Notes from Monday's games
August 4, 2003
^AMERICAN LEAGUE< ^Twins-Orioles<
MINNESOTA: 3B Corey Koskie was in the starting lineup, one day after being activated from the 15-day disabled list. Koskie had been sidelined since July 20 with a strained lower back. ... With Koskie returning to third, Luis Rivas was left out of the lineup despite going 3-for-5 Sunday against Detroit with a triple and an RBI. ... RF Michael Restovich was dropped one spot in the batting order. In six previous starts since being recalled from Triple-A Rochester on July 29, Restovich hit seventh. ... Doug Mientkiewicz homered in the first inning and has hit in 14 of his last 21 games.
BALTIMORE: LHP Eric DuBose could make his second start of the season Friday in Boston, when the Orioles face the Red Sox in a doubleheader. Manager Mike Hargrove will start Rick Helling and either DuBose or Travis Driskill, both of whom are currently in the bullpen. ... LF Melvin Mora missed his seventh straight start with a hand injury. Mora gripped a bat Monday for the first time in nearly a week, but there's a chance he could end up on the disabled list. ``It still hurts him; we'll decide sometime within the next two or three days if we'll disable him,'' Hargrove said. ... Damian Moss retired his first two batters in his Orioles debut, then gave up a homer to Doug Mientkiewicz.
Blue Jays-Devil Rays
TORONTO: RHP Cliff Politte, who came off the disabled list July 25, does not necessarily have a defined role as the team's primary closer -- but he probably will keep getting many of the save opportunities. Politte came in leading the team with 12 saves. ``It's nice to have him there because it structures our bullpen better,'' manager Carlos Tosca said. ``He's a guy that's got the equipment to pitch that inning.'' ... Tosca is looking for the Blue Jays to be more consistent over the final two months of the season. Toronto played well in May (21-8) and June (15-11), but struggled in April (10-18) and July (8-17). ``I don't think we're as bad as we were in April and July or probably as good as we were in May and June,'' Tosca said. ``We're somewhere in the middle there and I'm hoping that's going to happen in the next two months.'' ... RHP Bob File, on the disabled list with a right shoulder injury, made his third appearance with Triple-A Syracuse on Sunday. He has allowed one run in three innings overall.
TAMPA BAY: Manager Lou Piniella admitted he misses being in the pennant race. In his first season with the Devil Rays, the challenge facing Piniella is trying to avoid 100 losses. ``This is a different kind of fun,'' Piniella said. ``I look forward to seeing our young kids play, seeing them improve. The only thing that has been tough on me here has been the losing. It wears on you some. I'd like to see us finish as strong as possible.'' ... OF Carl Crawford had an AL-best 33 steals through Sunday. Piniella said Crawford has the tools to steal 50 bases a season. ``He likes stealing bases,'' Piniella said. ``He likes being aggressive.'' ... Piniella will probably give rookie pitchers Jon Switzer and Brandon Backe an opportunity to start a game before the season ends. ... SS B.J. Upton, taken second overall in the 2002 draft, went 3-for-8 with three RBIs in his first two games with Double-A Orlando last weekend.
KANSAS CITY: 1B Mike Sweeney rejoined the team but was held out of the lineup after feeling stiffness in his upper back following a minor league rehabilitation game. Sweeney, out since June 19 with tightness in his upper back, spent the weekend with Triple-A Omaha. He homered and doubled Sunday, but said his back tightened up on him Monday afternoon. Manager Tony Pena said he didn't know when Sweeney would be back in the lineup. ``When he got up he was fine, but as soon as he got to the airport he felt some of the stiffness and soreness in the same area,'' Pena said. Sweeney was hitting a team-high .321 with 12 homers and 50 RBIs in 60 games before the injury. He has missed the last 43 games. ... Pena said he was encouraged to see the Royals take two of three from Tampa Bay after Kansas City was swept by the White Sox last week. It was Chicago's first sweep in Kansas City since 1991. ``The good thing is what we did after that. We could have put our head between our legs and said, 'OK, that's it. We're done,''' he said. ... Kansas City opened a seven-game road trip. The Royals play three games in Chicago before a four-game series against the Devil Rays.
CHICAGO: The Royals played in Chicago for the first time since the April 15-17 series when a fan attacked an umpire. It was the second instance of on-field violence by White Sox fans in the last year. Last September, a father and his teenage son charged onto the field during a game against the Royals and attacked Kansas City first base coach Tom Gamboa. Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich recently signed legislation making it a felony punishable by prison time and a minimum fine of $1,000 to disrupt a sporting event. White Sox manager Jerry Manuel said he didn't expect any problems during this series. ``Since those incidents, I think our city has done a good job. The stadium has done a good job. We've hosted the All-Star game. I didn't see anything that was wrong for that event. I thought the city showed itself well,'' he said. ... Magglio Ordonez was named AL player of the month for July after hitting .429 with seven homers and 24 RBIs. Manuel said that if Ordonez keeps it going, he should be considered for MVP honors. Ordonez came in hitting .316 with 21 home runs and 70 RBIs. ``That was a tremendous month at the right time. That's the sign of a good player. If we continue to be in this thing people will have to consider him an MVP candidate. He's been that good offensively and he's been that good defensively,'' Manuel said. ... Tom Gordon had converted six of seven save opportunities since June 6 coming in and had an 0.66 ERA with 18 strikeouts in his last 11 outings.