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ANAHEIM ANGELS

Activated UT Randy Velarde from the 15-day DL; placed INF Carlos Garcia on the
15-day DL (broken bat, er… strained hamstring). [5/13]


Velarde’s return has apparently lasted all of two days, since he’s already
complaining about soreness in his bum elbow. Garcia’s bat will take a lifetime
to heal up, which leaves Paco Martin, Craig Shipley, and a surprisingly nimble
Joe Sheehan…


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS

Recalled RHP Bryan Corey from Tucson; outrighted RHP Barry Manuel to Tucson.
[5/12]


Corey was pitching well in Tucson (1.77 ERA, 21 baserunners in 20.1 innings),
even if his good fastball hasn’t translated into good strikeout rates since he
left A-ball. Manuel can probably be written off as another guy who only thrived
at the major league level with Felipe Alou managing him.


BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Activated RHP Scott Kamieniecki from the DL; optioned RHP Nerio Rodriguez to
Rochester. [5/12]

Signed RHP Scott Erickson to a five-year contract through 2003. [5/13]


Erickson’s five-year deal might be interpreted as a vote of confidence in Ray
Miller, given their past experiences as tutor and student at Minnesota and
Miller’s resuscitation of Erickson’s career with the Orioles. If you’re
actually concerned about the Orioles’ future, that may be even worse news than
the signing itself, but my two cents is that Miller will deserve a big share of
the credit for everything that happens to the Gray Wings in coming years, and
what better way to claim your corner of history than to be there? The Orioles’
increasingly predatory relationship with Rochester takes a polite turn: the
gave back one of the three starters they were keeping around for mopup and
middle relief after keeping Rodriguez around for a whopping five innings.


BOSTON RED SOX

Placed SS Nomar Garciaparra on the 15-day DL; recalled LHP Ron Mahay from
Pawtucket. [5/13]


Garciaparra’s injury wound up being more severe than initially hoped, which
should deepen the club’s offensive slump (16 runs in the six games since the
injury). With Donnie Sadler and Tim Naehring both hurt, that really restricts
the Red Sox to too much of Mike Benjamin, so don’t be surprised when they start
shopping around.


CINCINNATI REDS

Optioned CF Pat Watkins to Indianapolis. [5/13]

Recalled RHP Danny Graves from Indianapolis. [5/14]


With Nieves’ return and Dmitri Young’s shift to the outfield, Jon Nunnally has
been shunted off into a role as a defensive replacement, which in turn squeezed
Watkins out of that role. The rumor that’s kicking around as far as how they
plan to resolve this logjam is that they’ll trade Reggie Sanders, moving
Nunnally back into center. In the meantime, Watkins should get regular playing
time with Indy. Graves’ addition should be to stay this time around, since he
should be out of options at the rate Jim Bowden has jerked him around. This
isn’t really a problem: Graves has pitched well as Todd Williams’ setup man in
Indy, and ought to be up to stay. Things will be more complicated when Marc
Kroon gets recalled from his rehab assignment, because that may force out Mark
Hutton. However, there are persistent rumors that the Reds may peddle Jeff
Shaw, so obviously, Bowden’s keeping busy.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Signed RHP Chuck Nagy to a four-year contract extension with club option for
2003. [5/13]


I can probably see Scott Erickson pitching to the end of his contract, if not
particularly well. I really doubt Nagy will have survived Mike Hargrove’s slow
hook this far into the future.


COLORADO ROCKIES

Activated INF Jason Bates from the DL; outrighted INF Nelson Liriano to
Colorado Springs. [5/14]


Small improvements are improvements nevertheless: Bates is the better hitter
and defensive player, and with both Neifi Perez and Mike Lansing exasperating
Don Baylor, he may get a bigger workload.


DETROIT TIGERS

Activated DH/UT Bip Roberts from the DL; optioned CF Kimera Bartee to Toledo.
[5/12]


Roberts’ return does not immediately lead to his resuming DH duty; Andy
Tomberlin and Jeff Manto may continue to get most of the playing time, which is
sensible, while the Bipster can be restricted to what he’s good for these days:
pinch-hitting, pinch-running, and spot duty in the outfield. Of course, that
isn’t what he was signed for, but it isn’t Randy Smith’s money in the first
place.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Transferred RHP Raffy Medina from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/12]

Placed RHP Antonio Alfonseca on the 15-day DL (groin pull); recalled RHP Manuel
Barrios
from Charlotte; optioned C/1B John Roskos to Charlotte and purchased
the contract of UT John Wehner from Charlotte. [5/14]


Giving Jim Leyland back his John Wehner is sort of like giving Tony LaRussa his
surprisingly lifelike Mike Gallego action figure from year to year. It’s part
of the price you have to pay to have a famous manager: certain perks in the
hotel room on the road, a generous interpretation of smoking-in-the workplace
legislation, and John Wehner. This isn’t always a bad thing: John Wehner is a
handy utility man to have around, and not even Leyland has ever been overly
tempted to give him a huge chunk of playing time. At this stage, he’s probably
the only guy in the Marlins’ clubhouse who isn’t calling the manager “Mr.
Leyland,” “Senor Smoke,” or “Dad.” Alfonseca has been gruesomely taterrific of
late, which may have contributed to the grisly pitch counts Fish Kids have been
racking up of late.


HOUSTON ASTROS

Placed LHP Mike Magnante on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/9 (strained calf);
recalled RHP Mike Grzanich from New Orleans; signed DH Pete Incaviglia to a
minor league contract and sent him to New Orleans. [5/12]

Placed 1B Jeff Bagwell on the 15-day DL (deep cut – knee); recalled 1B/LF
Daryle Ward from New Orleans. [5/13]


There are early concerns that Bagwell’s injury may require a skin graft, which
would cost him more than two weeks on the DL. There isn’t a way in which this
doesn’t hurt the Astros: hitting, defense, baserunning, you name it, they lost
it. Jack Howell is a handily adequate substitute, but it will be interesting to
see if Moises Alou gets moved up in the order. Daryle Ward is up to pinch-hit,
so he probably won’t get more than a dozen PAs if Bagwell comes back in two
weeks. Grzanich has been noticeably more agressive in a management-pleasing
manner since his move to the pen last summer, and he was hot in New Orleans
early on: 16.1 innings, 6 hits, 7 walks, 16 Ks, and a 0.55 ERA. If he
outpitches Bob Scanlan for a week or so, he may get to stick for the remainder
of the season.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Placed RHP Chad Fox on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/10 (inflammation –
shoulder); purchased the contract of RHP Bronswell Patrick from Louisville;
transferred RHP Jeff D’Amico from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/12]

Activated 1B/OF Dave Nilsson from the DL; optioned UT Brian Banks to
Louisville. [5/13]


Losing Fox would have hurt more two weeks ago. Even though Doug Jones has been
struggling of late, Bob Wickman has been solid, Garner has been using Mike
Myers to good effect, and Al Reyes is finally starting to settle down. Calling
up Patrick is just filling in the back of the roster in as painless a manner as
possible: he lives off of control of his breaking stuff, a swingman who’s in
his fifth year in AAA, and the alternatives (always-wild Johnny Ruffin, or
Boom-boom Bobby Chouinard) would probably give Phil Garner ulcers.


MINNESOTA TWINS

Transferred 1B David Ortiz from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/11]

Acquired OF Ken Ramos from Houston and assigned him to Salt Lake; activated LF
Marty Cordova from the DL; optioned CF Torii Hunter to New Britain. [5/12]


Cordova may not be 100%, but that’s fasciitis. He may heal up, or not, but he
isn’t likely to get back to where he was in ’95-’96 trying to play through it.


NEW YORK METS

Acquired C Rick Wilkins from Seattle for LHP Lindsay Gulin; transferred RHP
Paul Wilson from the 15- to the 60-day DL, retroactive to 3/30. [5/12]

Activated LF Bernard Gilkey from the 15-day DL; optioned OF Jay Payton to
Norfolk; designated UT Shawn Gilbert for assignment. [5/13]


Snagging Wilkins is handy, although let’s not pretend he’s the guy who hit 30
HRs one fine Wrigley summer. With Gilkey back, they’re doing as good a job of
damage control as you could hope for, although the almost-routine rainouts
haven’t hurt.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Activated RHP Marc Wilkins from the DL; optioned RHP Elmer Dessens to
Nashville. [5/11]


Dessens has been a disaster as a righty setup man. Wilkins can expect heavy use
and the only experienced righty for middle relief, especially now that Gene
Lamont is being more cautious about using Rule V pick Javy Martinez in games.

Acquired 2B Jeff Patzke from Toronto for LHP Mike Halperin, and assigned Patzke
to Nashville. [5/13]


This move will be the subject of an essay that’ll go up by Sunday.


St. LOUIS CARDINALS

Recalled RHPs Curtis King and Sean Lowe from Memphis; optioned RHP Cliff
Politte
and C Eli Marrero to Memphis. [5/14]


LaRussa/Duncan do not pull off a coup with Politte as they did with Matt Morris
and Alan Benes in previous seasons, but given that they were both more advanced
prospects, that really isn’t too shocking. Hopefully, he’ll put together what
he learned while getting hammered, and regroup for the rest of this season.
Lowe will apparently be returned to Memphis today, making way for Rigo Beltran,
who should start tonight’s game. King may be leading AAA in saves with 11, but
that’s the result of an organizational goal of singling out minor league
pitchers for closer roles, and just like Steve Montgomery before him, he isn’t
actually a good prospect: he’s hittable (18 hits in 12.2 innings), he doesn’t
fool many batters, and doesn’t have a big platoon split that would tell you
he’s more effective one way or another. He’ll be fuel on fires already started
by Frascatore, Acevedo, and Busby. With Petkovsek moving into the rotation to
stay, the Cardinals will probably have to make a decision about perpetually
damaged Donovan Osborne in the near future.


SEATTLE MARINERS

Traded C Rick Wilkins to the Mets for LHP Lindsay Gulin; purchased the contract
of 1B/OF David McCarty from Tacoma. [5/12]


With Dan Wilson doing most of the catching, Wilkins was basically a LH
pinch-hitter on a team already carrying Rob Ducey, Ryan Radmanovich, and Jeff
Huson’s sorry carcass. With the trade of Robert Perez, they probably needed an
extra RH bat on the bench, and Piniella has made happy sounds in the past about
what he thinks he can do with McCarty’s swing. At Tacoma, he was hitting well,
but with little power: .314/.399/.446, only 1 HR but 13 doubles.


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS

Placed OF Rich Butler on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 5/10 (fractured bone –
hand); recalled CF Randy Winn from Durham. [5/11]

Purchased the contract of 3B Scott McClain from Durham; designated RHP Dan
Carlson
for assignment. [5/14]


McClain has essentially been called up to cover for Bobby Smith’s nagging
hamstring injury, which means that Rothschild will continue to start Aaron
Ledesma about twice a week at the various infield positions. Calling up Winn in
Butler’s place? Well, Brooks Kieschnick is hurt, Bubba Trammell bats
right-handed and lacks Mike Kelly’s or Jerome Walton’s favor within the
organization, and it would probably be a tad strange to skip Winn and call up
Kerry Robinson from AA. He was also playing well at Durham: .285/.362/.382,
with ten steals, but he’s basically up for the cup of joe. In Butler’s place,
Mike Kelly should get most of the playing time, what with his being one of
Chuck LaMar’s favorites and all.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Traded 2B Jeff Patzke to Pittsburgh for LHP Mike Halperin. [5/13]


Trading away Patzke will the subject of a forthcoming essay; Halperin is no
catch, but he was one of the players sent to the Pirates in the
Merced/Garcia/Plesac deal, so hittable or not, they still like him.