas City, and is expected to miss three months. ``It's going to be boring,'' he said. ``I hate that I won't be able to put the uniform on again until at least July.'' ... Many of the Tigers spent Monday's off-day at the Pistons-Bulls playoff game, but 3B Brandon Inge wasn't among them. ``The last thing I want to do on a day off is go to another sporting event,'' he said. ``I spent the day playing with my kid.''
SEATTLE: SP Felix Hernandez threw a simulated game Tuesday, and Seattle manager Mike Hargrove was encouraged by the results. ``He threw the ball pretty well,'' Hargrove said. ``He threw all his pitches.'' Hernandez is scheduled to throw a bullpen session later this week, and the Mariners hope to have him back in the rotation around May 15. ... 1B Richie Sexson's first inning homer was his 12th extra-base hit of the season, as opposed to only three singles. ... SP Horacio Ramirez, who blew an early 5-0 lead by allowing five runs in the second inning of his last start, had similar problems Tuesday in Detroit. The Mariners scored three times in the top of the first, but Ramirez allowed four second-inning doubles as the Tigers tied the score.
OAKLAND: The A's have outscored the opposition 20-4 in the first inning. ... RHP Dan Haren, who starts on Wednesday, is 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA in three career starts against the Royals. Haren's night ERA is 2.42, which ranks sixth in the American League, and a 1.33 ERA on the road, which ranks third in the AL. ... The Athletics have used seven different left fielders and seven different center fileders. Last year, the A's used six left fielders and four center fielders the entire season. Chris Snelling made his third start in center on Tuesday. ... C Jason Kendall is the son of Royals bullpen coach Fred Kendall.
KANSAS CITY: RHP Zack Greinke, who was 0-2 with a 12.00 ERA in two May starts, has been sent to the bullpen. ...RF Mark Teahen singled in the first to extend his hitting streak to eight games. ...RHP Scott Elarton, who had shoulder surgery last Aug. 1, made his fifth minor league rehab start on Monday, throwing 105 pitches in 5 2-3 innings for Double-A Wichita. He allowed four hits and two runs in the victory over Tulsa, walking five and striking out three. ``As long as I'm ready to throw 100 pitches, I think that's where I need to be,'' Elarton said. ``Physically, I feel ready. I'm going to let them know that.'' ... 1B Ryan Shealy, out with a strained left hamstring, took early batting practice with no problems, but has not yet run since going on the disabled list on May 1. ... RHP Octavio Dotel, who is on the DL with a left oblique strain, threw 23 pitches in batting practice Tuesday with Triple-A Omaha.
c Gagne (sore hip) came off the DL and immediately returned to his role as closer, Washington said. To make room on the roster, RHP Wes Littleton was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma.
NEW YORK: Alex Rodriguez hit a two-run homer, his 15th of the season and first in 47 at-bats since April 23 at Tampa Bay. ... RF Bobby Abreu was dropped from third to seventh in the batting order. ``That'll be short-term,'' manager Joe Torre said. Abreu entered batting .256 with one home run and four doubles this season. He also was tied for the team lead with 27 strikeouts. ``He's fighting himself right now, but we'll get him back up there,'' Torre said. DH Jason Giambi was moved from fifth to the No. 3 spot. Abreu singled his first time up, then grounded out and struck out. ... RHP Mike Mussina gets the ball Wednesday night, his second start since coming off the disabled list. He will probably be held to about 85 pitches, Torre said. ``His game is all about control,'' Torre said. ``If he was that sharp the first time out, I don't expect him to take a step backward.'' ... 2B Robinson Cano grounded out his first two times up, leaving him in slides of 1-for-21 and 6-for-42. ``He is just in-between,'' Torre said. ``Right now, inexperience is showing up.'' Cano then hit an RBI double in the fifth off LHP Ron Mahay.
CLEVELAND: The first time the Indians and Angels played in early April, the three-game series was moved to Milwaukee because of snow in Cleveland. It was just the opposite Tuesday when temperatures hit the upper 90s in Anaheim. ... RHP Paul Byrd will start Wednesday night. He is 3-0 with a 4.15 ERA in five career starts against the Angels. ... RF Trot Nixon returned to action Tuesday after getting a career-high five hits and four RBIs against Baltimore on Sunday. He brought an AL-leading .436 road average into the series against the Angels.
LOS ANGELES: RHP Bartolo Colon is questionable to make his next scheduled start Saturday at Texas. He left the game Sunday with a mild strain of his right triceps. Colon said he has felt a similar discomfort in the past and pitched through it. Manager Mike Scioscia said Colon won't throw again until Thursday. ``We'll know one way or the other by Friday,'' he said. ... RHP Justin Speier went on the 15-day DL on Tuesday retroactive to April 30 because of what the team called a medical condition unrelated to baseball. Speier said Sunday that he had flu-like symptoms. ``It doesn't seem like he's going to be available to pitch here this series,'' Scioscia said, referring to a three-game set with the Cleveland Indians that ends Thursday.
HOUSTON: LHP Rick White could rejoin the Astros when they return to Houston on Friday to open a homestand, manager Phil Garner said. The reliever allowed a run on three hits with a strikeout in two innings during his second rehab appearance with Double-A Corpus Christi on Monday. He went on the disabled list on April 24 with a strained left oblique. ... Garner likes rookie OF Hunter Pence's approach to the game. ``He wants to be a complete player,'' Garner said. ``He'll improve quickly, because he's willing to look at himself honestly and correct mistakes.'' ... RHP Fernando Nieve had reconstructive elbow surgery Tuesday to repair a partially torn ligament.
CINCINNATI: LHP Eddie Guardado reported normal soreness Tuesday, the day after throwing 20 fastballs to batters for the first time since having reconstructive elbow surgery last September. ``It feels great, just like a regular outing,'' he said. Guardado, who is eligible to come off the disabled list on May 31, expected to throw 20-to-25 breaking balls off the mound Wednesday. ... With the Reds scheduled to face left-handers Friday and Sunday, manager Jerry Narron was hoping to give OF Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn each a day off. ... IF Jerry Gil had reconstructive right elbow surgery on Tuesday. Gil played in 17 spring training games for the Reds.
SAN DIEGO: 1B Adrian Gonzalez celebrated his 25th birthday Tuesday, one day after hitting his ninth homer. He shares the NL lead with 29 RBIs and is hitting .298. ``At 25, coming into this stage of his life, as far as maturity and understanding what it takes to be a major league player, I think his performance has been extremely good,'' manager Bud Black said. ``I think he's one of the top young hitters in the game.'' ... Closer Trevor Hoffman has 950 strikeouts with the Padres, one shy of tying Eric Show for second on the team's career list.
ATLANTA: The team cut LHP Steve Colyer to clear a roster spot for Anthony Lerew. Colyer was designated for assignment to Triple-A Richmond and has 10 days to decide if he will accept the assignment. Colyer was 0-1 with a 4.91 ERA. ... On Wednesday night, RHP John Smoltz will face former longtime teammate Greg Maddux for the first time since 1992. Smoltz is 2-1 in three starts against Maddux with the Chicago Cubs. ... SS Edgar Renteria was back in the lineup after missing one game with flu symptoms.
in his last four games and was batting .385 in the first seven games of a nine-game trip (10-for-26) with eight RBIs. ``He's swinging the bat reminiscent of what we saw from 1999-2004,'' Hurdle said. ``The home runs, they'll happen because he's got such a good swing. He's in a real solid place.''
ST. LOUIS: Manager Tony La Russa had Chris Duncan batting cleanup for the first time, after being in the second slot all season, in an effort to spark the offense. La Russa's initial lineup card had Jim Edmonds batting second and Ryan Ludwick sixth, and he flipped those two several hours before game time to separate his left-handed bats. La Russa has been reluctant to move Duncan, who was batting .320. ``But when you play for a month and the runs aren't on the board, you need to do something,'' La Russa said. ... La Russa indicated OF Juan Encarnacion, who's batting .167 (8-for-48) with four RBIs on a rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield, was not very close to being ready. ``He needs to heat up a lot,'' La Russa said. ``He doesn't need to come up here and struggle. That's not what we need.''
LOS ANGELES: Rookie 3B Andy LaRoche was back in the starting lineup Tuesday. He left Monday's game in the eighth inning after being hit by a pitch on the right hand. X-rays were negative.
FLORIDA: 1B Mike Jacobs was held out of the starting lineup Tuesday with a sore right thumb, and he said he may miss Wednesday's game, too. He hurt his thumb April 20 and said he may be nursing the injury all season. ``I'm going to have to keep an eye on it, and when it starts getting sore maybe take a day off,'' he said. ... Through Monday, the Marlins ranked ahead of four other teams in home attendance, including first-place Cleveland. Florida attendance was up 27 percent over last year's average to 18,254. ... The Marlins expect RHP Jorge Julio to resume the closer's role at some point, manager Fredi Gonzalez said. Pitching for the first time coming off the disabled list, Julio threw two shutout innings Monday to lower his ERA to 14.09. ... LHP Dontrelle Willis, scheduled to pitch Wednesday against the Dodgers, is 1-4 in five starts against them with a 7.66 ERA. They've hit .327 against him.
ump in his last six games.
CHICAGO: Cubs manager Lou Piniella is happy about the Cubs recent winning streak, but he still remains cautious and looks for improvement from his players. ``We've been playing good baseball and winning some close games, which to me is very important early in the year, one, two-run ballgames, they give your team confidence and I think that is the best thing that has happened to us,'' Piniella said. Before Tuesday night's game, the Cubs have won a season-high five straight games and eight of their last nine. ``Now, I have said it before and I will say it again, let's not get giggly with this little run we're having, we got to continue to improve and play better baseball because the rest of the teams that we will be playing will get better themselves.'' ... 1B Derrek Lee is hitting .414 and has extra-base hits in nine of his last 11 games with a .511 average. He leads the majors in hitting, 25 points ahead of Colorado's Todd Helton.
he ninth inning. Manuel said he expects Howard to be back in the lineup against the Chicago Cubs on Friday night in Philadelphia. ... LHP Jamie Moyer has pitched in 577 major league games but has faced the Arizona Diamondbacks only once - with Seattle on June 28, 1998. Moyer allowed two earned runs in seven innings and didn't receive a decision.
ARIZONA - 2B Orlando Hudson's streak of reaching base ended at 33 straight games Monday night. It's the third-longest streak in club history. Hudson hit .333 during the streak with a .397 on-base percentage. ... RHP Juan Cruz, who is out with a triceps injury, was scheduled to throw 35 pitches in a game at Triple-A Tucson on Tuesday night. ... OF Eric Byrnes batted fifth against the Phillies Tuesday night. Byrnes has led off and batted second, fourth and fifth. ``He's kind of a Band-Aid for us,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ... LHP Randy Johnson makes his fourth start Wednesday afternoon. Johnson (0-2, 6.50 ERA) has allowed 22 hits, including five homers, in 18 innings. He also has 19 strikeouts.
put right-hander Chad Cordero on the Bereavement List. The Nationals also designated infielder Josh Wilson for assignment. Simontacchi's last start was Sept. 2, 2003, at Wrigley Field. He was 1-1 with a 5.91 ERA in two starts with Columbus. He missed the 2005 season recovering from right-shoulder surgery and played in the independent Atlantic League last year. Batista hit .290 with seven doubles, six home runs and 22 RBI in 30 games with Columbus.
MILWAUKEE: The Brewers entered the game with a 5 1/2-game lead in the NL Central. The last time Milwaukee had such a large lead with when the team led the A.L. East by 5 1/2 games on August 29, 1982. The franchise record is 6 1/2 games, set Aug. 27, 1982. Milwaukee has not lost consecutive games since April 4-7. RHP Claudio Vargas (3-0), who will start Wednesday, has thrown 12 consecutive scoreless innings and the club is 5-0 in his starts. Gabe Gross made his sixth start in right field.

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