Aug. 2, 2003 AP wrote:
BOSTON: 3B Bill Mueller was not in the starting lineup after having a wisdom tooth extracted Friday in Baltimore. Mueller, who sat out Friday's game, is day-to-day but said he was available for pinch-hitting duties if needed. Entering the day, Mueller was second in the AL with a .328 average. ... Damian Jackson made his first two career starts at third base Friday and Saturday. He has played every position except pitcher and catcher this season. ... The Red Sox entered with three straight losses, only the third time this season they'd lost that many in a row. ... OF-DH Manny Ramirez entered one shy of 100 home runs in a Boston uniform, and OF Trot Nixon was two shy. ... OF Johnny Damon was batting .364 (28-for-77) in his last 18 games. ... OF-1B Kevin Millar was hitting .179 (5-for-28) over his last seven games. ... RHP Mike Timlin's 0.76 walks per nine innings led all major league relievers. He had issued five walks (two intentional) in 59 1-3 innings. ... C Jason Varitek was two shy of his career high of 20 homers set in 1999.
BALTIMORE: LF Melvin Mora missed his fifth straight start with a hand injury. Mora did some long tossing before the game, but said he's still at least two days away from gripping a bat. ... Jose Morban started at DH despite a .167 batting average (4-for-24). ... Damian Moss, acquired from San Francisco in the Sidney Ponson trade, will make his debut with the Orioles on Monday against Minnesota. The left-hander threw in the bullpen Saturday in front of manager Mike Hargrove, who said he's already talked to the newcomer about not trying to do too much in his first game at Camden Yards. ... RF Jay Gibbons hit his 29th double in the first inning, matching the career high he set last year. ... SS Deivi Cruz had 13 homers, matching the career high he set in 1999 with Detroit.
DETROIT: The Tigers entered having lost 16 straight against Minnesota. It is the longest losing streak Detroit has had against any opponent. ... Detroit has allowed 20 first-inning runs in the four games of the current road trip. ... Dmitri Young, who has a career-high 22 homers, was kept out of the starting lineup for the third straight game because of nagging leg injuries. He is day-to-day.
MINNESOTA: Since July 19, when he moved permanently into the No. 3 spot in the batting order, Doug Mientkiewicz has a .508 on-base percentage with 17 walks, two strikeouts and a .313 batting average with runners in scoring position. ... RHP Rick Reed had allowed just 1.66 walks per nine innings since entering the majors in 1988. That makes him the active leader among pitchers who have thrown at least 1,000 innings over that period. ... LHP Eric Milton, rehabilitating his surgically repaired left knee, will meet with a specialist Tuesday and hopes to begin throwing off the mound soon after. Milton's goal is to be ready in September.
CLEVELAND: OF Matt Lawton, on the disabled list since July 11 because of a dislocated right middle finger, is scheduled to take batting practice at Jacobs Field on Monday and Tuesday. He is expected to return to the lineup within a couple of weeks. ... Hitting coach Eddie Murray was back with the Indians this weekend, having rejoined the team Friday after a week off to spend time with his family after his induction Sunday into the Hall of Fame. "It was much more enjoyable than I had even anticipated," Murray said.
TEXAS: Manager Buck Showalter would be day-to-day if he had to play. Showalter twisted his right ankle Saturday while running from the clubhouse to the team's video room down the tunnel toward the dugout. His pregame meeting with the media was delayed for a couple of minutes while trainer Jaime Reed wrapped the ankle, which he kept propped up on his desk. General manager John Hart said Showalter was just trying to get an edge for their scheduled golf outing on Monday's off day. "You'd do anything to get an extra stroke," Hart told Showalter. ... Showalter said OF Juan Gonzalez might not play on the road trip next week. Gonzalez is eligible to come off the disabled list Tuesday, but is still limited in his workouts and won't make the trip to New York for the Yankees series. Showalter also conceded that Gonzalez probably won't be in Toronto next week.
TAMPA BAY: The Devil Rays entered with a four-game winning streak, their longest since May 18-22, 2002. The franchise best is a five-game streak Sept. 24-29, 2000. ... Tampa Bay is looking to win back-to-back series after going 10 straight series (0-9-1) without a victory. ... The Devil Rays have clinched their eighth winning road trip (two or more series) in club history. With two wins in the final two games, it would mark the most successful trip (wins and winning percentage) in team history.
KANSAS CITY: Jeff Montgomery, the team's closer from 1989-99, was inducted into the Royals Hall of Fame before the game. He became the 19th member of the Hall, which opened in 1986. Montgomery owns the club record for career saves with 304, 14th best in major league history. He was an All-Star in 1992, '93 and '96. He spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Royals. ... Carlos Beltran's streak of 28 successful steals ended Friday night. He was caught stealing in the sixth inning for the first time since May 9 against Baltimore. He entered Saturday's game leading the AL with 30 stolen bases.
TORONTO: Vernon Wells entered with 28 home runs, already five more than last season's total, and was just six RBIs shy of matching the 100 he had in 2002. He entered August with a .304 average, 25 points higher than last year at that stage. "I think it's just a matter of learning more about the pitchers and more about the game in general," Wells said. "It's a learning process every year. I was able to learn very quickly, and I've just tried to carry that into each at-bat this year. I didn't really set any numbers goals for myself. I just wanted to improve on everything I did last year." ... RHP Corey Thurman made his second major league start. Thurman, who made 41 relief appearances in 2002 for the Blue Jays, spent his entire minor league career as a starter with a 47-44 record and a 3.90 ERA. "I was anticipating being here all season, but I needed to go back to Triple-A and work on some things that they wanted me to work on - like better fastball command and getting my breaking ball over a little bit more," he said.
ANAHEIM: CF Darin Erstad played in his 1,000th major league game, becoming the eighth player to reach that figure in an Angels uniform - including LF Garret Anderson and RF Tim Salmon. The only other outfielder in that group is Brian Downing, who holds the club record at 1,661. "I don't look at 1,000 as that big a deal, because I don't plan on stopping," said Erstad, a former Nebraska punter who made his big league debut on June 14, 1996. "Time flies by pretty quickly. You just get so caught up in everything you're doing, and then it's going to be over. You jump off the train - and the train keeps going. So I'm just fortunate and happy that I've been able to play at least that many games." ... DH Brad Fullmer, who underwent season-ending surgery after rupturing the patella tendon in his right knee on June 26 while grounding out, visited the clubhouse for the first time since. His girlfriend brought him to the ballpark because he still can't drive. He is still at least a couple weeks away from beginning his rehab, but expects to be ready for the start of spring training. "I was proud of never being on the DL before this," said Fullmer, a seven-year veteran. "I've always pushed through aches and pains because, if you're still able to do your job, you've got to stay out there - unless it requires surgery. I didn't let them know it was bothering me that bad because I wanted to keep playing and contributing. The hard part is not being able to do anything." ... RHP Scot Shields, shifted from the bullpen into the starting rotation after Kevin Appier was released Wednesday, starts Sunday night for the fourth time in his career and first time since May 3 at Toronto. "I'm very excited about it," said Shields, who was second among AL relievers with 69 2-3 innings.
CHICAGO: LHP Mark Buehrle goes for his eighth straight win Sunday in Seattle. Buehrle, a 19-game winner last season, lost eight of his first 10 decisions this season. He's now 9-10 and has lowered his ERA to 4.24. ... Bartolo Colon is another Chicago pitcher who has regained his form of late. Colon evened his record at 9-9 with his third straight win Friday at Seattle. Colon, acquired in a trade with Montreal after winning 20 games last season (10 with Cleveland and 10 with Montreal), owns a career record of 94-58 (.618).
SEATTLE: RHP Freddy Garcia, who has struggled much of the year after two consecutive All-Star appearances, said he's "definitely" in the best physical condition of his career and can't explain his problems on the mound. "I stink right now," Garcia said. Garcia was booed loudly at home when he gave up seven runs in 1 2-3 innings - the shortest start of his five-year career - in Friday's 12-1 loss to the White Sox. Garcia was the AL pitcher of the month in June after going 5-0 with a 2.05 ERA, but he's 0-5 with an 11.12 ERA since. Garcia said he's been unaffected by the boos and trade rumors and wants to remain with the Mariners. Seattle manager Bob Melvin said Garcia has "great stuff" and will remain in the starting rotation. Garcia is 9-11 with a 5.57 ERA this season; he was 60-29 with a 3.83 ERA in his previous four seasons. ... The Mariners called up reliever Aaron Looper from Triple-A Tacoma and shipped reliever Aaron Taylor back to Tacoma. Looper was 3-2 with a 3.09 ERA and three saves in 39 games with Tacoma. Taylor was 0-0 with an 8.53 ERA and no saves in 10 games with Seattle after starring for Tacoma earlier this season. Looper is the son of Mariners farm system executive Benny Looper and the cousin of Florida Marlins pitcher Braden Looper. ... The Mariners announced Friday night they were returning INF Luis Ugueto to Double-A San Antonio, but they wound up sending him to Tacoma.
NEW YORK: Timothy Battle, the Yankees' third-round draft pick in June, was diagnosed with B-cell lymphoma - a form of bone cancer - in his left ribcage. The type of cancer the 17-year-old outfielder from Riverdale, Ga., has is believed to be about 90 percent curable. ... All-Star 2B Alfonso Soriano went 1-for-4, but he's still stuck in a 5-for-38 slump. "You just hope he can keep his sanity while this thing runs its course," manager Joe Torre said. ... Here is Jason Giambi's reaction to the Oakland fans' nonstop booing every time he steps to the plate or makes a play in the field: "They wouldn't boo me if they didn't miss me." Giambi left the A's before last season to sign a $120 million, seven-year contract with New York. ... Bernie Williams is having a slow recovery from surgery to repair torn cartilage in his left knee. He still can't stay back properly on his left leg when he's hitting left-handed, which gives him an uneasy feeling at the plate. It didn't hurt much on Saturday, however: He went 4-for-5 with a homer and two RBIs. "It kind of plays on my mind and plays on my confidence a little, but it's just fine-tuning right now," Williams said.
OAKLAND: Eleven members of the A's 1973 championship team gathered for a reunion. Reggie Jackson, Blue Moon Odom, Dick Green, Ray Fosse and manager Dick Williams were among those in attendance. ... C Ramon Hernandez got the day off. Adam Melhuse went 2-for-4 and scored a run in place of the All-Star backstop. ... 2B Mark Ellis extended his hitting streak to a career-high 10 games with a single in the third inning. Ellis has just 11 hits during the streak, however. ... 3B Eric Chavez is in a groove. He went 4-for-4, improving to 18-for-44 (.409) with seven doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs over his last 12 games.
ARIZONA: Diamondbacks manager Bob Brenly will give former Cub Mark Grace a rare start at first base on Sunday. Grace has started just three times in the club's last 36 games. "We don't want to make this an overly dramatic thing, but the reality is that this might be his last game in Wrigley Field," Brenly said. Grace spent 13 seasons with the Cubs. ... RHP Curt Schilling asked Brenly before the game to use him out of the bullpen on Saturday. Schilling pitched only six innings on Friday because of a three-hour rain delay. Schilling was not used Saturday, but Brenly didn't rule out moving up the ace a day or two early. "We will talk about it, I'm sure, but he volunteered to pitch in relief today since he only threw 70-some pitches yesterday, but we haven't really addressed the rotation after three days. We will figure it out," said Brenly.
CHICAGO: The Cubs recalled RHP Sergio Mitre from Double-A West Tennessee and placed Lenny Harris on waivers on Saturday. Mitre will be making his second stint with the Cubs this season. He made his major league debut in a start at Atlanta on July 22 and was hit hard in 3 2-3 innings. Manager Dusty Baker is unsure whether to use Mitre, LHP Shawn Estes or RHP Juan Cruz in the rotation or the bullpen Cruz dammit with RHP Mark Prior due back to start on Tuesday night against the Padres. "We haven't made up our mind but, Shawn has never been in the 'pen and Cruz has. We just have to consider who we are playing against. Shawn certainly deserves another start, too, but you can't start six guys, you can only start five." ... A swarm of gnats annoyed the players and fans during the game. "It bothered everybody," said Baker. "Moises (Alou) got one in the eye today. He got one today and he got one yesterday. I don't know where they came from. I heard they never have been this bad."
COLORADO: The Rockies had never lost a game they led by at least five runs going into the ninth inning until Friday's 12-11 defeat, when the Pirates scored six runs in the ninth. Twice the Rockies have squandered four-run leads in the ninth - last April 2 in an 8-7 loss at Houston and May 23, 1996, in a 7-6 loss to Cincinnati. ... LHP Darren Oliver (9-6) will try to reach 10 wins Sunday for the fifth time in his career. Oliver was 0-5 in his first eight road starts this season but is 4-1 on the road since then.
PITTSBURGH: The Pirates' six-run ninth inning in their 12-11 victory Friday marked their first win of the season when trailing after eight innings. They had been 0-48 in that situation and had lost 50 consecutive games when trailing after eight. ... Manager Lloyd McClendon said that RHP Mark Corey, recalled late Friday from Triple-A Nashville, won't necessarily be the team's new closer. Corey was leading the Pacific Coast League in saves with 30. McClendon said Corey will be used in various relief roles.
SAN DIEGO: Phil Nevin made his first start of the season at first base in the opener of the doubleheader, giving Ryan Klesko a rest against lefty Randy Wolf. ... Game No. 2 starter Joe Roa pitched the Phillies' home opener on April 4. ... LHP Oliver Perez will start Sunday as the Padres close out a 10-game road trip. its called an audition...
PHILADELPHIA: LHP Randy Wolf pitched five innings in the opener - his shortest outing in his last five starts. ... Carlos Silva will make his first major league start in the second game of the doubleheader after 111 career relief appearances. ... The Phillies are 4-0 in Vicente Padilla's last four starts. Padilla (10-8, 3.66) starts on Sunday.
ST.LOUIS: Albert Pujols matched his career high with a 17-game hitting streak during which he is batting .403 (27-for-67). ... Pujols hit his 30th homer Saturday and became the first player since Jose Canseco (1986-88) to hit 30 or more homers his first three full seasons in the majors. ... Brett Tomko came into Saturday's game with the highest batting average among NL pitchers (.314) but was 0-for-2. ... 2B Bo Hart has hit safely in 30 of his 40 games since being called up from Memphis June 19 and his .322 average is tops among NL rookies. He leads New York's Jason Phillips by five points). ... Mike Matheny's three-run double in the seventh inning Saturday was his second such hit in a week. He also did it Monday night at Montreal.
NEW YORK: RHP Jeremy Griffiths was called up from Triple-A Norfolk after Saturday's loss. He will start Sunday vs. St. Louis. Griffiths is 0-1 with the Mets this season. ... SS Jose Reyes has hit in 13 of his last 15 games and his hitting .354 (23-for-65) in those 15 games. ... RF Roger Cedeno had a season-high four hits, all singles. He is hitting .393 (11-for-28) in his last nine games. ... Jay Bell flied out as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning and is now 1-for-13 as a pinch-hitter.
SAN FRANCISCO: The Giants are 11-5 since the All-Star break, but have lost three in a row for the first time since mid-June. Their season high is a five-game losing streak from May 10-14. ... They haven't been swept in Cincinnati since 1994. ... Despite the recent downturn, the Giants are 68-42, their best record after 110 games since 1993. ... Barry Bonds hit his 34th homer, most in the majors, off RHP Josh Hall in the second. Bonds' 647th career homer left him 13 behind Willie Mays for third place on the career list. ... It was Bonds' first homer at Great American Ball Park, completing his collection. He has homered in each of the 31 ballparks he has played in. Bonds had great success at the Reds' old place - his 31 homers at Cinergy Field were the most by any opponent. ... The Giants called up RHP Dustin Hermanson from Triple-A Fresno to start the final game of the series on Sunday. Hermanson was 1-2 with a 5.46 ERA in 23 relief appearances for St. Louis earlier this season. He faced the Reds at Great American Ball Park on May 5, started the bottom of the ninth and gave up a leadoff homer to Aaron Boone as the Reds won 5-4.
CINCINNATI: 2B D'Angelo Jimenez has hit safely in 20 of his 22 games with the Reds, who got him from the White Sox in a July 6 trade. He hit his first homer of the season on Saturday. ... 1B Sean Casey lunged into the stands to catch a foul pop behind first base in the fifth inning, drawing an ovation. ... RHP Josh Hall gave up four hits in five innings of his big league debut. Interim manager Dave Miley wasn't sure whether Hall, who was called up from Double-A, would get another start. ... Hall had a contingent of 37 relatives and friends in the stands.
LOS ANGELES: The Dodgers will sure be glad to get back home. They have lost seven of eight games on their current road trip, which wraps up Sunday with the finale of a three-game series at Turner Field. Los Angeles has scored only 11 runs in those eight games, getting shut out three times while severely damaging its playoff hopes. "This is not good," said catcher Paul Lo Duca, who called Sunday's game "a must-win." The Dodgers dropped below .500 (54-55) for the first time since May 6. Amazingly, Los Angeles was 15 games above .500 and tied for first in the NL West on June 21. Since then, the Dodgers are 10-26. ...
ATLANTA: CF Andruw Jones didn't play because of a strained right oblique. He homered Friday night but came out of the to come out of the game after the fourth inning because of the pain caused by his swing. Manager Bobby Cox decided to give Jones the day off before he even came to the ballpark. "I don't know what it is," said Jones, who was hurt during a series at Montreal last weekend. "It just hurts when I swing." . uh oh .. Darren Bragg, who filled in for Jones, went 2-for-4, giving him 12 hits in his last 19 at-bats. Bragg is still hitting just .234, but that number is impressive considering he started the season 14-of-92 (.152). ... The Braves failed to hit a homer, leaving them with 163 for the season. They are just one shy of their total for all of 2002. ... Atlanta improved to 25-7 in day games. ... With t victory, the Braves have the best record after 110 games (73-37) in franchise history. The 1998 team was 72-38 at this point in the season.
HOUSTON: Houston pitchers have thrown 29 wild pitches, fewest in the National League. ... RHP Dan Miceli, whose complaints while with the Marlins contributed to the firing of manager John Boles in 2001, drew jeers when he entered in the fifth.
FLORIDA: RHP Jeff Allison, the Marlins' first-round draft pick in June, made his professional debut Friday for the Gulf Coast League Marlins and pitched two hitless innings. ... LHP Dontrelle Willis (10-2) has the best winning percentage among major league pitchers with at least 10 victories.
MILWAUKEE: 30-year-old RHP David Manning made his major league debut Saturday night. Manning, whose contract was purchased from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday, is the oldest pitcher to debut in the majors as a starter since Masato Yoshii, who was two weeks shy of his 33rd birthday when he debuted with the New York Mets on April 5, 1998. ... The Brewers are 3-5 on a 10-game road trip. Milwaukee is in a stretch of 16 out of 18 games on the road.
MONTREAL: A crowd of 22,180 was on hand to see new Hall of Famer Gary Carter honored by the team in a pregame ceremony. Carter, accompanied by his wife, daughter, and son-in-law, was cheered throughout the 35-minute ceremony. ... 2B Jose Vidro was a late scratch because of inflammation in the patellar tendon in his right knee. Vidro had started four straight games since missing five of six starts with a strained right knee