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.
Optioned RHP Rob Bell to Louisville of the International League
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.
Purchased the contract of LHP Mike Mohler from Buffalo of the
International League (AAA); designated RHP Scott Kamieniecki for
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
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.
Optioned C/IF Adam Melhuse to Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast
League (AAA); recalled OF Angel Echevarria from Colorado Springs.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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).
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.
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
The Twins/White Sox pennant race of 2002 is going to be one of the great
stories of the decade.
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.
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).
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.
Recalled RHP Dave Coggin from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the
International League (AAA); optioned RHP Cliff Politte to
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
Recalled RHP Ryan Glynn from Oklahoma of the Pacific Coast League
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
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
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