Aug. 2, 2003 AP wrote:
BOSTON: RHP Scott Williamson, acquired from Cincinnati on July 29, joined the club in Baltimore. The Red Sox optioned RHP Jason Shiell to Triple-A Pawtucket to make room for the 1999 NL Rookie of the Year. Boston plans to use Williamson as a setup man for closer Byung-Hyun Kim. "Willy gives us strength in that department. In case we come across a day where BK has thrown some innings and can't go the next day we've got some good options here," manager Grady Little said. ... The early flight from Texas couldn't end soon enough for 3B Bill Mueller, who received treatment early Friday for an impacted tooth. "He had a rough morning. He was nearly blinded with pain from a wisdom tooth," Little said. ... Although the Red Sox failed to hit .300 in July for the first month since April, their .277 average was tied for fourth in the AL. The team was batting .294 through Thursday. The last major league team to finish the season with a higher batting average was the 1950 Red Sox, who hit a club-record .302.
BALTIMORE: Orioles manager Mike Hargrove says the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline is more an issue with the fans than the players. "I don't think anybody has been sitting on pins and needles waiting for this thing to be over with. It's just one of those processes that takes place," Hargrove said Friday, one day after Orioles ace Sidney Ponson was dealt to San Francisco. "Now we're in the second phase of that, the waiver deals. It's part of the scenery." ... The Orioles went 15-10 in July, the second-best record in the AL behind Chicago (17-9). It is the fourth time they've had a winning record in a month since going 20-8 in September 1999. ... Baltimore had raised its batting average 28 points to .278 over its last 63 games. ... Newly acquired RHP Kurt Ainsworth (stress fracture of the right shoulder) gives the Orioles 10 players on the DL, including six on the 60-day DL. Ainsworth joins B.J. Surhoff (strained left quad), David Segui (sprained right wrist) and Omar Daal (tendinitis, left rotator cuff) on the 15-day DL. ... The game was delayed 14 minutes because of rain.
DETROIT: OF Dmitri Young was kept out of the starting lineup because of nagging leg injuries. He is expected to be the DH on Saturday. ... The Tigers are the only team in the majors that has not sent a pitcher from the active roster to the disabled list at any time during the regular season. Still, the healthy staff has posted a 28-78 record. ... Detroit plays 17 of its next 23 games against teams from the AL West, with the other six coming against Minnesota. The Tigers have lost 35 of their last 47 games against AL West teams dating to last season. ... Rookie starter Jeremy Bonderman entered last in the majors in run support with an average of 2.70 runs per start.
MINNESOTA: 3B Corey Koskie took batting and fielding practice for the second straight day. Koskie has been on the disabled list since July 12 with a sore back, and is not expected back for a few more days. ... Twins starters entered with just eight wins in their previous 42 starts.
CLEVELAND: OF Jody Gerut has started in every position in the lineup except the ninth spot. The rookie batted third Friday night. ... Going into Friday's night game, OF Milton Bradley led the AL in on-base percentage. The last Indians player to lead the league in that category was former 1B and current Baltimore manager Mike Hargrove in 1981. ... Cleveland is 19-44 this season against teams at .500 or better.
TEXAS: It's unlikely OF Juan Gonzalez will be ready to return when he's eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday. Manager Buck Showalter said he doesn't expect Gonzalez to play when the Rangers are at Yankee Stadium next week. Gonzalez has been on the DL since July 20 with a strained right calf and has not yet resumed baseball activities. ... SS Alex Rodriguez's game-winning grand slam Thursday night against the Red Sox was the second of his career - the other coming July 27, 2002, against Oakland. He is the only active big leaguer with two walk-off grand slams and just the 11th player in major league history to accomplish the feat.
TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays called up RHP Chad Gaudin and LHP Jon Switzer from Double-A Orlando, and placed INF-OF Terry Shumpert on the 15-day DL with a right hamstring strain (retroactive to July 31). The other roster spot was available with the departure of RHP Al Levine, who was traded to Kansas City on Thursday. Gaudin (20 years, five months) is the youngest active pitcher in the majors and the youngest player in Devil Rays history. He was a combined 7-3 with a 1.81 ERA in 17 starts combined for Class-A Bakersfield and Orlando. Switzer was 7-8 with a 3.50 ERA in 21 starts with Orlando. Both were selected in the 2001 draft. Neither has pitched above Double-A. ... The Devil Rays finished July 14-12, the third-best month in club history.
KANSAS CITY: All-Star 1B Mike Sweeney will begin a rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha on Saturday. Sweeney has been on the DL since June 19 with nerve irritation in his neck and back. ... The Royals optioned RHP Sean Lowe to Omaha to make room for RHP Al Levine, who was acquired from Tampa Bay on Thursday. Levine 3-5 with a 2.90 ERA in 36 games for Tampa Bay. Lowe was 1-1 with a 6.25 ERA in 28 games for Kansas City. ... Friday's game was the first of the season between the Royals and Devil Rays. They play four games against each other in Tampa Bay next weekend. ... The Royals were 15-11 in July, their first winning July since 1996.
TORONTO: RHP Roy Halladay (15 straight wins) entered needing a victory to tie former Blue Jay Roger Clemens and five others - including Hall of Famers Walter Johnson and Lefty Grove - for the third-longest winning streak in one season. The record is 19 straight, shared by two New York Giants pitchers - Tim Keefe (1888) and Rube Marquard (1912). "The thing that amazes me the most has been his consistency and the way that he's grown into that role," manager Carlos Tosca said. "His determination, his poise, the way he stays locked in and just keeps pitching, and the fact that he doesn't get affected by what's happening around him is incredible. He's undaunted by anything. He's got a chance to be one of those special guys because of his talent and his makeup - the whole package that he brings." ... The Blue Jays flew from Toronto to Anaheim for a three-game series, after which they fly back across country to Tampa Bay for their next three - and then back home for a three-game homestand before jetting back to the West Coast for six games in Seattle and Oakland before going back to Toronto. "It's going to be a tough two weeks, I'll tell you that," CF Vernon Wells said. "We didn't like seeing the schedule that way. It's going to be taxing, definitely, but you've got to deal with it. We just had a four-hour trip to turn into a seven-hour trip to start this whole thing off. We ran into some unexpected winds and used up a little more gas than we expected, so we had to stop in Phoenix and sat there for two hours." ... Carlos Delgado's sore knees have improved after staying off the artificial turf at SkyDome. The major leagues' RBI leader was back at 1B after four games in the DH role.
ANAHEIM: RHP Aaron Sele has lowered his ERA from 7.01 on June 24 to 4.88 - the lowest it's been since he gave up a run over 5 2-3 innings in his season debut May 9. His season was delayed because of rotator cuff surgery last October. "I don't really know," Sele said when asked for an explanation. "I mean, anytime you come off of surgery, you've got to expect to have ups and downs - especially early in the year." ... RF Tim Salmon started as the DH after sitting out the entire three-game series against the Yankees because of back problems. Almost all the Angels' regular position players and DH Brad Fullmer have been injured. Only LF Garret Anderson and 1B Scott Spiezio have been healthy all season. "Last year we avoided all that kind of stuff, for the most part, and that's the difference," Salmon said. "I mean, I've been on a lot of teams here that have gotten banged up and have fallen short. And there's a common denominator there. When you're not at full strength, it does make a difference."
CHICAGO: The White Sox will recall RHP Dan Wright from Triple-A Charlotte to start Saturday night against the Mariners. Wright was optioned to Charlotte on July 11 after going 0-4 with a 5.93 ERA with the White Sox. ... The White Sox arrived in Seattle with a four-game winning streak and victories in 12 of their last 13 games. They completed a three-game sweep in Kansas City on Thursday night to close within one game of the Royals in the AL Central. The White Sox were 17-9 in July for the best record in the AL and their most victories in July since going 19-10 in 1994. In the month, the White Sox hit .291 and averaged 6.2 runs a game, both bests in the league, while hitting 51 home runs. Carlos Lee, Paul Konerko and Magglio Ordonez each had 24 RBIs in July. Lee hit nine home runs, Frank Thomas eight and Konerko and Ordonez seven apiece. Ordonez batted .429 in the month, tops in the AL.
SEATTLE: RHP Freddy Garcia's name was often mentioned in trade rumors leading up to Thursday's deadline. "All this has passed for him now and he knows he's going to be here," Mariners manager Bob Melvin said before Garcia started against the White Sox. "We welcome him here because he's a big part of what we've done and he's a reason why we are in first place four games up on Aug. 1." ... Melvin said he isn't sure when 3B Jeff Cirillo will be ready to return to the team. Cirillo was placed on the 15-day disabled list July 25 because of a partially dislocated right shoulder. Cirillo, hitting .210 with two homers and 22 RBIs in 82 games this season, was sent to Peoria, Ariz., where the Mariners have their spring training facilities. He isn't able to throw yet, but he's playing in games with the Peoria Mariners, a team in the rookie Arizona League. "He's swinging the bat down there now and he's DH-ing in some games," Melvin said. "We'll re-evaluate where he is at the end of the 15-day period. But we absolutely expect him back this year."
NEW YORK: The Yankees hope new acquisition David Dellucci will be a stolen-base threat - and he came through Friday night, stealing second in the third inning. "He's a threat," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "It will be nice to have another one." ... Torre juggled his lineup, moving slumping All-Star Alfonso Soriano from the leadoff spot to eighth. Derek Jeter took over at leadoff, and Bernie Williams hit second. "Soriano has been trying too hard," Torre said. "(Leadoff) isn't the easiest place to break out of a slump." ... RHP Jose Contreras will continue his rehab in Tampa until Aug. 21, according to Torre. Contreras, out since June 7 with a strained right shoulder, is scheduled to throw batting practice Saturday. ... New 3B Aaron Boone hit sixth in his Yankees debut, striking out in his first at-bat. Boone was acquired from Cincinnati on Thursday for two minor leaguers and $1 million.
OAKLAND: RF Jose Guillen hit fifth in his Oakland debut, striking out in his first at-bat with the team that acquired him from Cincinnati for three pitchers Wednesday. Guillen will be the A's everyday right fielder until further notice, manager Ken Macha said. ... The A's put RHP Jim Mecir on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his right knee, and purchased the contract of RHP Chad Harville from Triple-A Sacramento. Mecir has struggled all season with injuries to both knees, which prevent him from fielding his position or pushing off the mound effectively. He had a cortisone shot in his right knee earlier in the week, but still isn't healthy enough to pitch. "We tried as hard as we could to get him ready to pitch," Macha said. "It just wasn't working." ... Macha plans to shuffle his rotation over the final two months of the season to give as many starts as possible to Tim Hudson, Barry Zito and Mark Mulder. That could mean a switch in the order next week in Detroit, though Macha hasn't announced anything yet. Hudson pitched the opener of Oakland's three-game series against the Yankees on Friday.
ARIZONA: The Diamondbacks lost their team-record 10th in a row on the road Friday. After this weekend, they play 19 of their next 26 games at Bank One Ballpark. ... 1B Mark Grace spent 13 years with the Cubs and said it's strange returning to Wrigley Field two years after leaving Chicago. "I still walk in the entry and want to take a left (to the Cubs clubhouse), and then go 'Oh wait, I got to go to the right,"' he said. "It's a special place over there, that clubhouse and this ballpark." Grace's role has been severely diminished this year, but he said he doesn't know if it will be his final season. He said he's considering becoming a broadcaster but would prefer to coach, and ideally would come back to Arizona for one more year. "The perfect world, that would be what I'd want to do. The competitor in me, the love for the game in me, would love to have another year of playing." His biggest worry is being unceremoniously let go. "I either want to go out on a stretcher or out in a retirement game. I don't want to go out on the waiver wire."
CHICAGO: Manager Dusty Baker defended Carlos Zambrano a day after San Francisco's Barry Bonds expressed displeasure with the pitcher for celebrating after getting Bonds out with the bases loaded. "I'm not for overexuberence, excitement, showing up the opposition. But in that situation, I understand the joy that Carlos felt," he said. "I'd rather have that and calm him down than have a guy that you have to press and prod and shock to show some excitement." ... Sammy Sosa hit .305 in July with 13 homers and 29 RBIs in 26 games. It was the 20th time in his career he had double-digit home runs in a month.
COLORADO: The Rockies are coming off back-to-back winning months for the first time since August and September 2001. They have never had three consecutive winning months. ... RHP Jason Jennings is scheduled to make his team-leading 24th start of the season Saturday. ... The starting time for Saturday's game at PNC Park was been changed from 7:05 p.m. to 6:35 p.m.
PITTSBURGH: RHP Brian Meadows will make a spot start Saturday against the Rockies, his second start of the season. ... C Jason Kendall returned to the lineup Friday after serving a three-game suspension for his part in a brawl June 14 at Tampa Bay. Kendall's appeal of his suspension wound up costing him a game. He also was fined $1,000. ... Manager Lloyd McClendon said he expects that 2B Freddie Sanchez, acquired from the Boston Red Sox on Thursday, will be recalled at some point this season from Triple-A Nashville. McClendon declined to make a prediction as to when. ... The Pirates are expected to recall a pitcher, perhaps left-handed Mike Gonzalez, from Nashville on Saturday. ... LF Brian Giles, often the subject of trade talk, on still being a Pirate: "I'm surprised we didn't make more moves." so am I Brian.
MILWAUKEE: 3B Wes Helms didn't start for the third time in four games after reaggravating a right hamstring injury Thursday. Helms is day-to-day, though unlikely to play this weekend. ... LHP Wayne Franklin is 0-1 with a 6.23 ERA in three career games against the Expos. ... Brewers relievers have allowed just one earned run in their last 10 innings. Milwaukee pitchers maintained a 2.06 ERA as the Brewers won three of four in New York.
MONTREAL: The Expos are expecting a crowd of 25,000 Saturday night as the team honors new Hall of Famer Gary Carter. Carter, the first player to go into the Hall as an Expo when he was inducted last Sunday, will address the crowd and throw out the first pitch. The team will make a presentation to Carter and randomly distribute 5,000 commemorative coins, along with 100 baseballs autographed by Carter.
SAN DIEGO: The Padres play their first doubleheader of the season on Saturday night. Joe Roa (1-2, 5.14 ERA) pitches against his former team in Game 2. Roa, who started Philadelphia's home opener, also pitched for Colorado after being released by the Phillies. Jake Peavy (8-8) will start the first game. ... The Padres went 14-12 in July, their first winning month since April 2002.
PHILADELPHIA: Struggling LF Pat Burrell was out of the lineup for the second time in three games after striking out three times Thursday night. Burrell, a right-handed slugger, has just one RBI against left-handers this season. ... RHP Carlos Silva makes his first career start in Game 2 of Saturday night's doubleheader. Silva is 3-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 43 relief appearances. All-Star Randy Wolf (11-5) will start the first game. ... 1B Jim Thome returned to the lineup after missing one game with a strained groin. ... Kevin Millwood made it past the fourth inning for the first time in three starts Friday night.
ST. LOUIS: Albert Pujols, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds and Edgar Renteria are all on pace to finish with over 100 RBIs. St. Louis has never had more than two players with 100 RBIs in the same season. The last time three Cardinals approached the mark was 1987 with Jack Clark (106), Willie McGee (105) and Terry Pendleton (96).
NEW YORK: C Mike Piazza, on the disabled list since May 17 with a severely strained right groin, completed most of his planned workout Friday before rain forced the grounds crew to cover the field. Piazza practiced handling bunts and popups and also worked on throwing to second and third. "I'm excited to be back on the field," Piazza said. The Mets' catcher expected to join Triple-A Norfolk in time to play next Friday night, and manager Art Howe said Piazza could be back with the Mets by Aug. 12 if all goes well. In addition to his catching drills, Piazza said he has also been taking grounders and will continue doing so in case he is needed at first base when he returns. Either way, he doesn't figure to immediately recapture his power stroke. "I'm going to struggle," Piazza said. "I know that. It's something I've got to be patient with." ... Howe said he doesn't expect LHP Tom Glavine to make his scheduled start Sunday. Glavine, who left Tuesday night's outing after one inning because of a right ribcage strain, conceded that he'll probably have to miss at least one start. "At this point I would say it's kind of iffy at best," Glavine said. "Unlikely is probably a better scenario. I'd have to come in here tomorrow 1,000 percent better. Even then it probably wouldn't be the smartest thing to do." Howe said the Mets have not decided on another starter for Sunday.
SAN FRANCISCO: LHP Kirk Rueter went on the 15-day DL after tests determined that he has a strained pitching shoulder. LHP Jeff Urban was called up from Triple-A Fresno. Rueter was scratched from his scheduled start Thursday in Chicago because of a stiff shoulder. He was sent back to San Francisco for tests. ... Urban was with the Giants from April 27-29 and didn't appear in a game before being sent back to Fresno. He was 3-7 with a 5.08 ERA in 17 starts and five relief appearances at Fresno. ... Sidney Ponson, obtained from Baltimore in a trade Thursday, won't make his first start for the Giants until next week. ... Manager Felipe Alou still hadn't decided who will start for the Giants on Sunday night. He said one option is to call up Dustin Hermanson from Fresno. ... J.T. Snow was out of the lineup for his sixth straight game because of a strained groin.
CINCINNATI: The Reds plan to call up RHP Josh Hall from Double-A Chattanooga to take Dempster's scheduled start Saturday against the San Francisco Giants. Hall was a seventh-round pick in the June 1998 draft, and will be making his major league debut. ... The Reds considered calling up LHP Brandon Claussen, obtained Thursday from the New York Yankees as part of the deal for third baseman Aaron Boone. They decided to leave him at Triple-A Louisville for now. Claussen took a line drive off his shin in his last start for Triple-A Columbus, a major factor in the decision. "With the line drive off his shin, people didn't think he'd be ready to pitch on Saturday," interim manager Dave Miley said.
LOS ANGELES: RHP Andy Ashby (2-8), who pitched part of 2000 with Atlanta, gets his 10th start of the season Saturday. In his last outing, he gave up one run on five hits in seven innings but lost to Arizona 1-0. It will be his first appearance against the Braves.
ATLANTA: Atlanta is on pace to hit 243 home runs, six short of the NL record set by the Houston Astros in 2000. ... C Henry Blanco, in a 6-for-38 slump, singled in his first at-bat Friday night. Blanco was in the lineup to catch RHP Greg Maddux. ... Friday was the 25th anniversary of the end of Pete Rose's 44-game hitting streak - the longest in National League history - which the Braves snapped. Larry McWilliams and Gene Garber did the trick as Atlanta beat the Cincinnati Reds 16-4 in 1978.
HOUSTON: LF Lance Berkman returned to the lineup after missing two games with a sore right knee. ... RHP Jared Fernandez was scheduled to join the team from Triple-A New Orleans on Friday evening, and could be considered for late-inning relief before his Sunday start against the Marlins, said manager Jimy Williams.
FLORIDA: 1B Derrek Lee played in his first game since a shoulder injury ended his consecutive game streak at 315. In the clubhouse before Friday night's game, some Marlins reserve players poked fun at Lee for not showing enough enthusiasm on the bench. "I just don't like being on the bench," Lee shot back. ... RF Juan Encarnacion also returned to the lineup after sitting out one game with bruised forearm after being hit by a pitch. ... Rookie sensation LHP Dontrelle Willis has also been a hit on TV. Wednesday night's game against the Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks drew Fox Sports Net Florida's highest rating in six years.