Notes from Thursday's games
August 7, 2003
^AMERICAN LEAGUE< ^Twins-Orioles<
MINNESOTA: SS Cristian Guzman was given Thursday off by manager Ron Gardenhire. Denny Hocking made his seventh start of the season at short in Guzman's place. ... Luis Rivas was caught stealing in the first and third innings by Baltimore catcher Robert Machado, making Rivas the first Minnesota player to be caught stealing twice in the same game this season. ... Dustan Mohr replaced Jacque Jones in left field in the fourth inning. Jones left as a precaution to rest a strained left groin. Mohr moved to right field in the fifth and Shannon Stewart, who started in right, was moved to left. ... Stewart got two hits Thursday and has 13 multihit games since being traded to the Twins from Toronto on July 16. ... Minnesota finished the season with a 17-15 record against the AL East, the first time since 1994 that the Twins finished above .500 against the division.
BALTIMORE: Jack Cust's three-run homer in the fourth inning Thursday was his first hit as a member of the Orioles. Cust's only other major league homer came as a member of the Rockies, on Aug. 2, 2002, against the Cubs. ... RF Jay Gibbons extended his career-best hitting streak to 10 with an RBI single in the first. ... 1B Jeff Conine's double to left in the first was the 1,500th hit of his career. ... RHP Rodrigo Lopez allowed eight hits in 6 2-3 innings Thursday. Lopez has given up eight hits in three of his last four starts ... With his single in the fourth, OF Larry Bigbie has hit safely in nine of 11 games since being recalled from Triple-A Ottawa on July 27.
TEXAS: Texas starter Joaquin Benoit threw 60 pitches, 33 strikes in less than two innings. He walked three and struck out four. ... SS Alex Rodriguez reached 30 homers for the sixth straight season and seventh in his career. ... Texas won the season series against the Yankees 5-4. ... LHP Brian Shouse threw a career-high 3 1-3 innings in relief of Benoit. ... 2B Michael Young led a 10-hit Texas attack with three singles.
NEW YORK: Newly acquired RHP Jeff Nelson struggled in relief in the eighth, walking his first batter, then loading the bases with an error by Jason Giambi. He was booed by Yankees fans in his first game back with the team. ``They boo on ball one. They expect you to strike out everybody and to go 4-for-4 every day. If they can boo Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter, I can get booed, too.'' ... Manager Joe Torre knew Nelson, who pitched for the Yankees from 1996-2000, was emotional. ``I expect Jeff Nelson to be Jeff Nelson, very intimidating on right-handed batters. He's been here in years we won. You don't have to explain it to him.'' ... 2B Enrique Wilson's last grand slam was June 1, 2002, against Boston.
OAKLAND: Barry Zito (8-10) isn't surprised or upset about going from winning the AL Cy Young one year to going seven straight starts and without a win. ``It's a process,'' said Zito, who has a 3.34 ERA. ``If you go out and are aggressive, then you do well. If you go out and you try to be too fine and lose your confidence, you end up getting hit.'' ... Zito may have earned a win, or at least been prevented from losing, if Scott Hatteberg didn't fail to get a bunt down with two on and no outs in the eighth. The next batter, Mark Ellis, singled, and Eric Byrnes got thrown out at home trying to score from second, instead of third. ``I had no excuse,'' Hatteberg said. ``I take pride in being a pretty good bunter and I just popped it up. I can't remember the last time I didn't get one down. I'm horribly frustrated.'' ... OF Jose Guillen, who homered in the third, has a hit in the five games following his debut with Oakland. ... The A's are 19-18 in one-run games.
DETROIT: Manager Alan Trammell said 2B Shane Halter made a key play, but it didn't show up in the box score. Trammell said Halter may have cost Eric Byrnes a step when he tried to score because Halter kept him close to second while faking a pickoff play. ``Little things like that don't always show up, but it did today,'' Trammell said Thursday. ... C Brandon Inge, recalled from Triple-A Toledo on Wednesday, believes he has a good chance to stick in the majors because of his new mental approach. ``I'm relaxed and don't have a care in the world,'' said Inge, who is a solid defensive player. ``Toledo was great for me because it helped me to free my mind. It made me remember why I play this game -- for fun. When you're up here losing a lot, it can start to feel like a job if you let it.'' ... RHP Danny Patterson earned his first save since May 19, 2001, and the fifth of his career. Patterson, who missed 13 months after having elbow surgery, has a 2.08 ERA in nine games since coming off the DL last month.
ANAHEIM: Robb Quinlan on Wednesday became the 12th first baseman in baseball history to play a nine-inning game and not record a putout. ... Thirty-five of Anaheim's 59 losses have been by three or fewer runs, including 14 one-run games.
BOSTON: The Red Sox have homered in each of their last 11 games. The last time they've done that was Sept. 18-28, 2001. They've also homered in 17 of their last 18 games. ... Pedro Martinez needs 28 more strikeouts to match Sandy Koufax for 33rd on baseball's career list. ... DH David Ortiz had 11 extra-base hits in a row.
SEATTLE: RHP J.J. Putz was recalled from Triple-A Tacoma to fill the roster spot of RHP Armando Benitez. Putz, 26, went 0-3 with a 2.67 ERA and five saves in 34 outings. Benitez, acquired Wednesday from the Yankees for Jeff Nelson, remained in New York and will meet the Mariners when they open a three-game series at Yankee Stadium on Friday. ``We heard there was that possibility, so we needed a Plan B,'' manager Bob Melvin said. ... Closer Kazuhiro Sasaki threw a 71-pitch bullpen session and said he would go to Tacoma for another rehab assignment this weekend. ``Overall, it is getting better,'' said the right-hander, who has been out since June 6 with fractured ribs. ``I feel good, but it is not my decision to make. I have to wait and see what (management) says.'' ... 1B John Olerud, who batted just .231 in July, hit .310 over 16 games entering Thursday night. ... RHP Rafael Soriano had 16 strikeouts in the last 21 outs he recorded over a five-game span. He is fifth in the majors in strikeouts per nine innings at 11.93. ... OF Ichiro Suzuki entered play Thursday batting .406 this year and .387 in his career against Cleveland.
CLEVELAND: Manager Eric Wedge had nothing new to report on SS Omar Vizquel, who's been out since having right knee surgery June 12. Vizquel was originally due back in July, but he tore other cartilage in the knee doing rehab work. ``We're still trying to get through this one without surgery,'' Wedge said. ... C Victor Martinez reported to Jacobs Field early Thursday for some extra work with coach Joel Skinner on improving the rookie's footwork on throws to second base. In his first 24 games since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo, Martinez threw out five of 18 runners attempting to steal. ... The Indians' cumulative relief ERA was 3.99 entering play Thursday night -- its lowest point since April 15 and fifth-lowest among AL teams. From July 25 through Wednesday night, Indians relievers allowed only eight earned runs in 32 1-3 innings, a 2.23 ERA. ... British Open champion Ben Curtis is scheduled to throw out the first pitch Friday night before the Indians play the Anaheim Angels.
KANSAS CITY: RHP Kevin Appier joined the Royals on Thursday. Appier signed a deal with his original team Wednesday, just one week after being released by the Anaheim Angels, and will start for the AL-Central leading Royals on Friday. ``I really feel like I've come full circle,'' Appier said. Appier was 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA for Anaheim last season, winning a World Series ring, but he struggled to a 7-7 record with a 5.63 ERA in 19 starts this year while pitching with a partial tear in his elbow. ``It's functional,'' Appier said of his elbow. ``It's been feeling better and steadily getting better.'' ... 1B Mike Sweeney (neck/back irritation) is taking batting practice. ... Several players using a hockey stick took shots with a tennis ball at RHP Jason Grimsley, who donned catcher's gear to play goalie, outside the clubhouse before batting practice.
TAMPA BAY: A group of Devil Rays players and coaches will visit Central Command at Tampa's MacDill Air Force base Friday. ... CF Rocco Baldelli was back in the starting lineup after getting Wednesday off. The rookie entered with just one hit in his previous 16 at-bats, which dropped his average to .299. It's the first time Baldelli has been under .300 since the third game of the season. ... INF Terry Shumpert (right hamstring) is fielding grounders and taking batting practice. ... RHP Jeremi Gonzalez, Friday's scheduled starter, will make his second straight start against Kansas City. He recorded his first complete game since 1998 in a 2-0 loss to the Royals last Sunday.
ATLANTA: LHP Mike Hampton, who has won six consecutive decisions, attributes his recent success to a consistent arm motion. Against the Brewers on Thursday, his sinker was so dominating that he did not allow a batter to get the ball out of the infield until Richie Sexson flied out to right in the fourth, the 13th batter of the game. ``I relied a lot on my sinker,'' he said. ``It felt good.'' ... 3B Vinny Castilla snapped an 0-for-9 string with a second-inning triple and a fourth-inning homer. He didn't get another hit, but said he wasn't thinking about hitting for the cycle. ``If I would have gotten a double I would have,'' he said. ... When 1B Robert Fick hit a fifth-inning sacrifice fly Thursday it gave him 64 RBIs, a career-high.
MILWAUKEE: RHP Mike Jones of Double-A Huntsville, the team's No. 1 choice in the 2001 June draft, will have his tender right elbow examined Friday in Milwaukee. Jones was out from June 28-Aug. 1 with a strained right elbow, but threw 39 pitches over three innings earlier this month. Jones is 7-2 with a 2.40 ERA in 17 games this year. ... After giving up four HRs Wednesday night, RHP Wayne Franklin is now tied with Anaheim's Jarrod Washburn for the lead in home runs allowed, both giving up 27. Brewers RHP Ben Sheets was the early major league leader, but has given up only three HRs in his last 60 2/3 innings. He still has given up 25 HRs this year, tied for third most in the NL. ... IF Enrique Cruz grounded out while pinch-hitting in the sixth inning Thursday and is hitless in his last 22 at-bats.
PHILADELPHIA: Kevin Millwood pitched his fifth complete game of the year. He is 3-2 with a 3.34 in six career starts at Coors Field. ... Manager Larry Bowa has changed his opinion of the wild card. ``I didn't like it at first, but teams are winning 94 games a year to get it,'' Bowa said. ``That's a lot of wins. I wouldn't like it if they added two or three more wild card teams.'' ... The dizziness 3B David Bell experienced the past two days dissipated with a change in medication. ... Jim Thome is hitting .090 (2-for-22) with an RBI insix games at Coors Field.
COLORADO: RHP Nelson Cruz expressed impatience as he waits to come off the DL, where he's been since July 13. ``I feel great and can't wait to get going,'' said Cruz, sidelined with inflammation in his right shoulder. Manager Clint Hurdle said he would wait until Friday after Cruz's next scheduled side session before deciding on a rehab assignment. ... Hurdle has little concern with Tony Womack, who has hit only .196 and has a .212 on-base percentage in 12 games with the Rockies. ``He is not a guy I've lost any sleep over at night worrying about his on-base percentage or batting average,'' Hurdle said. ``We have talked with about having more strike zone discipline and I'm confident that he's going to find the barrel of the bat any day now.'' ... Hurdle was upset with Jay Payton, who ran into an out at third base after hitting a leadoff double. ``The third base coach let him know the infield was in and on a groundball, one-hopper at the second baseman, you can't come over and what happened?'' Hurdle asked. ``There was a one-hopper hit to the second baseman and Jay Payton breaks for third. That's not the way to play the game.''
PITTSBURGH: RHP Salomon Torres, who missed Thursday's starting assignment with a hamstring injury, could make his next scheduled start on Tuesday against St. Louis. ``It's really too early to tell,'' said Pirates' manager Lloyd McClendon. ``It's a day-to-day thing.'' Torres injured himself shagging fly balls in the outfield during batting practice on Wednesday. ``All our pitchers shag as part of their routine,'' said McClendon. Torres was used as a pinch-runner on Tuesday night. ... RHP Brian Meadows has made five appearances, one start, since being recalled from Nashville of the International League on July 23. The lone start turned into a 1-0 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Saturday. He has an ERA of 0.63 since his recall and will make his third appearance against the Rockies on Friday. He's 4-1 with a 2.32 ERA in eight career games against Colorado.
SAN FRANCISCO: 2B Ray Durham will likely miss at least four games because of an injury in his right leg. ``That's a conservative estimate,'' manager Felipe Alou said. ``The DL came up, but not as an immediate possibility.'' With SS Rich Aurilia out after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Monday, the Giants' infield could take on a different look with 3B Edgardo Alfonzo moving to second, Neifi Perez playing short and Pedro Feliz playing third. ``We won't move Alfonzo there for a day; he'll play there for a few days until Ray gets completely healthy,'' said Alou. ``If it's for two weeks, he'll do that. too. For Alfonzo that's a zero transition'' ... RHP Jesse Foppert, who starts against the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday, is 2-0 in three starts since his recall from Triple-A Fresno on July 20. ... OF Barry Bonds had a scheduled day off. ... After not allowing a home run in his first 10 starts, RHP Jerome Williams has allowed a homer in each of his last three starts.
CHICAGO: The Cubs swept the Padres for the first time since 1999, and got their first sweep in San Diego since 1993. ... Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou hit consecutive homers in the Cubs' 9-3 win Thursday, the sixth time this year the Cubs have hit consecutive homers. The previous time was on June 24 against Milwaukee. ... Of Sosa's six hits in 14 lifetime at-bats against Jarvis, five are homers.
SAN DIEGO: After losing three straight to the Cubs, the Padres lost the season series 2-4 to Chicago for the first time since 1999. ... RHP Kevin Jarvis allowed consecutive homers in the third inning. Prior to that, he hadn't allowed a homer in his last 40 innings dating to June 29. ... Jarvis pitched just 3 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since going three innings on July 2, 2002, at St. Louis.
NEW YORK: C Mike Piazza started his rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk on Thursday night as the designated hitter. He's scheduled to catch beginning Friday and play at Norfolk through Tuesday. His first game with the Mets will be against the Giants on Wednesday night at Shea Stadium. ... Joe DePastino was returned to Triple-A Norfolk prior to Thursday's game and P Grant Roberts was activated. Roberts has been recovering from tendinitis in his right shoulder.
HOUSTON: The Astros are slowly getting some injured players healthy. Richard Hidalgo is back in the lineup and went 3-for-5 in his first game back on Wednesday night. ``All is well, thank God,'' Hidalgo said. ``I didn't know if I would be able to play so soon.'' Hidalgo had a hip strain on Saturday. Jose Vizcaino hit off a tee for the first time since breaking his left arm on June 24.
FLORIDA: 1B Derrek Lee was a late lineup scratch due to a sore right shoulder. Andy Fox replaced him in the field and in the sixth slot. ... LHP Dontrelle Willis, who tied the franchise record with his 11th victory as a rookie Wednesday night, is on track to set the franchise rookie record for ERA set of 3.23 by RHP Chuck Smith in 2000. Willis' ERA currently is 2.56. ... The Marlins' bullpen entered the night with a 20 1-3-inning scoreless streak since July 26. During that stretch they've allowed 11 hits with 17 strikeouts and only one walk. ... Juan Encarnacion was 6-for-12 in the first two games of the trip to end a 1-for-21 slump.
ST. LOUIS: Cardinals manager Tony La Russa compared Marlins rookie LHP Dontrelle Willis with Albert Pujols. ``Willis pitches like Albert hits,'' La Russa said. ``It's something that usually doesn't come until you have 1,000 at-bats or 1,000 innings for a pitcher.'' ... RHP Cal Eldred said the ball just slipped out of his hand on a wild pitch that sailed well above the plate and to the screen behind the plate on Wednesday. The Cardinals had been worried that Eldred had reinjured his surgically repaired elbow. ``I scared my wife,'' Eldred said. ``That was like an Arch ball. We all have our own unique abilities.'' ... OF-C Eli Marrero begins a rehab assignment for Triple-A Memphis on Friday. He's been out with torn ligaments in his right ankle since May 11.