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 Posted: Sat Apr 28th, 2012 06:38 am
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clawmaster
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Jeter scores on passed ball, Yanks beat Tigers 7-6
By HOWIE RUMBERG | The Associated Press – 2 hours 21 minutes ago

NEW YORK (AP) Tigers manager Jim Leyland waved off the question about Delmon Young with a flick of the hand and a terse response.

Leyland was in no mood to talk about the stunning late-night arrest of his left fielder on a hate crime harassment charge after the Yankees rallied to beat Detroit 7-6 Friday. Derek Jeter scored the winning run on a passed ball with one out in the ninth inning.

''Get lost, get lost, get lost,'' Leyland snapped. ''Do yourself a favor and get lost.''

The Tigers came to New York having lost six of seven at home and a day after they cut popular infielder Brandon Inge, Detroit's longest-tenured player. The arrest of Young early Friday eclipsed those issues.

Young was arrested at 2:30 a.m. - four hours after the team arrived in New York - for a fight at his hotel during which police say he yelled anti-Semitic epithets. He faces a misdemeanor aggravated harassment charge that entails targeting someone for his or her religious beliefs. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail.

His jersey hung in his locker and his batting helmet was in its cubby in the Detroit dugout, but Young was not at the ballpark for the first meeting between the teams since the Tigers won Game 5 of their AL division series last fall in New York. Young hit three home runs in that series.

On a 46-degree night more reminiscent of last October than late April, the Yankees took advantage of Justin Verlander, who was hardly at his best in the frigid conditions despite reaching 98 mph - in the sixth inning. They roughed up Detroit's ace for five runs, four earned, but Verlander said Young's situation was not a distraction.

''I wasn't worried about what was going on,'' Verlander said. ''I had to worry about pitching against the New York Yankees.''

The Tigers failed to hold a 6-4 lead. Don Kelly misplayed a line drive to left for a run-scoring error in the sixth, and Mark Teixeira had a tying sacrifice fly against Joaquin Benoit in the eighth before a wild ninth.

Jeter drew a one-out walk from Brayan Villarreal (0-1) and went to third when Villarreal threw a wild pitch on ball four to Curtis Granderson. With Alex Rodriguez up, Villarreal's 2-0 pitch glanced off catcher Alex Avila's glove and Jeter barely beat Avila's throw to Villarreal at the plate.

''I just missed it,'' Avila said.

Rodriguez hit his 633rd homer in the fourth and had two RBIs, but his biggest play was waving Jeter home.

''I'm at third. When Aviles turns around, I couldn't see it,'' Jeter said. ''You really can't see where the ball is. I saw Alex.''

Mariano Rivera (1-1), the fourth Yankees reliever, worked a perfect ninth for the win. The bullpen pitched 3 2-3 scoreless innings.

Russell Martin hit a two-run homer and the Yankees bullpen held steady when Ivan Nova turned in the latest shaky performance by a New York starter.

Martin connected in the fifth to give New York a 4-3 lead. But Prince Fielder had a run-scoring single - one of two RBIs - and Austin Jackson's two-run double in the sixth put Detroit back on top. Jackson had four hits.

Jeter went 0 for 4 to snap his 15-game hitting streak. For Detroit, Miguel Cabrera got his 1,000th career RBI with a single in the third.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was ejected by plate umpire Joe West in the seventh for arguing balls and strikes, his first of the season and 15th of his career as a manager.

Nova was knocked around for 11 hits and six runs in 5 1-3 innings. But he benefited from another strong offensive effort, keeping intact his string of 15 straight wins in the regular season. He allowed the leadoff batter to reach in five of his six innings.

Detroit struggled, though, leaving 10 on base in the first six innings.

A-Rod singled in a run in the first for the early lead, but Nova walked Kelly leading off the second. Brad Eldred then hit a soft liner to left that got past a diving Raul Ibanez for a triple - his first hit in the majors since July 20, 2010, for Colorado.

Verlander struck out four, the first time this season he did not fan at least seven. As dominant as the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young Award winner has been, he entered 0-2 with a 4.00 ERA at the new Yankee Stadium in three starts.

The Tigers had four straight singles to start the third, with Cabrera and Fielder driving in runs.

Nick Swisher hit a two-out double in the sixth and scored when Kelly misplayed Ibanez's liner to left field for an error, pulling New York to 6-5. Leyland said Kelly lost the ball in the lights.

''To be able to come back a couple of times on this guy and score some runs is not easy to do,'' Girardi said of facing Verlander.

NOTES: The Yankees held a moment of silence for Moose Skowron, who helped the team win four World Series titles in the 1950s and 1960s. Skowron died Friday of congestive heart failure in Illinois. He was 81. ... Leyland said LHP Duane Below will start Monday and starter Doug Fister (side injury) was feeling good a day after a throwing session. Fister will most likely need some sort of rehabilitation start before returning to the Tigers. ... Cabrera has hits in 29 of 31 games against New York.



____________________
"We are the priests
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Our great computers
Fill the hollowed halls
We are the priests
Of the temples of syrinx
All the gifts of life
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 Posted: Sat Apr 28th, 2012 06:40 am
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clawmaster
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Albert Who?

Cabrera's hit in 9th lifts Indians over Angels 3-2
The Associated Press – 3 hours ago

CLEVELAND (AP) The Indians are at it again, finding ways to win late.

Asdrubal Cabrera's one-out RBI single in the ninth inning gave Cleveland a 3-2 win over the struggling Los Angeles Angels.

Albert Pujols went 1 for 4 as Los Angeles lost its fifth straight. He is homerless in 20 games since signing a $240 million, 10-year contract to join the Angels - his longest drought to start a season.

Looking to shake things up, the Angels released veteran outfielder Bobby Abreu after the game Friday night. Angels manager Mike Scioscia said touted rookie Mike Trout is being called up from Triple-A Salt Lake.

Cleveland, which had 36 comeback triumphs, including 12 walkoff wins a year ago, rallied against the Angels' battered bullpen.

''Last year, we had a lot of fun with some walkoffs,'' Indians manager Manny Acta said. ''It's nice to be able to go out and do that again.''

Aaron Cunningham opened the ninth against David Carpenter (0-1) by doubling over leaping left fielder Vernon Wells at the wall. Michael Brantley lined out to center before Jason Kipnis singled. Angels shortstop Erick Aybar got a glove on the line drive, slowing the ball down and preventing Cunningham from scoring.

Cabrera hit a 2-0 pitch to right, making the Indians 6-0 in one-run games and the Angels 0-6. Los Angeles relievers are 1 for 7 in save opportunities. It was the sixth time the Angels lost after leading in the seventh inning.

Vinnie Pestano (1-0) struck out the only two batters he faced for the win. The native of southern California was inundated with tweets and text messages from family and friends afterwards.

''Everybody back home was watching it on TV,'' Pestano said. ''It was a high leverage situation and I'm glad I got it done.''

He replaced Justin Masterson after the Indians starter walked Kendrys Morales and Peter Bourjos in the ninth. Pestano fanned Vernon Wells and Aybar to keep it tied at 2.

''He came in and blew it by some people, just what you want to see,'' Masterson said.

Masterson allowed only four hits over 8 1-3 innings, but remained winless since Sept. 18.

''He was outstanding,'' Acta said, noting that Masterson came up big against Pujols with a runner on second in the eighth. He retired Pujols on a foul popup to end the inning after pitching coach Scott Radinsky visited the mound.

''You go after Pujols in that situation,'' Acta said. ''He's (Masterson) our number one and you go after him.''

Right fielder Torii Hunter drove in two runs and threw out a runner trying to score for the Angels.

Pujols lined a two-out single in the first and scored on a single to right by Hunter, who was out trying for second.

Despite the hit, it extended Pujols' homerless drought to a career-worst 109 at-bats. He has not connected since Sept. 22 last year with St. Louis.

Pujols, who on Thursday snapped his career-worst hitless streak at 21 at-bats with a ground single against Tampa Bay, has not homered in 20 games and 80 at-bats in an Angels uniform. He had a 105-at-bat drought April 23 to May 23 last year - then rebounded to help the Cardinals win the World Series.

The big first baseman made a good play in the field to keep the game tied in the eighth. With runners on first and third, he ranged far to his right to field a bouncer off the bat of Casey Kotchman and threw to second for the inning-ending force play.

The Indians have their own power outage. Cleveland hasn't hit a homer in nine games, their longest drought in 21 years. They also went without a homer for nine games in June 1991.

Cleveland got three hits and a walk in the second inning off Angels starter Jered Weaver and failed to score. Brantley singled and was thrown out trying to steal second as Kipnis struck out. Cabrera then singled and Travis Hafner walked. Carlos Santana singled to right, but Cabrera was easily thrown out at the plate by Hunter to end the inning.

In the first, the Indians got two hits and two walks off Weaver and didn't score. Kipnis grounded into a double play and Jack Hannahan struck out with the bases loaded.

Kotchman broke a 0-for-24 skid with a seventh-inning single off reliever Hisanori Takahashi and scored on a double by Brantley. Kevin Jepsen then yielded an RBI single to Kipnis that tied it at 2.

''The big thing is to get a knock when it means something,'' Kotchman said. ''The important thing is we won.''

Weaver went six scoreless innings, allowing seven hits, walking four and striking out eight.

NOTES: Indians LHP Rafael Perez could be out three to six weeks with a strained muscle in his left side. Cleveland put Perez on the 15-day DL for the first time in his seven-year career and recalled LHP Nick Hagadone from Triple-A Columbus. ... Angels manager Mike Scioscia replaced RHP Jordan Walden with LHP Scott Downs as closer. ... Santana hit Cleveland's last homer, in the fifth inning April 17 at Seattle. ... Pestano has stranded all six baserunners he has inherited this season and 23 of 29 (79 percent) in his career. ... According to Stats LLC, the Angels have lost 11 straight one run games.



____________________
"We are the priests
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Our great computers
Fill the hollowed halls
We are the priests
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All the gifts of life
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 Posted: Sat Apr 28th, 2012 06:42 am
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clawmaster
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Who needs Pujols, LaRussa, Duncan & Carpenter?

Cardinals score 8 in 3rd in 13-1 win over Brewers
The Associated Press – 2 hours 6 minutes ago

ST. LOUIS (AP) The St. Louis hitters gave starting pitcher Jake Westbrook plenty of offensive support this time around.

The Cardinals set season highs for runs in an inning and in a game Friday night in rolling to a 13-1 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

St. Louis scored eight runs in the third inning to win for the eighth time in its last 12. Milwaukee has lost three of five.

Westbrook (3-1) gave up seven hits, struck out five and did not walk a batter. He has allowed two earned runs or less in all four of his starts this season.

Westbrook, who lowered his ERA to 1.30, was not given much help in a 2-0 loss at Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Cardinals managed just five hits in being shutout for the second time this season. Westbrook gave up two runs on seven hits but suffered his first loss of the season.

The St. Louis hitters made up for that goose-egg in a big way Friday.

''The offense was huge for us, the runs helped a lot,'' Westbrook said. ''I was able to throw strikes, get ahead of guys, keep the pitch count down and get deep in the game.''

Jon Jay had three hits and drove in three runs to pace a 15-hit attack. Skip Schumaker added two hits and three RBIs, and Matt Holliday had three hits and knocked in a pair.

Jay and Matt Carpenter drove in two runs each in the third as the Cardinals sent 12 batters to the plate. They chased Milwaukee starter Yovani Gallardo, who gave up eight earned runs in two innings. Gallardo (1-2) lost for the ninth time in 10 regular-season starts against St. Louis. He has a 7.05 ERA in 13 starts against the Cardinals and has given up eight earned runs twice.

Carlos Beltran and David Freese drove in Jay and Holliday to start the eight-run outburst. Yadier Molina drew a walk and Carpenter ripped a 3-2 pitch off the center-field wall to push the lead to 6-1. Schumaker followed with a run-scoring hit and Jay added a two-run single. Holliday capped off the frame with a run-scoring single to right.

''We just go out there and have good at-bats,'' Jay said. ''You just try and keep the line moving and that's why we've been able to do some things.''

The eight-run outburst seemed to energize Westbrook. He allowed just three hits over four innings following the explosion.

St. Louis last scored eight runs in the fifth inning of a 13-5 win over Chicago on July 30, 2011.

Schumaker, who has five hits in his last 12 at-bats, was happy to give Westbrook the necessary support.

''Luckily we gave him a little cushion,'' Schumaker said. ''It seems like we're getting seven innings out of him every single time. He's on an incredible run. Hopefully it keeps going.''

St. Louis pounded out 11 hits over the first three innings on the way to a 10-1 lead.

''All the way through the lineup guys really swung the bats well,'' St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. ''It was just a good offensive day. It was fun to watch.''

Milwaukee jumped to a 1-0 lead on successive singles by Nyjer Morgan, Ryan Braun and Aramis Ramirez in the first. Westbrook then got Corey Hart to ground into an inning-ending double play.

''He's on a roll,'' Milwaukee manager Ron Roenicke said of Westbrook. ''He's throwing the ball down in the zone real well. He gets ground balls when he needs to.''

St. Louis starting pitchers have recorded 12 wins the season, the highest total in both leagues.

Gallardo allowed just four earned runs in three seven-inning efforts prior to Friday. But he gave up six earned runs in an 11-5 loss to St. Louis on April 6 and continues to struggle mightily against the Cardinals.

''In the two or three starts I had before tonight, I just went out there and pitched my game, I wasn't thinking about too much,'' Gallardo said. ''Today, I tried to do everything. I tried to do a lot more than I am capable of.''

NOTES: Milwaukee had given up the first run in its previous eight games before scoring in the top of the first Friday. ... Molina will be presented with his fourth consecutive Gold Glove award prior to Saturday's game. ... Kyle Lohse (3-0, 0.99 ERA) will face Milwaukee's Marco Estrada (0-0, 2.45) in the second game of the three-game set on Saturday. ... The Cardinals, who began a six-game homestand Friday, played 13 of their first 19 games on the road. ... Carpenter leads the Cardinals with 10 RBI at home. ... Ramirez has hit safely in his last five games.
 



____________________
"We are the priests
Of the temples of syrinx
Our great computers
Fill the hollowed halls
We are the priests
Of the temples of syrinx
All the gifts of life
Are held within our walls" 2112 By Rush!!
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 Posted: Sat Apr 28th, 2012 01:33 pm
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lobo316
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Off to a brutally slow start, the Los Angeles Angels shook things up Friday night by promoting top prospect Mike Trout and releasing disgruntled veteran Bobby Abreu.


Trout, 20, was batting .403 with five triples and six stolen bases in 77 at-bats for Triple-A Salt Lake.

The Angels, picked by many to reach the World Series after signing Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, are off to a 6-14 start and dealing with a glut of corner infielders and designated hitters for limited at-bats.


Abreu, 38, had gotten just 24 at-bats in the first three weeks and was batting .208. The Angels thought they had come close to trading Abreu twice, first to the New York Yankees and then to the Cleveland Indians. Abreu grumbled publicly a couple of times about his limited role.


Abreu signed with the Angels before the 2009 season. He appeared in 456 games for them and batted .267 with 43 home runs and 246 RBIs. The two-time All-Star is one of four players all-time with at least 500 doubles, 250 home runs and 350 stolen bases.


Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto told reporters in Cleveland that Trout would play every day -- probably at all three outfield spots -- and that the move was made to "add a little energy, get some spice, shake it up a little bit."


The Angels figure to give Trout a look in the leadoff spot. Their leadoff hitters have batted .195 in the first 20 games with a .250 on-base percentage.

Dipoto flew to Cleveland, arriving at Progressive Field in the fourth inning on Friday, to break the news to Abreu.

Angels owner Arte Moreno will have to swallow the remainder of Abreu's $9 million salary. The team made a similar move last June when it released pitcher Scott Kazmir.


Abreu and Kazmir both were acquired by former general manager Tony Reagins.


Trout reached the majors as a teenager last year and batted .220 with five home runs and 16 RBIs in 40 games. He has long been compared to the Washington Nationals top prospect, Bryce Harper, his teammate in the Arizona Fall League.


Now, they will begin their careers somewhat in tandem. Harper, 19, also was promoted and is scheduled to play in his first major league game Saturday in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.

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 Posted: Sat Apr 28th, 2012 01:36 pm
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Bryce Harper tends to do things ahead of schedule, so it should surprise no one that he's already heading to the major leagues.

The 19-year-old outfielder, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft, will be recalled by the Washington Nationals from Triple-A Syracuse on Saturday.

Widely regarded as baseball's top prospect, Harper will meet the Nationals in Los Angeles, where they are playing the Dodgers, and take the roster spot of third baseman Ryan Zimmerman, who is going on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right shoulder.

"Suffice it to say, this isn't the coming-out party for Bryce that we had in mind," Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said Friday on a conference call. "This isn't the optimal situation developmentally."

The Nationals also placed reliever Brad Lidge on the 15-day disabled list with an abdominal wall strain, the second of the team's three potential closers to go on the shelf. Lidge, whose move is retroactive to April 22, had been sharing closer duties with Henry Rodriguez while Drew Storen recovers from elbow surgery.

Washington also recalled right-hander Ryan Perry from Triple-A Syracuse.

Harper skipped his final year of high school, earned his GED, then played one season of junior college baseball at the College of Southern Nevada to become eligible for the draft and get a head-start on his professional career. He signed a five-year, $9.9 million contract, including $6.5 million in signing bonuses, with the Nationals in August 2010.

"If you develop properly, a by-product of developing properly is winning," said Nats manager Davey Johnson. "Harper has had great springs in spring training. He is a formidable talent, and he has been swinging the bat good down there. We had a need here for a left-handed bat. We're trying to get more of a left-handed presence in our lineup, and he is the guy who fit that role."

Rizzo has stated repeatedly that he thinks all young players should spend time at each level of the minors before moving to the big leagues. So while Johnson wanted Rizzo to consider letting Harper skip Triple-A, the team sent him to Syracuse after he hit .286 in spring training this year.

But with their top two hitters -- Zimmerman and left fielder Michael Morse, who's been out all season with a problematic back muscle -- sidelined by injuries, the team decided to bring up Harper now. He was hitting .250 with a homer and three RBIs in 72 at-bats at Syracuse.

"We still have a very good and committed developmental plan for Bryce in place. I still believe very passionately in the plan, and am committed to it. But it was expedited by the circumstances," Rizzo said. "We felt that we needed to bring in an impactful, left-handed bat that could play the corner outfield."

Rizzo headed to Rochester, N.Y., this week to watch Harper play in three games for Syracuse -- and liked what he saw, including how Harper fared in the field.

Harper played primarily catcher in college, but the Nationals immediately shifted him to right field when they drafted him. They also wanted him to play some center field at Syracuse, because that's a spot where Washington needs help.

"He's swinging the bat extremely well right now, and looked comfortable in left field," Rizzo said.

Asked whether Harper would start for Washington on Saturday, Rizzo wouldn't answer directly, saying that's a question for Johnson.

But Rizzo did say: "We didn't bring Bryce up there to sit on the bench. He's going to get every-day reps and get ample at-bats."

"He will get an opportunity to play," Johnson said. "As far as I'm concerned, he has earned the right to get the opportunity. He is just a good ballplayer coming up to the big leagues, is the way I look at it."

Rizzo wouldn't weigh in on whether Harper necessarily will stay in the majors, even after Zimmerman returns, or is definitely going to go back to the minors.

"This is a very confident person, and we expect him to do well in the major leagues," Rizzo said. "He's the type of guy who will handle anything that is thrown at him and will be the better for it."

The Nationals were an NL-leading 14-5 heading into their game at Dodger Stadium on Friday night. That's thanks mainly to outstanding starting pitching; the offense has been inconsistent.

Morse, the team's cleanup hitter, isn't expected back for weeks. Zimmerman, the No. 3 hitter, could return as soon as May 6, Rizzo said, because his stint on the DL is backdated.

"We don't think it's a debilitating injury," Rizzo said, "but it takes time to heal."

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 Posted: Sat Apr 28th, 2012 01:55 pm
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DENVER — Scott Hairston pulled off one of the great individual feats in baseball Friday night. Unfortunately for the outfielder, his cycle — achieved in his first four at-bats — won’t be as memorable as the 11-run tempest Colorado hit the Mets with in the 18-9 defeat at Coors Field.

“It’s bittersweet,” Hairston said. “It was great while it was happening, but as they kept scoring runs, it wasn’t enjoyable anymore.”

After singling in the second, homering in the fourth and tripling in the fifth, Hairston had to admit that he went to the plate in the sixth with the cycle on his mind. He thought his shot to center field would be caught when it came off his bat. It went off the wall for the double he needed.

Asked whether he’ll be able to feel good about the feat, Hairston said, “It’ll take some time. Maybe if we come back and win the next two games and the series, we’ll have a happy flight to Houston and maybe I can enjoy it. Until then, it’s just bittersweet.”
Hairston struck out to end the  seventh.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 29th, 2012 12:15 am
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A different type of baseball note, but the famed Mickey Mantle's restaurant by Central Park owes $300,000 in back taxes and are holding a fund-raiser to try to save the place.  If they don't raise enough, they will be evicted within the next couple of months.



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 Posted: Sun Apr 29th, 2012 12:27 am
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If my Tigers were smart, theyd sign Abreau, as hes still got someop on his bat. They probably wont though.



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 Posted: Sun Apr 29th, 2012 04:46 am
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He's hitting .208/.259/.333. Granted he wasn't getting regular playing time, but the dude looks like toast to me. The Angels were looking to trade him before the season started and even while offering to eat his whole salary, couldn't find any takers. The Indians decided they'd rather pay actual money to Johnny Damon instead.

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 Posted: Sun Apr 29th, 2012 05:11 am
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DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies have placed right-hander Jeremy Guthrie on the 15-day disabled list a day after he injured his shoulder in a fall from his bicycle.

The Rockies' Opening Day starter was placed on the DL on Saturday, retroactive to Monday. He'll be eligible for reinstatement on May 8.

Guthrie said he was injured on Friday when the chain on his bike snapped as he was pedaling to the ballpark, causing him to tumble to the ground. He jammed his right shoulder in the fall.

The Rockies scratched Guthrie from his scheduled start on Saturday night against the New York Mets and replaced him with right-hander Guillermo Moscoso, who was recalled prior to the game from the team's Triple-A affiliate in Colorado Springs.

Guthrie, who threw lightly on the side on Saturday, was 2-1 with a 5.92 ERA in four starts this season.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2012 01:53 pm
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OAKLAND, Calif. -- Third baseman Brandon Inge has agreed to sign with the Oakland Athletics, a person with knowledge of the negotiations said Sunday.




Inge


Inge gives Oakland experience at a position that has been mix-and-match so far -- and some versatility considering he can also play several other spots.

The deal was pending a physical and final paperwork, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because nothing had been finalized and the A's were yet to make a formal announcement.

Inge was released by the Tigers on Thursday after batting .100 (2 for 20) with one home run and two RBIs in nine games this season. Inge, who turns 35 on May 19, joins his first new team in his 12th major league season. In Detroit, he played mostly third base, but he has also caught, played the outfield and second base.

He'll try to fill a huge void at third, where the A's lost projected starter Scott Sizemore to a season-ending knee injury in the first full-squad workout of spring training Feb. 27. Oakland manager Bob Melvin has tried Josh Donaldson, Eric Sogard and Luke Hughes in the spot so far. That trio left for the current road trip batting a combined .111 with eight errors.

"We have who we have," Melvin said last week.

It's a far cry from the sure-handed play the A's used to get from six-time Gold Glove winner Eric Chavez at third. Oakland thought it had the answer in Sizemore, who also came from the Tigers in a trade last May.

Inge is a .234 career hitter with 140 homers and 589 RBIs.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2012 01:55 pm
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NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees have decided to put struggling starter Freddy Garcia in the bullpen with rookie David Phelps assuming the fifth starter role for the moment.

Phelps, who is from St. Louis, will make his first start Thursday against the Royals in Kansas City.

With a day off scheduled for May 7, the Yankees only need one start from the No. 5 spot until veteran Andy Pettitte's possible return around May 10.

Used primarily as the team's long reliever, Phelps has thoroughly outpitched Garcia through the first month of the season. In four starts, Garcia lasted just 13 2/3 innings and his ERA was 12.51. He is 0-2.

 

"Like any of you guys, if you don't do your job, what you are supposed to do, that's what happens," Garcia said Sunday following a Saturday start in which he was lifted in the third inning after allowing six earned runs to Detroit. "I didn't pitch the way I'm supposed to pitch. That's the reality."

Phelps has thrown 17 2/3 innings out of the bullpen and has a 3.57 ERA and a WHIP of 1.08, which is better than any starter on the team.

"I envision him as a starter," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said of Phelps before Garcia was officially removed from the rotation. "I haven't seen anything that has told me he can't be a starter. Time will tell as we move forward."

Phelps, who pitched three scoreless innings Saturday, has replaced Garcia in three of his four starts. Against those same opponents, Phelps' ERA is 2.89, while Garcia's ERA is 15.75.

Phelps said that despite being a reliever all season his arm is stretched out enough for him to throw 85-100 pitches. He could start Thursday in Kansas City.

"I feel prepared to do it," Phelps, 25, said.

With Phelps and Garcia having pitched on Saturday, the Yankees added rookie D.J. Mitchell to their bullpen. Mitchell, who nearly beat Phelps for the long reliever role in spring training, was 2-1 with a 3.12 in four Triple-A starts. Reliever Cody Eppley was returned to Triple-A.

Meanwhile, Pettitte, who turns 40 in June, will take the mound for Class A Tampa on Monday. If all goes right, Pettitte may only have to make one more minor league start before returning to the Yankees.

Even before Sunday's demotion, Garcia didn't seem long for the rotation with Pettitte looming. In his career, the 35-year-old Garcia has only pitched twice out of the bullpen.

"I'll be a long reliever, whatever," Garcia said. "I'll be ready. Definitely, I'll be ready."

Garcia said he is healthy, despite the fact his fastball has been clocked a few miles per hour lower this season. Garcia threw mostly in the high 80s as he went 12-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 2011.

Phil Hughes also continues to struggle and could be the next starter to lose his rotation spot. Hughes has a 1-3 record and a 7.88 ERA to start the season.

The struggles of Garcia and Hughes have been highlighted given the recent season-ending injury to right-hander Michael Pineda and the struggles of the team's top pitching prospects.

Pineda, who was pegged for a rotation spot after being acquired in the blockbuster offseason deal that sent Jesus Montero to Seattle, will have shoulder surgery on Tuesday.

Manny Banuelos had a 10.13 ERA in two starts before going on the disabled list with a back injury, while Dellin Betances picked up his first win in five starts the other day, lowering his ERA to 7.25.

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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2012 05:43 pm
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lobo316
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ARLINGTON, Texas -- Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton said he expects to play Monday in Toronto after coming out of Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays with a stiff back.


Hamilton said he felt a spasm in his back about the third or fourth step out of the batter's box on an RBI single in the first inning of Sunday's 5-2 loss to the Rays. He tried to loosen it up, but after playing the field in the second inning, he felt like he couldn't move the way he wanted and told manager Ron Washington, who took him came out of the game. Hamilton said it's happened to him before and that it takes about 12 hours to loosen up.

"I don't expect it to affect anything tomorrow," Hamilton said.

Hamilton said he doesn't sleep on planes anyway, so he'll get up and move around as much as he can during the club's overnight flight to Toronto.

"I'm not worried about it because I didn't feel anything alarming," Hamilton said. "It was a little tight when I woke up this morning, but nothing out of the ordinary -- come in, get loose and get after it. It was just an ordinary day until the spasm wouldn't release on me."

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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2012 05:45 pm
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lobo316
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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Hideki Matsui has signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays, and the two-time AL All-Star will report Wednesday to extended spring training in Port Charlotte.

Tampa Bay wants to add depth in the outfield and at designated hitter. The 37-year-old has played nine seasons in the major leagues, including seven with the New York Yankees.

Matsui has a .285 career average with 173 home runs and 753 RBIs for the Yankees, Los Angeles Angels and Oakland Athletics. He hit .251 with 12 homers and 72 RBIs for the A's last season.

Rays executive vice president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman announced the deal Monday, calling Matsui "one of the most consistently productive hitters in the world" over the past two decades.



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 Posted: Mon Apr 30th, 2012 05:46 pm
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CLEVELAND -- Outfielder Johnny Damon will join the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday for their three-game series in Chicago.

The Indians signed Damon to a minor league deal on April 17 and it will become a one-year, $1.25 million major league contract when he's added to the 40-man roster. The 38-year-old has spent the past two weeks at Cleveland's training facility in Goodyear, Ariz., preparing to play after not being in a training camp.

The Indians will have to clear a roster spot to make room for him.

Damon, who needs 277 hits to reach 3,000 for his career, is expected to split playing time with Shelley Duncan in left field. The Indians are leading the AL Central, but are struggling to score with just 17 runs in the past seven games.

Also, the Indians have not homered in 11 consecutive games. According to STATS LLC, it's the third longest drought in the majors since 2000. The team record is 14 straight games in 1983.

The team originally planned to have Damon play some minor league games before joining them. However, with their offense in a rut, the Indians could be hoping Damon can give their lineup a jolt.

Damon batted .261 with 16 homers and 73 RBIs last season for Tampa Bay.

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