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July 5, 2000

Transaction Analysis

June 22 - July 3, 2000

by Keith Law and Joe Sheehan

(Ed. note: Chris Kahrl is still getting set up in his new D.C. digs, so Keith and Joe share pinch-hitting duties.)

ANAHEIM ANGELS

Optioned RHP Seth Etherton to Edmonton of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); activated RHP Kent Bottenfield from the 15-day disabled list; placed SS Kevin Stocker on the 15-day disabled list tendinitis in his left knee; purchased the contract of IF Justin Baughman from Edmonton. [6/23]

Seth Etherton pitched well enough to stay, with a league-average performance in six starts. Hopefully he'll get to return quickly as the Angels tire of watching Kent Bottenfield, Tim Belcher and Ken Hill get slapped around, because he's a better pitcher than any of them.

Calling up Justin Baughman instead of Keith Luuloa, who played well in a May cup of coffee, is justified solely by Baughman's ability to play shortstop. Since Benji Gil must be hit for frequently, the Angels have to carry a real backup shortstop. The imaginative solution would be to not bother, and slide Troy Glaus back to his original position while using Scott Spiezio at third base.

ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Placed 1B Alex Cabrera on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left groin; recalled RHP Nelson Figueroa from Tucson of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [7/3]

No sooner did Alex Cabrera pop up on everyone's radar than he fell off again, further exacerbating the D'backs problems with health and scoring runs.

With each passing day, Arizona looks like the best baseball match for Sammy Sosa. They have some prospects to move, the money to pay him, a significant need in an outfield corner and are in a tight race. It will be interesting to see if Jerry Colangelo has the patience to wait for Erubiel Durazo and Matt Williams to return, or runs out and trades more of his future for the quick fix.

ATLANTA BRAVES

Activated SS/2B Rafael Furcal from the 15-day disabled list; optioned IF Mark DeRosa to Richmond of the International League (AAA). [6/29]

Placed LHP Mike Remlinger on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 23, with a stiff left elbow; designated RHP Don Wengert for assignment; recalled RHP Ismael Villegas from Richmond of the International League (AAA); purchased the contract of RHP Dave Stevens from Richmond. [7/2]

Rafael Furcal's return lets Bobby Cox get back to his three-man middle-infield rotation. Both Quilvio Veras and Walt Weiss are prone to minor injuries, so this lets Cox continue to break Furcal in as a semi-regular while giving him a quality backup for the fragile duo.

Mike Remlinger was badly overworked in the season's first six weeks, so this injury--being a called a reaction to the dye used in his MRI--may be a blessing. In his absence, the Braves get to look at yet another of their hard throwers. Ismael Villegas was mildly effective at Richmond while pitching in a variety of roles. He's just holding the spot until Luis Rivera returns.

Dave Stevens? Don Wengert? I guess now that the Braves have upgraded the bench, they're still determined to waste a roster spot on someone.

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Placed 3B Cal Ripken on the 15-day disabled list with inflammation in his lower back; recalled 3B Ryan Minor from Rochester of the International League (AAA); acquired RHP Darren Holmes from the St. Louis Cardinals for future considerations. [6/28]

Purchased the contract of RHP Darren Holmes; optioned RHP Gabe Molina to Rochester of the International League (AAA). [6/29]

This is Cal Ripken's third DL trip in about a calendar year, and combined with his declining performance should have him thinking seriously about retirement. The back problems aren't going anywhere.

The future considerations for Darren Holmes...you figure that's, oh, a good thought or two? Maybe a couple of Orioles bookmarks? A drink at the GM meetings? Holmes had an ERA over 10.00 and was being slapped around to the tune of an 1100 OPS at the time of the deal. In his Oriole debut, he coughed up five runs in an inning.

BOSTON RED SOX

Assigned IF Andy Sheets outright to Pawtucket of the International League (AAA). [6/21]

Recalled RHP John Wasdin from Pawtucket of the International League (AAA); optioned LHP Tim Young to Pawtucket. [6/22]

Optioned RHP Brian Rose to Pawtucket of the International League (AAA); designated RHP Rob Stanifer for assignment; purchased the contract of OF Israel Alcantara from Pawtucket. [6/24]

Placed RF Trot Nixon on the 15-day disabled list with a hamstring injury, retroactive to June 24; recalled OF Morgan Burkhart from Pawtucket of the International League (AAA); recalled OF Michael Coleman from Pawtucket and placed him on the 60-day disabled list. [6/27]

Placed RHP Pedro Martinez on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 26, with a strained oblique muscle; recalled RHP Sang Hoon Lee from Pawtucket of the International League (AAA); acquired 3B Ed Sprague from the San Diego Padres for IF Cesar Saba and RHP Dennis Tankersley. [6/29]

Placed OF Darren Lewis on the 15-day disabled list with a pulled left hamstring; optioned RHP Sang Hoon Lee to Pawtucket of the International League (AAA); recalled RHP Paxton Crawford from Pawtucket. [7/1]

These long TA articles really show you what a transaction addict Dan Duquette is. Most of the shuffling revolved around the pitching staff, spurred by the injury to Pedro Martinez and the continued stagnation of Brian Rose. With those two out, the team used a Pete Schourek/Ramon Martinez/Tim Wakefield/Paxton Crawford/Hipolito Pichardo rotation, with Pichardo apparently getting the boot when Jeff Fassero returns this week. Aside from the fact that Wakefield is back in a role in which he's more likely to succeed (and less likely to whine), there is no positive to be taken from the new alignment. The Sox are going to continue to fall away from the playoff race until they get help.

The trade for Ed Sprague, greeted as a necessary and welcome maneuver by Red Sox Nation, was quickly undercut by a vintage Sprague defensive performance--two errors--in his debut. He's a better hitter than Wilton Veras--so is Dave Pease on Demerol--but is clearly a worse defensive player. Without a lot of strikeout pitchers on the staff, this is probably a net-negative move.

Morgan Burkhart finally got the call, and he hasn't disappointed; in fact, he's almost certainly going to survive the roster cuts this week once Troy O'Leary returns and Bernard Gilkey is activated. Burkhart is passable in left field--better than Izzy Alcantara, who made a fool of himself and Duquette with his indifferent performance in right field on Saturday--and would make an ideal DH. His presence also makes Mike Stanley irrelevant, so while the likely cuts this week will be Alcantara and Curtis Pride, it would make more sense to keep capable center fielder Pride and dump Stanley.

CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Optioned RHP Kip Wells to Charlotte of the International League (AAA). [7/1]

Purchased the contract of RHP Jon Garland from Charlotte of the International League (AAA). [7/3].

This is the first real sign of panic that we've seen from the White Sox. The first Kip Wells demotion had a "let him work things out" feel to it, while this one looks more serious. Wells has scuffled, especially with his command, but sending him out has less to do with his performance and more to do with the team's.

Jon Garland was 9-2 with a 2.26 ERA for Charlotte, but his peripherals were less than impressive (almost a hit an inning, just 63 strikeouts in 103 2/3 innings). He's just 20, and was pitching in the Carolina League at this time last year. This is a very risky player-development move, one that has only a moderate chance to succeed.

CHICAGO CUBS

Activated SS Ricky Gutierrez from the 15-day disabled list; optioned SS Augie Ojeda to Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/23]

Recalled RHP Ruben Quevedo from Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); optioned OF to Iowa. [6/24]

Ricky Gutierrez returned and continued his plummet to earth, going 4-for-31 in his first two weeks back. The handful of people pushing his All-Star candidacy in May have, mercifully, returned to their caves. In his absence, Augie Ojeda showed himself to be a competent backup, and would be a better use of a roster spot than Jeff Huson.

CINCINNATI REDS

Optioned RHP Rob Bell to Louisville of the International League (AAA). [6/24]

Recalled RHP Scott Winchester from Louisville of the International League (AAA). [6/26]

Activated RHP Pete Harnisch; optioned RHP Scott Winchester to Louisville of the International League (AAA). [6/29]

Placed RHP Manny Aybar on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right groin; purchased the contract of RHP Andy Larkin from Louisville of the International League. [7/2]

All the king's horses and all the king's men.... It's becoming apparent that no matter how much shuffling Jim Bowden does, he just doesn't have the horses this season.

Rob Bell will be back. He lost the strike zone about a month ago and never regained it. Once Bowden concedes 2000--and it won't be long now--Bell should be a Red again. The depth of the Reds' pen let Jack McKeon handle him well: Bell accumulated just nine Pitcher Abuse Points in his 15 starts.

CLEVELAND INDIANS

Purchased the contract of LHP Mike Mohler from Buffalo of the International League (AAA); designated RHP Scott Kamieniecki for assignment. [6/23]

Purchased the contract of LHP Alan Newman and LHP Andrew Lorraine from Buffalo of the International League (AAA); designated LHP Mike Mohler and RHP Jaime Navarro for assignment. [6/24]

Activated RHP Paul Shuey from the disabled list; designated LHP Alan Newman for assignment. [6/27]

Recalled RHP Kane Davis from Buffalo of the International League (AAA); optioned RHP Paul Rigdon to Buffalo. [6/28]

Sent LHP Alan Newman outright to Buffalo of the International League (AAA). [7/1]

Analysis of this sort generally supposes an actual plan of action. If you can find one here, feel free to write. John Hart has seven fingers plugging dikes and the other three dialing phones, and it's not working. The Indians are farther from first place than any other second-place team. They're even four games removed from the wild card.

Getting Paul Shuey back should put the end of games in order, with Shuey and Steve Karsay pitching the eighth and ninth. Justin Speier has been phenomenal in middle relief, so the bullpen is rounding into shape. What Hart may need to do is commit to three guys as the ninth, tenth and 11th pitchers on the staff for a few weeks in an attempt to stabilize things. The Duquettian, willy-nilly movement of pitchers isn't doing anything but adding to the Indians' sense of desperation.

COLORADO ROCKIES

Optioned C/IF Adam Melhuse to Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); recalled OF Angel Echevarria from Colorado Springs. [6/28]

Purchased the contract of OF Mike Meggers from Newark of the Atlantic League (Independent) and assigned him to Carolina of the Southern League (AA). [6/29]

Getting Angel Echevarria back to the majors rights a wrong from the tail end of spring training. It also plugs a hole on the Rox bench: while they're getting all kinds of nice publicity with the "speed" approach, they had a real need for a power bat late in games.

Mike Meggers was showing modest power and terrible plate discipline with Rick Cerone's boys, and will just be an organization player with the Rox.

DETROIT TIGERS

Recalled RHP Nelson Cruz from Toledo of the International League (AAA); activated RHP Mark Johnson from the 15-day disabled list and designated him for assignment; optioned RHP Jose Macias to Toledo of the International League (AAA). [6/24]

Rule 5er Mark Johnson should make his way back to the Yankee organization, which needs live arms at the upper levels. Yes, even ones that the Tigers couldn't use.

HOUSTON ASTROS

Placed LHP Billy Wagner on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to Sunday, with a partial tear of the flexor tendon in his left elbow; recalled RHP Jose Cabrera from New Orleans of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/21]

Placed RHP Jay Powell on the 15-day disabled list with tendinitis in his right shoulder; activated RHP Mike Maddux. [6/22]

Fired pitching coach Vern Ruhle and hitting coach Tom McCraw; named Burt Hooton pitching coach and Harry Spilman hitting coach. [6/23]

The loss of Billy Wagner at least puts to rest the questions about what was wrong with him. As pointed out in the recent NL Central Notebook, the Astros and Wagner are probably both to blame for not being more aggressive in noticing, diagnosing and treating Wagner's injury.

Firing Vern Ruhle and Tom McCraw is a desperate, cowardly and ultimately self-injuring act. Ruhle, along with Larry Dierker, was a key part of the Astros' success over the past three years. Letting ten weeks of lousy pitching--in part impacted by a new park and injuries--override that performance is simply dumb. They'll miss Ruhle.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS

Optioned RHP Dan Murray to Omaha of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); recalled RHP Chad Durbin. [6/23]

Designated C Brian Johnson and RHP Miguel Batista for assignment; recalled C Jorge Fabregas and RHP Doug Bochtler from Omaha of the Pacific Coast League. [6/28]

Announced the resignation of senior scouting director Terry Wetzel. [6/29]

Announced that C Brian Johnson has cleared waivers, refused assignment to Omaha of the Pacific Coast League (AAA) and was given his unconditional release. [7/1]

The Royals part ways with the products of two trades that didn't make much sense at the time, and make less sense now. Dan Murray was picked up last August for Glendon Rusch, who has given the Mets a good half-season in the #5 slot. Miguel Batista was brought over for Brad Rigby, the kind of groundball-throwing swingman this Royals team could use.

Excising Brian Johnson from the roster will mean more playing time for Gregg Zaun, who does just about everything better than Jorge Fabregas.

Now that he's established himself as a major-league hitter, maybe it's time to let Mike Sweeney go back behind the plate twice a week. It would help the Royals, who have a logjam of corner-outfield/first-base types, add some offense while solving a coming roster crunch. The Brewers did a similar thing with Dave Nilsson, moving him out from behind the plate for a couple years before moving him back last year, with strong results.

Doug Bochtler throws heat from a funky motion, and is exactly the kind of guy who could throw 45 spectacular innings between now and the end of the season. Rotoheads looking for a lottery ticket in the saves category, pay attention.

LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Activated C Todd Hundley from the 15-day disabled list. [6/26]

Requested waivers on RHP Orel Hershiser for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release; recalled RHP Eric Gagne from Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); activated LHP Jeff Williams from the 60-day disabled list and optioned him to Albuquerque. [6/27]

Placed RHP Jeff Shaw on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 27, with tendinitis in his right elbow; recalled RHP Jamie Arnold from Albuquerque of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/28]

Getting Todd Hundley back will make the coming loss of Chad Kreuter easier to take. Hundley is a key part of this team, giving the Dodgers a third big bat to go with Shawn Green and Gary Sheffield, as well as helping their lineup balance.

Eric Gagne is back in the rotation, where he should have been all along. His problems with command are making it nearly impossible for him to pitch into the seventh inning. Still, this Dodger bullpen is deep, filled with two-inning relievers who can cover for Gagne, and with Kevin Brown in the rotation the Dodgers have a guy who gives the pen a break every fifth game.

In Jeff Shaw's absence, Mike Fetters is the best bet to close games, with Terry Adams and a revived Onan Masaoka lining up behind him.

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Activated RHP Jeff D'Amico from the 15-day disabled list; purchased the contract of OF Chris Jones; optioned OF Lyle Mouton and IF Santiago Perez to Indianapolis of the International League (AAA). [7/1]

Jeff D'Amico has mixed a handful of fantastic starts with a few real stinkers. That's better than just allowing five runs in six innings every time out. Be careful in getting too excited: almost a third of his runs allowed have been unearned. Still, along with Jimmy Haynes and Jamey Wright, he gives the Brewers a semblance of a rotation.

MINNESOTA TWINS

Signed RHP Brad Radke to a four-year contract. [7/3]

The signing of Brad Radke cements the top of the Twins' rotation for the next three years, with Eric Milton behind him not due for free agency until after the 2003 season. The Twins have ensured that when their offense begins to come around, as Michael Cuddyer, Michael Restovich and Bobby Kielty develop, they'll have the core of a pitching staff in place to support them.

The Twins/White Sox pennant race of 2002 is going to be one of the great stories of the decade.

MONTREAL EXPOS

Released C Charlie O'Brien; optioned C Brian Schneider to Ottawa of the International League (AAA); activated C Lenny Webster from the 15-day disabled list; recalled 1B/OF Fernando Seguignol from Ottawa. [6/22]

Fortunately, the ridiculously long-lived three-catcher system (none of whom was named "Michael Barrett") has been junked, with the Expos realizing that grizzled veterans with no remaining skills neither win games nor put fans in the seats. With Charlie O'Brien gone and Chris Widger on the block, Barrett could finally get his opportunity soon.

Fernando Seguignol is up to serve as a pinch-hitter and occasional spot starter, but with Lee Stevens taking up space, Seguignol won't get the regular playing time he needs to improve his selectivity at the plate.

NEW YORK METS

Recalled RHP Bobby J. Jones from Norfolk of the International League (AAA); optioned LHP Bobby M. Jones to Norfolk. [6/23]

Optioned OF Jason Tyner to Norfolk of the International League (AAA); recalled 1B/OF Mark Johnson from Norfolk. [6/24]

Placed pitcher Rick Reed on the 15-day disabled list with a non-displaced fracture of his left wrist; recalled RHP Jim Mann from Norfolk of the International League (AAA); signed RHP Jesus Martinez to a minor-league contract and assigned him to Binghamton of the Eastern League (AA). [6/29]

Placed IF Kurt Abbott on the 15-day disabled list with a lower back inflammation; recalled IF David Lamb from Norfolk of the International League (AAA); transferred Rey Ordonez to the 60-day disabled list. [7/3]

Jason Tyner didn't play very well in his time with the Mets, while every other outfielder on the roster got hot, so he heads back to Norfolk. As pointed out a few weeks ago, he's not a great leadoff prospect, building his offensive game on a high batting average, not great plate discipline. He'll get another chance next year, though, because the Mets are in dire need of a leadoff hitter.

Rick Reed should be back not long after he's eligible. In addition to that wrist injury, he suffered a calf strain against the Braves, and is always a threat to miss time or be less effective due to minor injuries.

NEW YORK YANKEES

Recalled RHP Ben Ford from Columbus of the International League (AAA); optioned RHP Jake Westbrook to Columbus. [6/23]

Placed RHP Ramiro Mendoza on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 25, with weakness in a right shoulder muscle. [6/28]

Acquired OF Dave Justice from the Cleveland Indians for OF Ricky Ledee and two players to be named; placed LHP Allen Watson on the 15-day disabled list with a dislocated shoulder; transferred OF Roberto Kelly from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list; recalled RHP Craig Dingman from Columbus of the International League (AAA); purchased the contract of LHP Randy Choate from Columbus. [6/29]

Activated RHP Roger Clemens from the disabled list; optioned RHP Todd Erdos to Columbus. [7/2]

That first transaction is almost entirely reponsible for the idea that the Yankees need to add a starting pitcher. Ben Ford and Jake Westbrook have combined for an ERA of 11.40 in 15 innings, making three ugly starts in four tries. With everyone except Andy Pettitte suffering from one ailment or another, the Yankees' lack of depth in rotation starters was exposed in the same way that the injuries to Derek Jeter and Scott Brosius showed how thin the Yankee bench was.

However, with Roger Clemens and Orlando Hernandez back, and Ramiro Mendoza on his way, the rotation is healthy again, and other than David Cone, effective. The team is still fourth in the AL in ERA, while ranking well below that in runs scored.

The Yankees need another hitter more than they need a pitcher, because Shane Spencer still isn't an everyday DH and carrying Tino Martinez and Scott Brosius is a serious problem in the lineup.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Signed 3B Eric Chavez to a four-year contract extension through the 2004 season. [6/23]

Activated LHP Mike Magnante from the 15-day disabled list; optioned LHP Rich Sauveur to Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/27]

Recalled RHP Chad Harville from Scramento of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); optioned RHP Ariel Prieto to Sacramento. [7/3]

You don't need us to tell you that signing Eric Chavez though his arbitration years is a good idea. He's just 22, and should show explosive growth over the next 15 months.

The rest of this is bullpen shuffling. Omar Olivares will return to find he still has a job, as Ariel Prieto wasn't impressive in his three starts.

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Recalled RHP Dave Coggin from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League (AAA); optioned RHP Cliff Politte to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [6/23]

Activated RHP Andy Ashby from the 15-day disabled list. [6/27]

Acquired LHP Ed Vosberg from the Colorado Rockies for a minor-league player to be named; optioned Vosberg to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the International League (AAA). [6/28]

The Phillies had to be in a hurry to get Andy Ashby back on the mound, as they have a month to turn him into something valuable. If they can somehow convert him into a player with leadoff skills, they'll be that much closer to a contender in 2001 or 2002.

I'm just astounded that within days of each other Darren Holmes and Ed Vosberg were exchanged for anything. These really aren't guys you need to give up something--even a going-nowhere A-ball player--to get.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Placed RHP Rich Loiselle on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 25, due to bursitis of the right shoulder; recalled LHP Jimmy Anderson from Nashville of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/28]

Placed OF Bruce Aven on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring; recalled OF Tike Redman from Nashville of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/29]

Activated LHP Scott Sauerbeck from the 15-day disabled list; optioned RHP Bronson Arroyo to Nashville of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [7/3]

The Pirates' pitching staff, so belatedly touted before this season, is coming apart at the seams. Neither of the rookies dropped into the #5 slot (Jimmy Anderson, Bronson Arroyo) have shown anything to indicate they deserved the chance. Francisco Cordova left Monday's game with a sore elbow. Jason Schmidt is out for at least another month. Todd Ritchie has been a disappointment and is likely to be elsewhere by August 1. And that's without discussing the bullpen, where only half of the relievers (Scott Sauerbeck, Mike Williams and the gimpy Jason Christiansen) have positive ARPs in Michael Wolverton's latest report.

The returns of Anderson and Sauerbeck give the Pirates four left-handers in the pen (along with Christiansen and Chris Peters), so it wouldn't be a surprise to see Peters take Arroyo's spot in the rotation, giving the team a rotation of Kris Benson/Jose Silva/Ritchie/Peters, with Cordova's slot potentially open. It's hardly what the team expected, but if Peters is healthy again, it's adequate.

Bruce Aven's absence solidifies John Vander Wal's status as a starter, which hurts for two reasons. First, it gives the Pirates an outfield of Wil Cordero/Brian Giles/John Vander Wal, a defensive nightmare on the order of the Maginot Line. Second, it would reveal Vander Wal for the mediocre hitter he is, hurting his overall numbers and thus the Bucs' likely return if they choose to trade him. Tike Redman can at least play a passable center field, but his offense has stagnated in recent years and the Pirates can't afford another automatic out with Pat Meares already in the lineup.

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS

Placed 2B Fernando Vina on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 17, with a strained right hamstring; activated RHP Mike James from the 15-day disabled list. [6/21]

Placed LHP Jesse Orosco on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to June 22, with a strained left elbow; recalled RHP Gene Stechschulte from Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); assigned IF John Gall to New Jersey of the New York-Penn League (A). [6/23]

Purchased the contract of IF Eduardo Perez from Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); optioned 1B/OF Larry Sutton to Memphis, placed IF Eduardo Perez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right hamstring; optioned RHP Gene Stechschulte to Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); recalled 1B/OF Larry Sutton and RHP John Ambrose from Memphis. [6/24]

Recalled RHP Mark Thompson from Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); optioned RHP John Ambrose to Arkansas of the Texas League (AA). [6/26]

Placed C Eli Marrero on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left thumb; purchased the contract of C Keith McDonald from Memphis of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [7/2]

It looks a lot like a week of John Hart's life, but there were extenuating circumstances. The Cardinals played late into the night on June 22 and 23, games delayed by runs and rain, then had nearly five hours of delays on June 24. The pitching moves were the result of this sequence.

Eduardo Perez injured himself about 15 seconds after his callup, which is what had Larry Sutton down and up on the same day.

Congratulations to Keith McDonald, who popped a solo home run in his first major-league at-bat on July 4.

SAN DIEGO PADRES

Placed SS Chris Gomez on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left knee; recalled SS Kevin Nicholson from Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/23]

Activated RHP Woody Williams from the 15-day disabled list; optioned UT John Roskos to Las Vegas of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [7/2]

Damian Jackson was off to a typical season at the plate--plenty of walks, mediocre average, no power, 11 steals--but his 14 errors in 63 games grated on the Padre brass, so longtime prospect Kevin Nicholson got the call. He was hitting .293/.354/.441, which isn't much for a 24-year-old at Las Vegas. He also has a questionable glove, so it's not clear that this is even an improvement.

With the Pads' rotation collapsing upon itself--did anyone think Matt Clement would be this bad?--Woody Williams's return and excellent first start is cause for a champagne toast.

SEATTLE MARINERS

Claimed RHP Mark Watson off waivers from the Cleveland Indians and optioned him to Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/23]

Activated RHP Brett Tomko from the 15-day disabled list; optioned IF Charles Gipson to Tacoma of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/24]

TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Activated 3B Vinny Castilla from the 15-day disabled list; optioned OF Quinton McCracken to Durham of the International League (AAA). [7/3]

Russ Johnson didn't do much with his chance at third base, so the return of Vinny Castilla is actually a welcome one, especially since Johnson is nothing special with the leather. If Castilla gets hot and the Devil Rays can trade him this month for something useful--like a hitter familiar with the elusive "Base on Balls"--so much the better.

TEXAS RANGERS

Recalled RHP Ryan Glynn from Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [6/23]

Recalled IF Kelly Dransfeldt from Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League (AAA); placed RHP Mark Clark on irrevocable waivers. [7/3]

The emergence of Ryan Glynn and semi-emergence of Matt Perisho as credible starters allowed the Rangers to sever their emotional tie with Mark Clark, who had been rotting on the bench for a month. If Jaime Navarro can find work, Clark should get a half-dozen offers.

With Royce Clayton hurt, Kelly Dransfeldt and Scott Sheldon will split time at shortstop, with "prospect" Dransfeldt probably getting most of the playing time up front, even though Sheldon is clearly his superior at the plate.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Activated C/DH Todd Greene from the 15-day disabled list; optioned C Josh Phelps to Knoxville of the Southern League (AA). [6/22]

Fired Syracuse SkyChiefs (International League/AAA) pitching coach Gary Lance. [6/28]

Activated RHP Peter Munro from the 15-day disabled list and optioned him to Syracuse of the International League (AAA). [7/3]

Todd Greene gives the Jays an offensive option behind the plate, although playing him there more than occasionally invites another shoulder injury. Still, it's nice to be able to hit for both Charlie Greene and Alberto Castillo.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Joe's other articles. You can contact Joe by clicking here

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