Red Sox-Braves
BOSTON: With a lefty (Chuck James) on the mound for Atlanta and the DH not being used, the Red Sox had to sit one of their most dangerous hitters. David Ortiz (.333, 11 HRs, 43 RBIs) was the odd man out in the DH shuffle. ``It's hard not to write his name in there,'' manager Terry Francona said. ``If something happens, if somebody gets hit in the elbow, those things change.'' Right-handed hitter Kevin Youkilis, who was batting .332 with eight homers and 35 RBIs, started at first base. Francona said he talked over the lineup with bench coach Brad Mills on the flight to Atlanta, and made sure to tell Ortiz and Youkilis before the plane landed. ``Just so they know what to expect,'' Francona said. ``Because they play every day and one of them can't play, so I want to make sure they understand, so they can prepare.'' ... The Red Sox released LHP J.C. Romero after designating him for assignment earlier this month. Romero went 1-0 with a 3.15 ERA in 23 games before he was dropped from the roster to make room for RHP Mike Timlin.
ATLANTA: While 3B Chipper Jones prefers to hit third, he can't complain about batting cleanup. LF Willie Harris has been one of the Braves' hottest hitters, so he was in the second slot, and SS Edgar Renteria slid to third. ``You want to take advantage of the guys who are swinging the bat well,'' said Jones, who batted cleanup for only the fourth time all season. ``Obviously, I'd rather hit third, but I'm not complaining about hitting fourth when those guys are swinging that good. It's another bullet in the holster.'' ... The Braves plan to stick with their five-man rotation, even with an off day coming up on Thursday. That's good news for struggling RHP Kyle Davies, who could have been skipped during a weekend series against Detroit.
old Verlander.
WASHINGTON: OF Brandon Watson's 43-game hitting streak at Triple-A Columbus, an International League record, has drawn notice from the Nationals' brass. But manager Manny Acta said there are no plans to recall Watson, who hit .176 in 34 games from 2005-06. ``We haven't talked about it, but that doesn't mean what he's doing is not being noticed,'' Acta said. ... LHP Michael O'Connor, sidelined since March 28 following left shoulder surgery, was activated off the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Double-A Harrisburg. ... Acta said RHP Levale Speigner, whose Thursday turn in the rotation is being skipped because of an off day, would be available to pitch in long relief beginning Wednesday. ... Three Nationals starting pitchers will make rehab starts this week: RHP John Patterson, on the 15-day disabled list with right elbow and biceps soreness, will pitch for Class-A Potomac on Thursday. RHP Jason Bergmann will pitch for Triple-A Columbus at Rochester on Wednesday, while RHP Jerome Williams will throw for Double-A Harrisburg on Thursday.
au's first two game-winners. ... 2B Luis Castillo came in with a 32-game hitting streak at Shea Stadium. The streak began Sept. 2, 2001, and the former Marlin was hitting .388 at Shea during that stretch. ... Twins reliever Matt Guerrier had pitched 41 1-3 innings out of the bullpen, second-most among AL relievers behind Joel Peralta of Kansas City (44 innings).
NEW YORK: Through 33 home games, the Mets' average attendance of 44,591 was third-highest in majors, trailing only the New York Yankees (51,370 through 34 games ) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (45,978 through 36 games). ... The Mets led the majors with 86 steals. That total included 53 in the last 33 games. ... RHP Joe Smith was second among NL rookies with 32 appearances and had not allowed a run in 29 of those outings.
know about it,'' Bell said.
ST. LOUIS: The Cardinals didn't consider calling up OF Rick Ankiel from Triple-A Memphis to replace ailing Jim Edmonds because he has no options remaining and the team can't guarantee regular playing time for the former phenom pitcher the rest of the season. Ankiel hit three homers on Saturday. ``We talk about Rick a lot, but every day that he has four at-bats he's closer to getting to the big leagues and staying here,'' manager Tony La Russa said. ``Not having flexibility with him is a big problem right now.'' ... RHP Chris Carpenter reported no problems from his first bullpen session on Sunday since surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow and is scheduled to throw again later this week. La Russa is trying not to get too excited about the progress the 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner has made. ``I know I have an idea, a kind of a rough date, and I hate to even say that because it's unfair to the player,'' La Russa said. ``He's got so much work to do, but I mean, he's excited.''
Marlins-White Sox
alez said. ... RHP Lee Gardner was optioned to Albuquerque to make room for Monday's starter, RHP Josh Johnson, who was activated from the disabled list before the game. ... 1B Mike Jacobs (broken right thumb) has been taking live batting practice and is scheduled to start a rehab assignment with Single-A Jupiter on Monday. RHP Logan Kensing (Tommy John surgery) is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with Class-A Gulf Coast. OF Cody Ross (left hamstring strain) continues to experience discomfort with hard running activities. RHP Henry Owens (right shoulder inflammation) is not throwing. OF Alejandro De Aza (right ankle sprain) will not participate in any baseball-related activities for three to five days.
CHICAGO: The White Sox announced Monday they have agreed to contract terms with 14 of their selections in the June draft, including five of their first seven. LHP Aaron Poreda, the team's first-round pick from the University of San Francisco, has been assigned to Great Falls in advanced rookie league. ... The slumping White Sox have lost nine of 12 in interleague play. The White Sox are 103-84 overall in interleague play, the fourth-best winning percentage of any major league team. ... OF Scott Podsednik (abductor muscle), on rehab assignment at Triple-A Charlotte, could rejoin the team on Monday. ... OF Darin Erstad (ankle) said he doesn't want to rush back and have to be out for an extended period of time.
Devil Rays-Diamondbacks
TAMPA BAY: Manager Joe Maddon announced his engagement to Jaye Sousoures. Maddon proposed in Boulder, Colo., during Tampa Bay's trip to Denver last week. No date has been set for the wedding. ... OF Rocco Baldelli, out since May 16 with a left hamstring strain, has started a rehab assignment at Triple-A Durham. He's expected to rejoin the Devil Rays on Friday. ... LHP J.P. Howell makes his fourth start Tuesday night at Arizona. He has allowed one earned run in two of his three starts and six in the other. Pitching for Kansas City, Howell won his major-league debut at Phoenix on June 11, 2005.
ARIZONA: LHP Randy Johnson, who is on the 15-day disabled list with glute tightness, saw a doctor in Los Angeles on Monday. Manager Bob Melvin said he hopes Johnson will return for the Los Angeles Dodgers series June 25-28. With a day off Thursday, the Diamondbacks will probably skip Johnson's turn in the rotation to keep the other four starters on their regular rest. ... RHP Max Scherzer, the club's first-round pick in 2006, has been promoted to Double-A Mobile after striking out 30 in 17 innings at Single-A Visalia. Scherzer went 2-0 with a 0.53 ERA in his first three professional starts.
PHILADELPHIA: OF Pat Burrell was out of the lineup for the second straight game. He's batting .211 with 29 RBIs in 194 at-bats and was 1-for-13 on the Phillies' recent homestand. ``It's up to (hitting coach) Milt Thompson and myself to work with him,'' manager Charlie Manuel said. The Indians are throwing three LHPs in the three-game interleague series: Cliff Lee, Jason Stanford and C.C. Sabathia. Burrell is batting .156 (10-for-64) with three homers and 10 RBIs against lefties. ... Manuel used 1B Ryan Howard as the DH on Monday ... OF Aaron Rowand, who left Sunday's game with leg cramps, was in the lineup Monday. ... Former Indians RHP Jose Mesa, claimed by the Phillies after being released by the Tigers, returned to Jacobs Field. The Tigers were in Cleveland when the let Mesa go on June 3. He signed with the Phillies on June 9 and hasn't allowed a run in three appearances.
run in his previous 15 games, and had walked just three in 30 2-3 innings. ... Cleveland's bullpen came into the series against Philadelphia with a 1.73 ERA since June 6.
CINCINNATI: Ken Griffey Jr.'s much-hyped trek toward Seattle is getting attention from the media in Oakland. The Reds begin a three-game series at Seattle on Friday. Griffey hasn't returned there to play since leaving the Mariners after the 1999 season. ... Injured closer Eddie Guardado, another former Mariner, pitched an inning for Triple-A Louisville in a rehab outing as part of his return from reconstructive elbow surgery. ... The Reds began the three-game interleague series 0-6 all-time against the A's.
OAKLAND: Injured RHP Rich Harden, on the DL since April 16 with a strained right shoulder, threw 27 pitches in a simulated game and is slated to work an inning or two in relief for Triple-A Sacramento on Wednesday. If everything goes well, he could be activated in time to pitch Friday or Saturday out of the bullpen in New York against the Mets. ``It's a step in the right direction,'' Harden said. ``I'm getting closer to getting back out there. The way I feel now, hopefully it won't be that long.'' ... Gold Glove 3B Eric Chavez returned to the lineup after missing two games with soreness on the left side of his ribcage.
HOUSTON: Craig Biggio, who entered Monday needing two extra-base hits to become the 27th player to reach 1,000, witnessed one member of that exclusive fraternity make the milestone in person. It was Rafael Palmeiro, who did it against the Astros on June 15, 2002. ``I'm basically a leadoff guy with less than 300 home runs. And to be knocking at the door of 1,000 extra-base hits, I mean, that's pretty cool stuff,'' said Biggio, who has 286 homers, 657 doubles and 55 triples. ... The Astros were 0-8 this season when Mike Lamb started at first base - until Sunday, when he hit a grand slam and drove in five runs at Seattle while Lance Berkman sat out with flulike symptoms. Lamb was back at first when the Astros began a nine-game road trip against the AL West-leading Angels, and Berkman was the designated hitter.
LOS ANGELES: The Angels began a nine-game homestand with three players among the AL's top 10 in batting average - SS Orlando Cabrera (.342), 1B Casey Kotchman (.333) and RF Vladimir Guerrero (.329). Cabrera and Kotchman are the second and third most difficult to strikeout in the league, and Guerrero came in tied for second in fewest at-bats per RBI (3.9). ... Guerrero is trying to become only the third player with 10 or more consecutive seasons with 25 home runs and a batting average of .300 or better. Lou Gehrig did it for 11 straight years, and Ted Williams accomplished it in eight consecutive big league seasons, a stretch that was interrupted by a three-year stint in the military.
SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants placed INF Rich Aurilia on the 15-day disabled list with a neck strain, retroactive to June 17. C Eliezer Alfonzo (left knee strain) was transferred from the 15-day DL to the 60-day DL. He will have arthroscopic surgery on Tuesday to remove damaged cartilage sustained during a collision at home June 8. The contract of INF Luis Figueroa was purchased from Triple-A Fresno, where he was batting .310 in 63 games.
MILWAUKEE: OF Tony Gwynn, batting .301 in 49 games, was optioned to Triple-A Nashville and 2B Rickie Weeks was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list before the game against the Giants. The Brewers want Gwynn to play on a more consistent basis. Weeks, who is coming back from right wrist tendinitis, bats eighth and not leadoff as the club works him back into shape. ... OF Corey Hart has batted leadoff 14 times since May 30 and came into Monday night's game batting .352 with five home runs, 12 RBIs and seven stolen bases.

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