TAMPA BAY: Tampa Bay opened an 11-game, 12-day road trip against the Red Sox. All of its games are against teams currently with .500 or better records. ... The Devil Rays are 3-7 against the Red Sox entering Wednesday action, with all of their wins coming in their last at-bat. ... Carl Crawford, who only pinch hit in Tuesday's 13-2 loss against Seattle because he was nursing a bruised left heel, was back in the starting lineup, batting leadoff and playing center field. ... Toby Hall has struck out only once every 17.3 plate appearances, toughest in the AL.
BOSTON: LHP Scott Sauerbeck, acquired in a four-player trade from Pittsburgh Wednesday, was happy to be with the Red Sox after being disappointed initially. "I've been thinking about it for a day now," he said. "At first, I was a little disappointed. It took me about six hours to get over it. Ever since then I've been excited." He was given No. 48. ... He thought he was heading to the Yankees and told his wife to be ready to move to New York. ... Nomar Garciaparra turned 30 Wednesday. Last year on his 29th birthday, also against Tampa Bay at Fenway Park, he homered in his first three at-bats and had eight RBIs. ... Boston is on a pace to break its club homer mark of 219, set in 1977.
DETROIT: OF Bobby Higginson will test his pulled left hamstring by running the bases at full speed on Thursday and may come off the 15-day disabled list Friday, manager Alan Trammell said. Higginson has been sidelined since June 29. ... DH Dmitri Young, who entered Wednesday's game with 21 homers, his on pace to hit 35 - Detroit's most since Dean Palmer hit 38 in 1999. ... Craig Monroe's second-inning double against Cleveland on Wednesday gave the Tigers an extra-base hit in 37 straight games. ... Detroit came into Wednesday having hit into only 56 double plays this season, a major league low. The Tigers have turned 113 double plays, one fewer than Cleveland's league-leading total.
CLEVELAND: Charles Nagy smirked as he looked down at the new uniform he'll be wearing for the Cleveland Indians. "Corporate casual," the former pitcher said brushing off the pant legs of khakis. "That's the biggest thing I'll have to get used to." Nagy, who won 129 games in a 13-year career with the Indians, was hired by Cleveland on Wednesday as a special assistant to general manager Mark Shapiro. Nagy will spend most of his time evaluating talent in Cleveland's minor league organization. ... Shapiro said the club should know by the end of the week whether SS Omar Vizquel will need season-ending surgery on his right knee. Vizquel underwent surgery on June 12 to repair torn cartilage. He was expected to rejoin the Indians following the All-Star break, but another tear was found. Vizquel's knee has improved, but it's still unclear if he'll play again this season. "By Friday or Saturday we'll have a better read," Shapiro said. ... The Indians recalled LHP Jason Stanford from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned LHP Brian Tallet back to the Bisons. Stanford had two impressive starts - both no-decisions - with Cleveland earlier this month.
White Sox-Blue Jays
CHICAGO: The White Sox were forced to face Roy Halladay on Wednesday after Toronto's game against the Yankees on Tuesday was rained out. "They're pretty smart," manager Jerry Manuel joked about the Yankees. "'They said no, we're not going to face him, we'll let the White Sox get him."' Manuel joked that it probably wasn't even raining in New York. However, it stormed all evening. ... White Sox hitting coach Greg Walker isn't with the team because he's recovering from surgery on his right elbow. Carlos Lee hit a line drive off Walker's right elbow during a hitting session on Sunday, fracturing it. Harold Baines, the club's roaming hitting instructor, filled in for Walker.
TORONTO: RHP Kelvim Escobar expects to be traded. "I know they have some tough decisions because I'm going to free agency, I'm pitching well and something is going to happen," Escobar said. "Either they keep me or trade me. If they don't have plans for me in the future, I guess it's better for them to trade me and get something back for me. That's the business." ... Manager Carlos Tosca doesn't think his team will be distracted by trade rumors surrounding Escobar and RHP Cory Lidle. "They've been playing baseball for 100 years and there's been trade rumors, especially this month. They are always going to be there and the players understand that," Tosca said. Tosca also said the team won't be crushed if they do trade veterans. "This team has plenty of character," Tosca said. "We've had some tough losses and some disappointments and they just seem to bounce right back and get after it, so I really don't think it will have that much of an affect one way or another - if it does happen." ... Tosca said he didn't know when Tuesday's Blue Jays-Yankees game will be rescheduled. The game was called because of rain. Tosca joked that maybe they would play the game in Cuba. "They're the antithesis of communism," Tosca said. ... A rain out at Triple-A Syracuse will delay the return of RHP Cliff Politte, who was supposed to pitch in a rehab game on Tuesday. "I'm hoping he can throw today but the weather is supposed to be bad," Tosca said. "We want Cliff to throw a couple of times before he comes back." Politte has been on the on the 15-day disabled list since June 29 with a strained right shoulder. Tosca said he could return as early as Sunday. ... RHP Pete Walker, on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left knee, will begin a rehab stint at Syracuse this week. ... INF Dave Berg, on the 15-day disabled list because of fatigue, has been medically cleared to resume playing. Berg, on the DL since July 1, would sometimes get exhausted after taking only 10 ground balls. Tosca said every test performed on Berg has come up negative. ... 1B Carlos Delgado was the designated hitter for the second straight game because of a sore right knee. "He's going to be OK," Tosca said. "He could have played first today." ... Tosca said starter Roy Halladay will pitch on three days' rest for the last time this season on Sunday. Struggling starter John Wasdin will be skipped.
BALTIMORE: LF Melvin Mora returned to the Orioles' lineup after missing two games. He was in the cheek by a pitch from Anaheim's John Lackey on Sunday, and X-rays and a CT scan were negative. The All-Star had been day-to-day with a swollen cheek and a cut in the left side of his mouth. Mora leads the AL in hitting (.343) and on-base percentage (.435). ... The Orioles took a six-game winning streak into Wednesday night's game. A victory over the Yankees would give Baltimore its longest winning streak since a 13-game string in September 1999. ... The Orioles faced a major nemesis Wednesday night in Andy Pettitte. The Yankees' left-hander took a 15-4 career record against Baltimore into the game.
NEW YORK: With 1B-DH Nick Johnson about to come off the disabled list, manager Joe Torre realizes that recently acquired Ruben Sierra and Karim Garcia might see their playing time diminish. "It could be affected," Torre said. Johnson has missed more than two months after breaking his right hand on May 14. He was leading the AL in walks and on-base percentage when he was placed on the disabled list. He's been on a rehabilitation assignment with Double-A Trenton, and the Yankees hope to activate him this weekend in Boston. ... Newly acquired LHP Jesse Orosco took over the locker that had been occupied by Curtis Pride. The outfielder was designated for assignment when the trade was made Monday night to get Orosco from San Diego. Pride has been using the locker that belonged to reliever Steve Karsay, who's been on the disabled list all season.
KANSAS CITY: The Royals activated 3B Joe Randa from the 15-day disabled list. He hadn't played since July 2, when he left in the first inning of a game against Cleveland with a strained oblique muscle. To make room, Kansas City optioned RHP Brad Voyles to Triple-A Omaha. Voyles was 0-2 with an 8.16 ERA in seven appearances with the Royals.
MINNESOTA: Twins reliever J.C. Romero was treated for flu-like symptoms before the game. ... The Twins have lost 10½ games in the standings to the Royals since June 15. ... The Twins started backup C Matthew LeCroy at designated hitter Wednesday, leaving them without a catcher on the bench to back up A.J. Pierzynski. 1B Doug Mientkiewicz or Justin Morneau were available as backups.
ANAHEIM: 3B Troy Glaus was put on the 15-day disabled list for the first time in his career because of a right shoulder injury. It is a forced break for Glaus, an All-Star starter who has hit just .149 (17-of-114) with two homers and seven RBIs since June 9. ... The Angels are 4-1-2 over their last seven series. Their stop in Texas is for just two games before going home for 10 straight games.
TEXAS: Jason Jones made his major league debut Wednesday night as the designated hitter for the Rangers. Texas purchased the contract of 1B/OF Jones from Triple-A Oklahoma after OF Juan Gonzalez was put on the 15-day DL with a strained right calf. Jones became the 49th player on Texas' active roster in 2003, the most of any team in the majors. That is also just three short of the team record set in 1992. ... OF Rusty Greer had reconstructive surgery Wednesday on his left elbow. Greer was released from the hospital and will have his arm in a splint for about 10 days before beginning rehab.
OAKLAND: RHP Rich Harden, who threw seven strong innings in his major league debut Monday in Kansas City, remained a popular topic after the team arrived in Seattle. "Looks like they might have another good one over there," Mariners manager Bob Melvin said. ... LF Billy McMillon, hit in the helmet by a pitch Tuesday in Kansas City, was a late addition to the lineup. "He said he was all right after last night's game," Oakland manager Ken Macha said. ... Seattle SuperSonics chairman Howard Schultz milled around near the backstop as the Athletics took batting practice.
SEATTLE: Wednesday's game marked the debut of a new batter's eye beyond the wall in center field. Since the opening of Safeco Field in 1999, some hitters have complained about glare during sunset. The new wall, a black honeycomb-like structure, is supposed to absorb light and reduce glare 60-70 percent. ... DH Edgar Martinez, still nursing a tight left calf, missed his second straight start. Carlos Guillen, coming back from a strained groin, took over at DH in his usual No. 2 batting spot. Willie Bloomquist started at SS. ... RHP Kazuhiro Sasaki, out since June 11 with cracked ribs, will throw an extended bullpen session Thursday. Melvin said Sasaki could begin a rehab assignment as early as Aug. 1. ... The Mariners haven't won two straight since June 26-27.
ST. LOUIS: Tuesday night marked the first time the Padres won two straight against St. Louis since the 1998 season. ... The home run LHP Lance Painter gave up to San Diego's Miguel Ojeda in the 10th inning Monday night was the 22nd homer allowed by the Cardinals in the ninth inning or later. ... St. Louis signed RHP Stuart Pomeranz, its No. 2 draft pick. Pomeranz, a 6-foot-7, 220-pounder from Houston High School in Germantown, Tenn., will report to Class A Johnson City by Friday.
SAN DIEGO: LHP Jesse Orosco, traded to the New York Yankees on Tuesday night, said he has an oral agreement with general manager Kevin Towers to return to the Padres next season. "If I play next season, it will only be here," the 46-year-old Orosco said. ... The Padres have suffered a couple of strange injuries in the past two days. C Miguel Ojeda, who hit a game-winning homer in the 10th inning Monday night, was scratched from the lineup Tuesday night due to irritation in his right eye. Ojeda's eye ailment occurred after he crossed home plate and was mobbed by his teammates. Ojeda got hit in the eye by the bill of someone's cap. After Tuesday night's game, OF Gary Matthews Jr. cut the tip of his left thumb while slicing a bagel. Matthews was available to play Wednesday. ... 3B Sean Burroughs sat out his second straight game with a hip flexor.
FLORIDA: LF Miguel Cabrera was back in the Marlins lineup after getting a night off. He was mired in a 6-for-36 slump that knocked his average down to .222, but manager Jack McKeon wanted to get the youngster back in the lineup against Braves starter Mike Hampton. Cabrera was batting .313 against left-handers. "He was pressing a bit," McKeon said. "I just wanted to give him a day off." Todd Hollandsworth went 0-for-4 on Tuesday, but he and Cabrera could wind up sharing the job in left field if Cabrera continues to struggle. ... The Marlins have not lost consecutive games on the road since a six-game losing streak May 16-22.
ATLANTA: Here's a rarity: While the Braves were leading the majors in the homers and topping the NL in slugging percentage going into Wednesday night, they have defied the normal pattern of a power-hitting team by having the fewest strikeouts in the league. ... RF Gary Sheffield is still bothered by a sprained right thumb. The Braves' slugger injured the thumb sliding into third against the Cubs on July 10, then aggravated the sprain while participating in the home run contest prior to the All-Star game. ... The Braves are keeping an eye on 2B Marcus Giles, still bothered by a sore right shoulder.
COLORADO: RHP Chin-hui Tsao will become the first Taiwanese pitcher to appear in a major league game Friday when he takes injured Denny Neagle's spot in the rotation against Milwaukee at Coors Field. Tsao, 22, was 11-4 with a 2.46 ERA for Double-A Tulsa, while leading the Texas League with 125 strikeouts. "He's one of our crown jewels," manager Clint Hurdle said. ... RHP Joe Roa, who allowed three earned runs over 6 2-3 innings since signing with Colorado as a free agent July 4, was claimed off waivers by the San Diego Padres. ... Hurdle is a former teammate of CF Preston Wilson's uncle - Mookie Wilson played with the Rockies' manager for the Mets. Still, Hurdle refuses to say how good the NL RBI leader can become because he doesn't want to put a ceiling on his potential. "Preston's obviously made a lot of headway on the impact he makes upon a game - not only offensively, but defensively," Hurdle said. "He just keeps making positive strides. If he plays in 150 games this year, I think his numbers will be pretty impressive."
LOS ANGELES: Rickey Henderson needs three more homers to join Barry Bonds as the only players in history with 300 home runs and 500 stolen bases. "Rickey was the most dynamic player in the game when I was playing. I mean, if you had him on your team, you were probably going to the playoffs," said hitting coach Jack Clark, who was a Yankees teammate of Henderson's in 1988. "It's the same personality, attitude, hunger and desire. You can't teach that, but it rubs off on other guys. ... Utility INF Ron Coomer, who had been on the DL because of headaches caused by a jaw problem, was fitted for a mouth guard that will prevent him from gritting his teeth when he is playing and when he's sleeping. He'll get the device next Monday, which will help get him back in the lineup while he is still undergoing two more weeks of treatment and physical therapy. Coomer's malady afflicts one out of every 10 million Americans.
NEW YORK: Injured C Mike Piazza took batting practice prior to the game. It was the first time he faced live pitching on the field since severely straining his right groin and landing on the 15-day disabled list May 17. ... C Jason Phillips is hitting .421 (16-for-38) over the course of a 10-game hitting streak. Phillips' .319 average overall leads all NL rookies. ... 3B Ty Wigginton leads NL rookies in hits (102), doubles (23), RBIs (46), total bases (158) and extra-base hits (36). He is also tied for first among rookies with six triples, two off Mookie Wilson's team rookie record of eight triples in 1981. ... Through Tuesday, Mets rookies had started 244 games, most in the NL and third in the majors. Cleveland rookies had started a major league-high 370 games and Detroit rookies had started 277.
MONTREAL: The Expos began a 12-game homestand, their longest at Olympic Stadium this season. Montreal, which had 22 home games moved to Puerto Rico this season to boost revenue, played a season-high 16 straight home games from Apr. 11-27 which began with a 10-game homestand in San Juan. ... 2B Jose Vidro didn't start Wednesday night's series opener because of a strained right knee. Vidro, who left Tuesday's 9-1 loss in Florida, is day to day and manager Frank Robinson is hopeful that he will be able to return to the lineup Thursday. ... RF Vladimir Guerrero made his first start at Olympic Stadium since May 25. Guerrero is 2-for-5 with an RBI in two games since returning from a herniated disk on Monday.
PHILADELPHIA: Phillies manager Larry Bowa is impressed by the Cubs' recent acquisitions of INF Aramis Ramirez and OF Kenny Lofton. "They had a good team before they got those guys. It should help them out," Bowa said. "It think it sends a message from the general manager (Jim Hendry) that says I think you guys can do this, so we will help you out." ... Bowa is concerned about his bullpen, but he is not putting any added pressure on LHP Randy Wolf to go longer in the game on Wednesday night. Phillies starter Kevin Millwood lasted just 3 2-3 innings on Tuesday and the Phillies used six pitchers from the bullpen. "Obviously, when your bullpen is a little thin, with a guy (Wolf) like that, he might be running on empty and you might want him to get another two or three outs. But as far as if he doesn't have his stuff, am I going to let him stay out there and get hanged out there to dry? No," Bowa said. The Phillies bullpen has thrown 82 2-3 innings in 22 games. "They have done a lot of pitching lately, we got to watch out." ... The Phillies bullpen has the second best ERA (3.02) in the NL, behind the Dodgers (2.15).
CHICAGO: RHP Mark Prior, on the disabled list with a sore shoulder from a collision earlier this month on the basepath with Atlanta's Marcus Giles, will play catch on Saturday. The Cubs still aren't sure when Prior will be able to rejoin the rotation. He'll be re-evaluated after he plays toss Saturday. An MRI earlier in the week showed no structural damage to the shoulder. ... CF Corey Patterson underwent successful surgery on Wednesday. The operation was performed by Richard Stedman in Vail Colorado. Patterson is hoping to return by Spring Training. Patterson tore the ACL and cartilage in his left knee when he beat out an infield single in the eighth inning July 6, against the St. Louis Cardinals. He crossed the base and then dropped to the ground, rolling over and grabbing his knee while wincing in pain. ... Newly acquired third baseman Aramis Ramirez entered the season with just a .176 batting average at Wrigley Field. ... RHP Todd Wellmeyer will rejoin the Cubs but he won't be thrown into the ration. Wellmeyer will be used as a long reliever out of the bullpen. He pitched with the Cubs for nearly seven weeks earlier this season, going 1-1 with a 5.68 ERA in relief. Sergio Mitre, hit hard in his major league debut Tuesday night in Atlanta, was sent back to Double-A West Tenn. ... New CF Kenny Lofton said he grew up in East Chicago, Ind., a Cubs fan because he'd come home from school and they'd always be on TV. His grandmother's favorite player was Jody Davis but Lofton liked Leon Durham. ... Lofton, who's been to known to run into walls chasing fly balls, said he knows that there's brick behind the ivy at Wrigley Field. "I'm always aware it's there," he said. ... Manager Dusty Baker said the Cubs have been trying to swing a deal the last month to six weeks, proving how difficult it can be to make trades. "I'm glad we didn't mortgage all of the future for the present to make this deal," he said of the trade that brought Lofton and Ramirez from the Pirates.
Pirates-Reds PITTSBURGH: Manager Lloyd McClendon doesn't think the Pirates will be devastated by the loss of two regulars and their top two relievers through trades in the last three days. "Do you think they're going to lay down? Those guys are better men than that," McClendon said Wednesday. "Sometimes, it's how you act, how you get up and deal with adversity that determines who you are. I think our guys will dust themselves off and be ready tonight and the night after that and the night after that." McClendon understands fans' frustrations over another roster overhaul. They entered the season convinced they could have their first winning season since 1992. "Nobody is more frustrated than me," he said. "Nobody is tied into this more than me. I realize it's been 10 years. I realize that I'm the last guy in uniform from that team." ... RHP Brandon Lyon, acquired from Boston on Tuesday as part of a trade for reliever Scott Sauerbeck, didn't join the team in time for the game. ... INF Jose Hernandez, obtained from the Cubs as part of another trade, struck out in his first two at-bat with the Pirates. He leads the NL in strikeouts. ... C Jason Kendall had his appeal of a three-game suspension heard. Kendall got the penalty for his part in a brawl with Tampa Bay on June 13.
CINCINNATI: OF Jose Guillen had a hearing on his two-game suspension for bumping plate umpire Matt Hollowell on June 25 at St. Louis. During the half-hour hearing, Guillen argued he shouldn't be penalized for the bump. "I don't think I did anything wrong," he said. "It's looking good, so we'll see." ... 2B D'Angelo Jimenez singled and doubled in his first two at-bats. He has hit safely in each of his first 13 games with the Reds, a career-high hitting streak. The Reds got him from the White Sox in a trade on July 6. ... Ken Griffey Jr. visited the clubhouse before the game wearing a protective boot on his right foot. He tore a tendon in the ankle and is out for the season. He'll also have shoulder surgery in a few weeks. He said he has never thought about retiring during his series of injuries over the last three years. "I'm 33. If I was like 40, yeah. But I'll come back. The shoulder is not that bad. The ankle is going to heal. I'll come back next year ready to go."
HOUSTON: RF Richard Hidalgo was hitting .452 with four home runs in seven games against the Brewers. In his career, he is hitting .311 with 17 home runs and 51 RBI in just 228 at bats. "I have felt confident and have hit pretty good (against Milwaukee), but I guess I have to keep going, doing better every day," he said. ... Eric Bruntlett started at SS for the third time in the team's last five games. Since having his contract purchased from Triple-A New Orleans on June 25, he is hitting .273. ... The Astros are 50-2 when leading after eight innings. Closer Billy Wagner has converted 29 of 32 save opportunities.
MILWAUKEE: 3B Wes Helms was back in the starting lineup Wednesday night after missing two games with a sore hand. "His hand is still a tad bit swollen, but he's OK," manager Ned Yost said. ... Bill Hall started his second consecutive game at SS with starter Royce Clayton in an 8-for-54 slump. Hall was the team's minor league player of the year in 2000, but had a disappointing season last year, hitting just .228 for Triple-A Indianapolis and .194 in 19 September games with Milwaukee. He was hitting .338 with 29 runs and 15 doubles since June 7 at Indianapolis. The Brewers recalled him this week, and he hit a double and a triple in his first game Tuesday night at Cincinnati. "I'm sticking to the same plan I had at Triple-A while I was hot," he said. "I'm not going to try and overdue things. That's how you get in trouble and that's how I've always gotten into trouble in the past, trying to overdue things." ... Actor Bernie Mac threw out the first pitch. Mac is playing "Stan Ross," a Brewers player in the movie "Mr. 3000" that filmed scenes during Wednesday night's game.
ARIZONA: The Diamondbacks activated OF Danny Bautista and C Rod Barajas from the 15-day disabled list on Wednesday, finally putting their roster near full strength. After a season in which 15 players have been on the DL, the only ones remaining are RHPs Brett Prinz and Mike Koplove. Prinz could be back with Arizona this week, while Koplove is expected to begin a rehabilitation assignment this week. ... With a clubhouse full of healthy bodies, manager Bob Brenly is envisioning a true luxury in Phoenix: an everyday lineup. Almost every day until October, Brenly will use Shea Hillenbrand at first base, Craig Counsell at third and Junior Spivey at second. umm what about Cintron? "This is probably as close as we've had to a regular lineup since I've been here," Brenly said. ... Arizona sent 1B Lyle Overbay and utility man Robby Hammock back to Triple-A Tucson.
SAN FRANCISCO: Three hours before Wednesday night's game, manager Felipe Alou still had no idea who would be the Giants' starting pitcher on Thursday. With injuries to Kirk Rueter and Jason Schmidt slowing down the rotation, San Francisco relied on journeyman reliever Jim Brower on Wednesday night - and Chad Zerbe, another situational reliever, was the odds-on favorite to make Thursday's start. "I won't do anything different with a warmup or anything," Zerbe said. "I can probably throw about 60 pitches. We'll see how it goes." Friday's starter also wasn't certain, though Rueter should be ready to return. ... Rookie RHP Kurt Ainsworth, on the disabled list with a broken right shoulder blade, had a CT scan Tuesday and could begin throwing again as soon as next week, trainer Stan Conte said. But pitching coach Dave Righetti has said he doesn't expect Ainsworth to return this season. ... The Giants acquired RHP Matt Herges from San Diego earlier in the month, and they're in the market for starting pitching before the trade deadline. Such developments are remarkable to Alou, who previously managed the impoverished Montreal Expos. "I'm not used to it," Alou said. "We never got (help). The only guy we ever got was Mark Leiter from the Giants." Incidentally, that trade sent Rueter to San Francisco, where he has been a fixture in the rotation since 1996.