White Sox-Indians
CHICAGO: While several of his players seemed unimpressed by winning two of three games in Cleveland, manager Ozzie Guillen found some positives in taking the series. ``Every time we play the American League Central, we have to play the best we can,'' he said. ``I'm happy with the way we played this series. We almost swept them.'' Chicago lost the middle game on Tuesday 6-5 in 11 innings. ... 1B Paul Konerko has been one of the AL's hottest hitters for nearly two months, and is batting .349 with eight homers and 22 RBIs in his last 22 games. By hitting his 20th homer on Wednesday, Konerko has reached the 20-homer plateau for the eighth time with the White Sox. Only Frank Thomas (11 times) has done it more. ... Although he's not happy the team won't give him a contract extension and he could be on the trading block, OF Jermaine Dye is batting .367 with four homers and seven RBIs in his last eight games.
CLEVELAND: Franklin Gutierrez looks like he's ready to make Cleveland more of a permanent home. The outfielder, who has been shuffled between Triple-A Buffalo and the Indians the past few seasons, has hit safely in 15 of his past 17 games and is batting .414 with three homers and 11 RBIs in the span. ``He's a great example of a guy who has made the most out of playing at Triple-A,'' Indians manager Eric Wedge said. ``He has been a very consistent player for us on both sides of the ball.'' Wednesday's loss was the first this season in the finale of a three-game series at home for the Indians, who came in 10-0 in such games. ... Ryan Garko went 2-for-3 with a double and extended his hitting streak to 12 games. He's batting .476 (20-for-42) with three homers and nine RBIs during the streak.
TEXAS: Marlon Byrd went 0-for-4 in his first career start in center field. Byrd has played in center sporadically throughout the year but had never started there until Wednesday. The Rangers are eyeing him as a possible replacement for CF Kenny Lofton, who is a free agent at season's end. ... RHP Akinori Otsuka is scheduled to meet with team doctor Keith Meister on Thursday after his bullpen session was cut short Tuesday. Otsuka, who hasn't pitched since July 1 due to a sore elbow, could be headed for the disabled list, manager Ron Washington said. ... The Rangers were shut out for the second time in their last eight games after getting shut out twice in their first 86 games.
OAKLAND: 3B Eric Chavez sat out his third straight game with a lower back injury but is expected to return to the lineup this weekend. Chavez underwent an MRI exam on Tuesday and the results were negative. He will attempt to take batting practice Friday. ... DH Mike Piazza, on the disabled list with a sore shoulder since May 3, could rejoin the A's soon. Piazza has been rehabbing in the minor leagues and homered for Class-A Stockton on Tuesday. ... RHP Esteban Loaiza threw off the mound Wednesday and is scheduled to face hitters on Monday in the next stage of his rehabilitation. The A's still don't expect Loaiza to be able to join their rotation until early August. ... LHP Jerry Blevins, acquired from Chicago in the deal that sent C Jason Kendall to the Cubs earlier in the week, gave up a two-run homer in the ninth inning and took the loss in his first appearance for Double-A Midland on Tuesday.
Royals-Red Sox
KANSAS CITY: The Royals optioned RHP Leo Nunez to Omaha and recalled righty reliever Ryan Braun from the Triple-A team. Nunez made his first major league start Tuesday night, allowing one run in four innings in Kansas City's 9-3 win. ... The Royals won their 40th game Tuesday. They didn't reach that total last season until Aug. 9. ... Kansas City makes its final stop on a tough three-city road trip when it begins a three-game series in Detroit on Friday night. The Royals lost two of three in Cleveland before visiting Boston.
BOSTON: RHP Curt Schilling threw a side session before Wednesday's game and said, ``It went well.'' Schilling, on the disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder, is scheduled to make the first of at least two rehabilitation starts Saturday night at Triple-A Pawtucket. He threw 31 pitches Monday to Red Sox batters in a simulated game. ... RHP Brendan Donnelly returned from California where Dr. Lewis Yocum confirmed a previous diagnosis of a strained right forearm. Manager Terry Francona said Donnelly would throw this weekend. ... Wednesday was the 95th straight day in which the Red Sox led the AL East.
Angels-Devil Rays
LOS ANGELES: OF-DH Garret Anderson was out of the starting lineup against Tampa Bay LHP Scott Kazmir. Manager Mike Scioscia said Anderson will play in the outfield in Thursday's day game at Tampa Bay. ``It's a good day for him to take a breather and get ready to play,'' Scioscia said. The Angels are being cautious with Anderson, who has missed 46 games this season because of right hip injuries, because they are in a stretch of six straight games on artifical turf. ... The Angels plan on calling up LHP Joe Saunders from Triple-A Salt Lake later this week to start Sunday's game at Minnesota. He replaces RHP Ervin Santana, who was optioned to Salt Lake on Wednesday.
TAMPA BAY: Manager Joe Maddon is not a fan of day-night doubleheaders, but understands the attendance situation that causes them to be scheduled. ``I think it's a horrible concept,'' Maddon said. ``It's taxing on the entire team.'' ... Closer Al Reyes was reinstated from the 15-day disabled list, which means fill-in closer RHP Gary Glover will return to his eighth-inning setup role. ``It's going to make him better in that role,'' Maddon said. ... LHP J.P. Howell will be called up from Triple-A Durham to start one game in Saturday's doubleheader at the New York Yankees. He said no decision has been made on the other starting pitcher.
DETROIT: Though he went 3-for-3 with a walk in Tuesday's game and is the reigning AL Player of the Week, Tigers CF Curtis Granderson was given Wednesday off. Manager Jim Leyland pointed to Twins ace Johan Santana's success against left-handers (they were batting .151 against him entering Wednesday), stressing that he didn't want to get Granderson out of his groove against a difficult pitcher. The 26-year-old, in his second full major league season, has developed into a legitimate catalyst atop Detroit's lineup. ``I think it's one of those things when you just keep putting him out there and keep letting him improve,'' Leyland said. ... LHP Tim Byrdak began a rehabilitation assignment with Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday. Byrdak, who had a 3.66 ERA in 19 2-3 innings before getting hurt, has been out since June 27 because of elbow tendonitis.
MINNESOTA: RHP Matt Garza, who pitched seven innings of three-hit ball in a 1-0 loss on Tuesday, said after the game that he didn't have the usual life on his fastball. Though manager Ron Gardenhire was glad to see Garza use his off-speed pitches effectively, he wasn't so sure about Garza's analysis. ``I'd have to question that,'' Gardenhire said. ``That's great stuff against a great lineup.'' ... LHP Glen Perkins, who recently reinjured the shoulder muscle that put him on the disabled list May 22, will return to Minnesota for further examination by team doctors. His status for 2007 is unclear. ``It doesn't look good,'' Gardenhire said. ... LF Rondell White has had his rehab assignment extended by 20 days. He got hurt in the season's first week.
night, just the second time this year 10 Orioles have batted in an inning.
SEATTLE: Manager John McLaren took advantage of the schedule and gave LF Raul Ibanez the day off on Wednesday, giving him consecutive days off. The Mariners travel Thursday before opening an eight-game road trip in Toronto on Friday. ``Skipper said I get a second day off. I'm OK with it,'' Ibanez said. ... Ben Broussard started his eighth game in left. Originally, right-handed hitting Jason Ellison was supposed to get the start, but when Baltimore LHP Erik Bedard was scratched, McLaren switched and inserted the left-handed hitting Broussard. ... LHP Jake Woods was optioned to Triple-A Tacoma on Wednesday. Woods was designated for assignment on Sunday. RHP Jason Davis was also outrighted to Tacoma. Davis was designated for assignment on July 7.
Blue Jays-Yankees
pitched 17 1-3 straight scoreless innings in 22 outings since May 30. ... Gibbons said he'll get Matt Stairs in the lineup Thursday.
NEW YORK: RHP Phil Hughes (left hamstring) threw 36 of his 57 pitches for strikes in a rehab start at Double-A Trenton against Binghamton. He allowed one run and two hits in four innings with five strikeouts and two walks. ... Johnny Damon played LF and Hideki Matsui was the DH. ... Alex Rodriguez entered with a 38-game errorless streak, the longest active run by a big league third baseman. ... Manager Joe Torre said he wanted to rest relievers Luis Vizcaino and Kyle Farnsworth on Wednesday night. ... Torre said Jorge Posada will probably get Thursday off before catching RHP Mike Mussina on Friday night against Tampa Bay. Backup C Wil Nieves had been catching Mussina regularly. ... Torre said he's leaning toward having LHP Kei Igawa start the first game of Saturday's doubleheader, meaning RHP Matt DeSalvo would go in the nightcap. That way, the Yankees won't need to make a roster move to make room for DeSalvo until after the opener. DeSalvo will be recalled from the minors before his start. ... Torre turned 67.
COLORADO: Two days after sitting out for more than a week with a strained quadriceps, OF Willy Taveras was not in the lineup again on Wednesday in Pittsburgh. Taveras, who scored four runs in the two games he played against the Pirates, rested because it was a day game after a night game. ``We just don't want to push it,'' manager Clint Hurdle said. OF Cory Sullivan started in center and batted leadoff in his place. ... INF Jamey Carroll is hitting .440 over his last 10 games. He did not play Wednesday.
PITTSBURGH: C Ronny Paulino was back in the lineup Wednesday after not playing the previous three games in favor of C Ryan Doumit. Paulino is hitting only .239 this season with five home runs and 25 RBIs. Doumit, who also has started in right field and at first base this season, was hitting .324 with 11 RBIs in his past 11 games. ... 3B Jose Bautista, placed on the DL on Sunday with a left hand laceration, was to fly to the team's spring training complex in Bradenton, Fla., to begin his rehabilitation.
recover from a disastrous outing the day before in which he gave up four runs in one-third of an inning. ``I don't see lesser stuff,'' Mackanin said. ``The only thing I didn't like about what I saw (Tuesday) was that he didn't have good command. But I'm going to keep using him. At some point you have to believe, and I haven't given up on him.'' ... SS Pedro Lopez, who was claimed off waivers from the White Sox two months ago and promoted from Triple-A Louisville when top prospect RHP Homer Bailey returned to the minors July 8, had his first multihit game, going 3-for-6.
ith a 9.42 ERA and 17 walks.
HOUSTON: OF Lance Berkman, whose left hand has been taped, will have precautionary X-rays when the team is in Pittsburgh this week. ``It can get better, but the way for it to get better is with time off,'' manager Phil Garner said. ... 2B Craig Biggio did not start for the second straight game Wednesday, but will start Friday against the Pirates. Garner and Biggio discuss the veteran's playing schedule prior to each road trip. ``I'm 41 years old,'' said Biggio, who pinch-hit Tuesday and Wednesday. ``I don't feel like I did when I was 25.'' ... RHP Jason Jennings lost his fifth straight game - the longest such streak of the 2002 NL Rookie of the Year's career. ... Houston has lost seven of its last eight road games, and 14 of its last 17.
0th appearance this season - most in the majors.
SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants will have a couple of tough decisions to make when they return from this road trip. Both LHP Jonathan Sanchez and RHP Russ Ortiz will be ready to rejoin the bullpen. While the Sanchez decision could come as soon as Thursday or perhaps Friday in Milwaukee, Ortiz pitched in a rehab outing for Triple-A Fresno on Tuesday and is scheduled to go back-to-back days Friday and Saturday for the Grizzlies. LHP Pat Misch will likely be one of the odd men out, though manager Bruce Bochy has been pleased with his work. ... LF Barry Bonds didn't start for a third straight game and while resting his legs has had one at-bat in three games, that as a pinch hitter. Bonds is likely to start Thursday's series finale against Cubs LHP Ted Lilly.
nd sent him to Triple-A Iowa. ... RHP Carlos Zambrano took a line drive off his pitching hand from the first batter of the game, and he said he had a headache from the heat during his five-inning stint. The Cubs pulled him to give him extra rest with a 9-0 lead. Zambrano reiterated his statement from earlier this week that he hopes to re-sign with Chicago. The NL's first 12-game winner can be a free agent after the season. ``I'm making anything possible. One of the reasons I'm pitching like this is I want to stay with the Cubs,'' he said. ``If I put some good numbers up, they will do something about it.''
PHILADELPHIA: RF Shane Victorino was caught stealing in the first inning, snapping his major league-leading streak of 26 consecutive stolen bases. He hadn't been caught since April 12 at the New York Mets. ... The Phillies open a four-game series at San Diego on Thursday, with LHP Cole Hamels (11-4) getting the start in his hometown.
,'' manager Grady Little said. ``We know we're on the edge operating with 11 pitchers anyway. We'll go with 12 and see if we can get it done.'' Little said the 22-year-old Abreu was spending too much time on the bench and will get some much-needed at-bats in Las Vegas.
ST. LOUIS: RHP Chris Carpenter was examined again Wednesday by team doctors to discuss his recurrent elbow pain, manager Tony La Russa said. The 2005 NL Cy Young Award winner has pitched only one game this season, throwing six innings and giving up five runs and nine hits in a loss. La Russa said doctors have not informed him of any diagnosis. ``We still don't know anything, so I'm not going to speculate,'' La Russa said. ... CF Jim Edmonds walked into La Russa's office Wednesday and handed him a newspaper clip that quoted Edmonds saying the two were ``feuding.'' They exchanged laughs and refuted the article. Edmonds has sat out since June 16 due to back trouble, but said he will be ready ``any day.''
pitch Friday. We'll go forward.'' ... Slumping 2B Dan Uggla was held out of the starting lineup for the first time this season Wednesday by Gonzalez. ``He thinks I need a day,'' Uggla said. ``That's fine with me. I'm not trying to break any records.'' Uggla was batting .143 (7-for-49) in July.
ARIZONA: Back in Phoenix, LHP Randy Johnson played catch on Monday, had a productive bullpen session Tuesday and played catch again Wednesday. On the 15-day DL with a sore back, he is scheduled for long toss on Thursday. ``The fact that he threw a significant bullpen that he was able to go out and play catch today makes me feel that much better,'' manager Bob Melvin said. Depending how Johnson feels, another bullpen session could be scheduled for Friday or Saturday.
MILWAUKEE: INF Tony Graffanino came into the game batting .571 (8-for-14) against Diamondbacks LHP Doug Davis. Manager Ned Yost wanted Graffanino's bat in the lineup, so Yost made him the starting left fielder. It was Graffanino's his first career start in left. He was used in left three times while with the Chicago White Sox in 2001. ``I've got enough confidence in Tony to know that he is going to be OK out there,'' Yost said. If the Brewers had the lead late in the game, Graffanino would probably come out. ... Yost said that closer Francisco Cordero, who leads the majors with 30 saves, would not be used Wednesday. The right-hander earned consecutive saves in one-run victories the last three games. RHP Derrick Turnbow would be the closer, if needed.

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