Optioned RHP Paul Byrd to Richmond, and recalled OF Damon Hollins from
Richmond. [4/23]

When you’re the Braves, I guess you feel you can afford to waste a roster spot
for five days to get two mopup innings of relief, because that’s all they got
out of Byrd; considering that their bullpen had to toss a whopping 4 innings
(two by Dennis Martinez, the swing starter) since the 13th going into last
Sunday’s double-header, this was your basic waste of a locker. Hollins is
capable of helping the Braves much more than Gerald Williams, but he probably
lacks that essence of veterandom to stick around once Danny Bautista is ready
to be reactivated.


Placed CF Brady Anderson on the 15-day DL (strained neck muscle); purchased the
contract of LHP Doug Johns from Rochester. [4/20]

The Orioles have been peevishly whining about their “need” to get up to 12
pitchers, and Anderson’s slow start and usual bruises afforded them the roster
space. The misfortunes here are two-fold: it means they don’t confront the
decision they’ll eventually have to make about the execrable Ozzie Guillen for
another week or so, and instead of calling up Nerio Rodriguez, as rumored,
they’ve got one of the few ex-A’s pitchers neither Dave Stewart or Tony LaRussa
has any interest in (not a good sign). This means Ponson won’t get more than a
start in Mussina’s absence, and it gave them a typically short and ugly Johns
start this week.


Placed LHP Butch Henry on the 15-day DL (strained left knee); assigned RHP Rich
to Pawtucket for an injury rehab assignment; recalled LHP Brian Shouse
from Pawtucket. [4/21]

Henry’s usual woes continue, and although this hurts in that Henry is their
second-best starter when he’s around, Duquette built the Red Sox for these
kinds of contingencies. It just means Derek Lowe can re-enter the rotation, or
Steve Avery if they’re feeling brave, or even Johnny Wasdin once Garces or
Robinson Checo are ready to enter the bullpen. Adding Shouse gives the Sox a
second lefty in the pen, although given how bad Avery has been, he could easily
wind up being the primary LH setup man with a good outing or two.


Recalled UT Wil Cordero from Birmingham and RHP Bill Simas from Calgary;
optioned UT Lou Frazier and LHP Todd Rizzo to Calgary. [4/22]

Cordero’s promotion was going to squeeze somebody, and for one of the only
times you’ll ever hear me saying this, I’m going to argue that Lou Frazier
shouldn’t have been the one to go. You’ve got 14 position players, so why keep
the one who can’t play a position or outhit anyone on the roster? Ruben Sierra
needs to be waived goodbye, if only because there ought to be a limit on how
many dubious DHs Jerry Manuel should be allowed to personally resurrect; by
comparison, Frazier can spot anywhere on the field, pinch-run, and is basically
a handy utility scrub who can do things you may need late in a game. Rizzo was
clearly struggling mightily, even without his appalling debut. It seems
reasonably clear he’s not ready for the Fossas role, because his limited
success came in long relief outings where he started his own innings, as
opposed to entering the game mid-inning, usually with runners aboard. Given
those successes, it would seem he’d be a better choice to keep around than Tom
Fordham, but with Jason Bere and James Baldwin struggling, Fordham could wind
up in the rotation in the next week or so. With Foulke and Carlos Castillo
getting heavy work early on, the Sox needed to bring in another RH reliever,
and Simas has been strong in the early going at Calgary, last night’s
game-losing triple at Ruben Sierra notwithstanding.


Announced that SS Jolbert Cabrera cleared waivers and was successfully
outrighted to Buffalo. [4/20]

Activated RHP Chad Ogea from the 15-day DL; designated INF Jeff Manto for
assignment. [4/21]

Ogea’s return gives the Indians the rotation they expected to have: Chuck Nagy,
Jaret Wright, Dave Burba, Ogea, and Bartolo Colon, with Rick Krivda available
to mix in for a spot start. Of course, Nagy and Wright are both injury risks,
and Colon is battling nagging hurts and the after-effects of that 135-pitch
shutout, so carrying 12 pitchers makes some sense for the time being. Hell, at
this point, people from Randy Lerch to Keith Creel are probably volunteering
for cheap wins.


Placed INF Jason Bates on the 15-day DL (ankle cellulitis); recalled INF Nelson
from Colorado Springs; transferred RHP Roger Bailey from the 15- to the
60-day DL. [4/20]

Liriano can’t really play short, so he isn’t the ideal utility infielder,
unless Don Baylor decides to ask Mike Lansing or Vinny Castilla to put in some
time at short if he pinch-hits (or gets frustrated) with Neifi Perez.


Released DH Pete Incaviglia. [4/22]

Purchased the contract of OF Andy Tomberlin from Toledo. [4/23]

Inky didn’t help himself any by going 1-14 with a walk. Still, this seems
symptomatic of the Tigers’ frustrations with themselves, and that in turn has
alot more to do with unrealistic expectation that a team that brings in Luis
Gonzalez or Bip Roberts or Billy Ripken or a half-dozen Padres pitchers not
named Ashby, Hamilton, or Hoffman improved itself.


Placed 1B Kevin Millar on the 15-day DL (fractured hamate bone in left wrist);
purchased the contract of C/1B John Roskos from Charlotte. [4/20]

Its sort of a shame that Millar got hurt in his first plate appearance, since
he can help a team, but since this and Derek Lee’s hot streak essentially
cements Lee’s regular role in the lineup for the time being, it won’t hurt the
Fish. He’ll head off for a rehab assignment in six to eight weeks. Roskos can
help as well, and although he’s considered brutal behind the plate, it would be
pretty interesting to see if Dombrowski would either trade Zaun to a team that
needs a backstop, or do the unthinkable and trade Charles Johnson. A
Zaun/Roskos platoon would be an outstanding offensive combo, and better than
most catching situations around the majors.


Placed C Sal Fasano on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 20; purchased the
contract of C Chris Turner from Omaha. [4/21]

This is an inconvenience, but Fasano is only going to caddy for Sweeney, and
Turner knows how to do that.


Placed 1B John Jaha on the 15-day DL (injured ligament in his left foot);
recalled OF Geoff Jenkins from Louisville. [4/23]

For now, this means that Bob Hamelin will step into the job at first, but
having started off 1-26 with 2 walks, how long that lasts is tough to call.
Considering the pathetic production the Brewers have gotten out of the
leftfielders so far (and Nilsson’s slow recovery from his knee injury), this
may represent a real opportunity for Jenkins to play. He was fortunate to get
off to a fast start at Louisville.


Optioned RHP Frank Rodriguez to Salt Lake City. [4/22]

You could understand both sides of this situation: if you’re Tom Kelly, it
looks like Frankie has blown his opportunities to be in the rotation or succeed
as a setup man. Rodriguez probably feels Tom Kelly has quit on him, since he
was little more than a mopup man by Opening Day ’98. In a less combative
situation, he could come back, but he earned this with 19 baserunners and a
13.50 ERA in 6.2 IP.


Activated RHP Mariano Rivera from the 15-day DL; optioned RHP Mike Buddie to
Columbus. [4/22]

It wasn’t a surprise, but Rivera’s absence didn’t make a difference, and yet
nobody’s using that to draw any conclusions about how critical closers are to
their team’s success… okay, that may not be entirely fair, in that the
Yankees have a veteran pen and a great lineup, but again, that should only
emphasize that those things are more important to a team’s success. Buddie
pitched badly, but pocketed two wins, and should return as the first man to
fill in for any injuries in the pen.


Recalled CF Ryan Christenson from Edmonton; optioned RHP Ariel Prieto to
Edmonton. [4/20]

McDonald didn’t go onto the DL after all, as you’ve probably seen by now. In
the meantime, the A’s can get frustrated with Prieto at no real loss. Normally,
I hate to pass judgment on two starts, but Prieto is older than he says he is,
he’s damaged goods, and he needs to sit still and demonstrate consistent
success against somebody for some length of time before he gets another shot.
As for Christenson, although he’s been cold in the early going, here’s hoping
the A’s just ride it out and make the commitment to play him regularly for the
rest of the season.


Signed LHP Roberto Ramirez to a minor-league contract. [4/23]

Another foreign talent turf war the Padres won, as the Padres’ relationship
with Ramirez’ parent club (Mexico City) was more significant in an arbitrator’s
eyes than the Rockies’ push to sneak in and sign him. I have no idea how these
relationships may be eventually affected by the Drew situation and what that
means for domestic talent, but if they’re sustained while the draft is
overthrown, then penny-wise major league organizations will continue to have
more favorable relationships in procuring foreign talent than in signing
domestic prospects. In the meantime, there’s speculation that Ramirez may get
rushed to the major league pen as soon as possible, since the Pads have only
Sterling Hitchcock in the pen from the port side, and Mark Langston’s health
woes could move him into the rotation.


Activated OF Rob Ducey from the 15-day DL; optioned OF Ryan Radmanovich to
Tacoma. [4/20]

One four-hit game, and already Ducey is hailed as the solution in Buhner’s
absence. It doesn’t really matter much, except that Piniella is obviously more
comfortable with Ducey out there than the alternatives. What will be more
interesting is if Ducey can push Glenallen Hill into a platoon roll once Buhner


Activated OF Mike Kelly from the 15-day DL; optioned OF Bubba Trammell to
Durham. [4/21]

I like Bubba Trammell. You probably like Bubba Trammell. Who couldn’t like a
ballplayer named Bubba Trammell? The name, the swing, glovework that brings
Kevin Reimer to mind; he’s tons o’ fun no matter how you slice it. But in all
seriousness, he hasn’t adapted well to part-time platoon rolls, either with the
Tigers or the Devil Rays. On the other hand, Kelly is an organizational
favorite, does paste lefties, and can field and run. For a part-timer, Kelly is
the better option, even if Rothschild has rarely gone to his bench in-game so
far. The other guy getting kept, Jerome Walton, also has a better track record
than Bubba as a happy benchie, and maybe its just for the best that Bubba stay
sharp tatooing baseballs in Durham.


Sent RHP Xavier Hernandez to Oklahoma on a rehabilitation assignment. [4/21]

The only man who should be following this development closely is Tim Crabtree.


Activated 1B Carlos Delgado from the DL; optioned 3B Tom Evans to Syracuse;
placed INF Craig Grebeck on the 15-day DL (muscle strain), retroactive to April
20; recalled LHP Steve Sinclair from Syracuse. [4/23]

The Jays treated this in an interesting fashion: now, instead of having Mike
Stanley trying to play the field, they’re supposed to try to goof off with
Canseco in left, letting Stanley gratefully go back to DH while Delgado moves
into first. Losing Grebeck is solved with available talent: Crespo becomes the
team’s utility infielder. What’s not particularly great about this is sending
Evans back down; Sprague’s defense has gotten bad enough to draw public comment
from beat writers, and Juan Samuel is still clogging one of 13 roster spots for
position players. Bringing up Sinclair gives the Jays a third lefty, which
seems gratuitous, but given the Jays’ struggles in the pen, Tim Johnson may be
feeling self-conscious.

Thank you for reading

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