Royals-Devil Rays
KANSAS CITY: RHP Gil Meche, who has been bothered by back discomfort recently, is ready to resume a full-scale running and weightlifting program. ``My bad feels good,'' Meche said after pitching six-plus innings Monday. ... 3B Alex Gordon was back in the lineup after being rested Sunday and went 0-for-4. He is hitless in 18 at-bats, which has dropped his batting average to .172. ... RHP Joakim Soria (right shoulder inflammation) could be ready to be activated from the 15-day disabled list Thursday. ... RHP Luke Hochevar, taken first overall in the 2006 amateur draft, allowed one run in 5 2-3 innings for Double-A Wichita on Sunday.
consecutive successful save attempts to start the season to 14.
Yankees-White Sox
NEW YORK: Johnny Damon has been working out at first base, but manager Joe Torre said he won't play there anytime soon. ``It's not that we don't think he can handle it,'' he said. ``At this point, for him to play first, you'd have to find someone who'd be better-suited to DH. Right now, we don't have that person.'' Jason Giambi is out with a foot injury. Doug Mientkiewicz went on the disabled list Monday with a broken right wrist. That leaves Josh Phelps at first with Miguel Cairo as the backup. ... Torre said 3B Alex Rodriguez is due for a day off or a turn at DH soon. Rodriguez hit a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch from Jonathan Papelbon with two out in the ninth inning Sunday to lift the Yankees to a 6-5 victory over Boston. That came after a tumultuous week. Photos of the married slugger with a blonde woman were printed and he yelled something as he passed by two Blue Jays infielders, causing one of them to back off and let the ball drop. ``I've never been around a player who's had to deal with more issues,'' Torre said. ``I think sometimes it's unfair. The characterization about the popup: If Alex was the one that let that popup drop, he would have been the center of attention.''
CHICAGO: Looking to spark a slumping offense, manager Ozzie Guillen shook up the batting order on Monday. Paul Konerko, who is batting .218 with seven homers and 26 RBIs, was moved to the sixth spot and Joe Crede, hitting .221 with four home runs and 21 RBIs, batted ninth. ``I want to take the pressure away from them,'' Guillen said. ... The White Sox shook up their struggling bullpen Monday, optioning Mike MacDougal and David Aardsma to Triple-A Charlotte while purchasing the contracts of pitchers Ryan Bukvich and Bret Prinz from the minor league club. They also transferred utility player Pablo Ozuna from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. He has a fracture in his lower right leg and a shoulder injury. ... With his team 25-27 entering Monday's game, general manager Ken Williams is exploring his options. ``It's not too soon for me to make phone calls and inquires,'' Williams said. ``I'm a little less patient person than most. I've started to make calls.'' Williams added that he is not interested in acquiring prospects for players in the final year of their contracts.
Red Sox-Athletics
ut two with just 21 pitches. ``We really wanted him to throw another inning,'' Boston manager Terry Francona said. ``The thought is to bring him back in a couple of days. I know there's some frustration on his part ... but it's the right thing to do.'' ... 2B Dustin Pedroia was in the right place to celebrate winning the AL Rookie of the Month award. Pedroia is a native on Woodland, Calif., about 80 miles from Oakland near Sacramento. ``I was here last year for a few games, but it's definitely exciting for my family and me,'' said Pedroia, who batted .415 with two homers and nine RBIs in May. He left 15 tickets for family, but many more friends went online to buy tickets. ... The Red Sox didn't get to their Bay Area hotel until 5:30 a.m. after losing to the Yankees in Boston on Sunday night. Naturally, this schedule quirk didn't sit well with Francona. ``The schedule, the way it is and with interleague play, we're not going to be able to field our (best) nine guys much on this trip,'' the manager said. ``That's just a fact. I'm probably going to have to sit Manny (Ramirez) when he has a good matchup against a great pitcher. I don't see any way around it. ... I would think at some point (major league baseball) would re-examine their thinking behind this and change it. That's a thought I had about 4:30 a.m.''
OAKLAND: RHP Rich Harden threw from 150 feet on Sunday, taking another small step in his return from a strained right shoulder. A's manager Bob Geren is optimistic Harden could be back on the roster in two weeks, though he probably would be in the bullpen while Oakland debates whether to return the injury-prone hurler to the rotation. ``If everything wen perfectly, he might be ready for an inning against St. Louis (June 15-17).'' ... Closer Huston Street did some agility drills Monday, and will begin a throwing program Wednesday in his return from an irritated nerve. ... OF Milton Bradley is day-to-day with a strained right calf. He wasn't in Monday's lineup.
thing. The fact that I'm a possible free agent is nothing to stress about. That's actually fun, because a lot of teams want you. I'm just playing the best way I know how, and I'm healthy. Don't forget - I hit 31 and 98 last year unhealthy.''
LOS ANGELES: RHP Justin Speier, who had to cut his minor league rehab assignment short because a recurrence of symptoms from an intestinal virus that has sidelined the reliever since April 30, threw a simulated game Monday at Angel Stadium. ``He's staying as close as he can to being ready,'' manager Mike Scioscia said. ``So when he feels like his strength is there and he's ready to go, I don't think it will be a huge jump to get him to be able to be able to pitch in a major league game for us.''
SAN FRANCISCO: Barry Zito has not allowed an earned run in 16 innings. ... SS Omar Vizquel didn't start Monday because of a sinus infection. ... Catcher Bengie Molina said he's ``embarrassed'' by the team's 27-29 record. ``I hope other guys are too. Hopefully we can start winning some games now,'' he said. Molina was 8-for-22 on the road trip. He's batting .320. ... Matt Cain (2-5) takes the mound at Arizona on Tuesday night.
PHILADELPHIA: Jimmy Rollins had his 23rd multi-hit game of the season, including his third of three hits or more. ... Reliever Yoel Hernandez had his scoreless innings streak snapped at seven. ... The Phillies are 15-15 at home, 13-14 on the road. ... Jamie Moyer (5-4) opposes Tom Glavine on Tuesday night at Shea Stadium. It's the second time the two veteran left-handers faces each other this season. ... The Phillies are 2-7 when Jon Lieber starts. Manager Charlie Manuel said they have no plans to put Lieber back in the bullpen.
FLORIDA: The Marlins will juggle their pitching staff to work around Tuesday's doubleheader. RHP Sergio Mitre will start the first game, even though he's still hampered by a strained right hamstring from his last start. If Mitre is knocked out early and the Marlins are forced to use several relievers, they might make two roster moves before the nightcap. The already are planning to activate Rick Vanden Hurk to start Game 2. Another minor league pitcher will be at Turner Field, ready to step in if needed. Manager Fredi Gonzalez wants Mitre to be extra careful when he hits. ``I'm going to tell him if there's nobody on (base), don't even swing the bat,'' Gonzalez said.
he Cubs, but wound up settling for a stint in the bullpen. Manager Bobby Cox hasn't settled on an alternative plan if Smoltz can't go. Another fill-in, Buddy Carlyle, already is scheduled to start the first game of the doubleheader. ``We'll piece it together,'' Cox said. ... In a sign of things to come, Jarrod Saltalamacchia was taking grounders at first base during batting practice. Manager Bobby Cox plans to try the rookie catcher at a new position, which would get him more at-bats and give Scott Thorman an occasional day off. Since cutting Craig Wilson, the Braves have lacked a true backup at first. ---
DODGERS: Closer Takashi Saito will be out a minimum of two to three days with tightness in his left hamstring and may miss the three-game series in San Diego that starts Tuesday. ... With the Dodgers, Padres and Diamondbacks competing for the NL West lead, manager Grady Little said he doesn't need to remind his players of the importance of division games. But he also doesn't want to overemphasize games in early June, with two-thirds of the season remaining. ... RHP Jason Schmidt, out since mid-April with right shoulder bursitis, starts Tuesday night in San Diego. Because the Dodgers didn't anticipate getting home until the middle of the night following their Monday night game in Pittsburgh, Schmidt flew to San Diego on Monday.
PIRATES: Pirates closer Matt Capps' appeal of his four-game suspension for hitting the Brewers' Prince Fielder with a pitch will be Friday. Salomon Torres will be the closer while Capps is out, despite blowing each of his last two save opportunities. Manager Jim Tracy said, ``We need Salomon Torres, point blank. With over 100 games left, we need Salomon Torres, it's that simple.'' ... Tracy is concerned about the Pirates' inability at times to put away games. They couldn't hold a six-run lead on May 19 at home against Arizona, losing 9-8, and they wasted a four-run lead in the late innings of a 5-4 loss to Los Angeles on Sunday. They also lost a 2-0 lead Thursday at home against San Diego and went on to lose 3-2 in 11 innings. Tracy said, ``You certainly have to win your fair share of them. The trickle-down effect can be detrimental to a ballclub.''
CHICAGO: Chicago's three-game series with Milwaukee will be its only series against a division opponent until a three-game set at Wrigley Field against the Brewers June 29-July 1. The Cubs play 18 straight games outside of their division from Thursday to June 27. ... Chicago plays Milwaukee 15 times this season, with 12 of the games before the All-Star Break. ... This series is the last time the Cubs will visit Milwaukee this season.
MILWAUKEE: Prince Fielder was named National League player of the month for May after he hit .321 with 13 homers and 28 RBI. He is the second Brewers' player to win the award since the squad joined the N.L. in 1998. Jeromy Burnitz won the award in June 1999. ... Milwaukee has the lowest winning percentage of any division leader but owns the second-largest lead of any division leader. Only Boston has a bigger lead.

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