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BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Placed RHP Scott Kamieniecki on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 25 (groin
strain & inflamed elbow); recalled RHP Nerio Rodriguez from Rochester. [4/26]


It’s easy to take potshots at the Orioles and say that Billy Gardner is no
Davey Johnson or that Doug Johns is a waste of time, but matters aren’t helped
any when bad possibilities keep becoming real. Kamieniecki has been and always
will be an injury risk, but losing the Polish Prince after already losing
Mussina clearly isn’t helpful for a rotation that’s already suffering from the
bad decision to bring in Doug Drabek (hold that thought). Rodriguez is a good
prospect, and will apparently make his debut against the White Sox on
Wednesday, but the Orioles may not have the patience to stick with him in the
rotation. Back to Drabek, from the non-news department: anyone else amused by
the “Drabek suffering from a streak of four bad starts” comments in the media?
Four bad starts during his current stretch of four bad years doesn’t seem
really out of the ordinary to me…


CINCINNATI REDS

Placed LHP Steve Cooke on the 15-day DL (tendinitis); optioned 3B Aaron Boone
to Indianapolis, and recalled RHPs Scott Winchester and Danny Graves from
Indianapolis. [4/24]


This is the result that has come out of the mess involving Willie Greene’s
finger: he’s only expected to miss a week without going onto the DL. Boone
won’t get the playing time at 3B in Greene’s absence, meaning that Chris Stynes
and Lenny Harris may spend time there, creating playing time for Pat Watkins in
the outfield. None of this is bad. Winchester appears to be the default fifth
starter for at least one start in Cooke’s absence; nobody was impressed by Mark
Hutton’s disastrous start last week, and Gabe White is still the pen’s lone
lefty. With Scott Sullivan struggling terribly, Graves may get the opportunity
work his way into setting up Jeff Shaw. As for Cooke, there are real concerns
that he may be finished.


DETROIT TIGERS

Claimed INF Jeff Manto off waivers from Cleveland; designated RHP Scott Sanders
for assignment. [4/24]


I’m ridiculously optimistic about some pitchers, and Scott Sanders is one of
those people I could see bouncing back in a situation where back-to-back bad
starts don’t lead to summary execution. Jeff Manto isn’t the answer to any of
the Tigers’ problems.


FLORIDA MARLINS

Activated RHP Eric Ludwick from the DL; optioned RHP Oscar Henriquez to
Charlotte. [4/26]


This resolves the need for a fifth starter, although it also means that the
Marlins were obviously so disappointed in Henriquez that they preferred to keep
Rob Stanifer around instead. That has to hurt. At any rate, a rotation of Livan
Hernandez, Ludwick, Jesus Sanchez, Andy Larkin, and Brian Meadows is probably
stronger than what the Fish opened the season with (with Rafael Medina and
Felix Heredia).


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Activated CF Roger Cedeno and 1B Eric Karros from the 15-day DL; designated OF
Mike Devereaux for assignment; optioned 1B/LF Paul Konerko to Albuquerque.
[4/24]


It would be easy to fulminate about how the Dodgers are “giving up” on Konerko
at this point, but hitting .197/.275/.197 (yes, no extra base hits) doesn’t
help anybody, and given the organization’s major financial commitment to
Karros, there isn’t anything surprising about this. It would be surprising if
the organization had the courage to say Konerko can play, and to hell with any
conclusions you can reach after three weeks. The challenge, such as it is, is
when the Dodgers notice that Todd Hollandsworth isn’t a useful regular. They
seem willing to play Cedeno, and that’s good, but they’re left with choosing
two from Karros, Hollandsworth, and Konerko to man 1B and LF. Konerko had a
brief opportunity to make it an easy decision, and he didn’t take advantage of
it.


MINNESOTA TWINS

Recalled RHP Dan Naulty from Salt Lake. [4/24]


Naulty was the expected callup to take Frankie Rodriguez’ place on the roster.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Activated RHP Mike Fetters from the DL; placed UT Jason McDonald on the 15-day
DL, retroactive to April 19 (groin strain). [4/26]


Fetters will immediately resume the closer’s role. The A’s bullpen was supposed
to be a strength, but T.J. Mathews has been awful in his three months in the
AL, Billy Taylor is having his usual ups and downs, Aaron Small has been bad
news, and someone needs to pry Jim Dougherty away from Art Howe.


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Placed RHP Ricky Bottalico on the 15-day DL; purchased the contract of LHP
Yorkis Perez from Scranton Wilkes-Barre. [4/24]


I don’t know if this makes the Mariners feel any better, but in the meantime,
it appears that the Phillies are initially going to use Mark Leiter as the
chairman of a bullpen by committee. That seems particularly sensible if they’re
hoping to generate interest from other teams in Leiter: closing is
high-profile, and teams already know he can start. Even if he pitches as badly
as he did last year, he won’t really cost the Phillies that many games, while
getting credited for having veteran “moxie” or whatever. Look at this way:
nowadays, some people value Paul Quantrill, and he isn’t really any different
than he was two years ago.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES

Activated RHP Elmer Dessens from the 15-day DL; optioned LHP Jeff Tabaka to
Nashville. [4/24]

Placed RHP Marc Wilkins on the 15-day DL (groin strain); recalled LHP Jeff
Tabaka
from Nashville. [4/26]


Pittsburgh’s shuffle leaves them a bit short handed as far as right-handed
relief (they’re only carrying Dessens, Rich Loiselle, and Javier Martinez), and
that may bring the issue of whether Loiselle or Richardo Rincon should close to
a head. No team can boast the Pirates’ depth in LH relief pitching (Rincon,
Jason Christiansen, Chris Peters, and Tabaka), but that’s by design to
complement their all-righty rotation.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS

Optioned RHP Russ Ortiz to Fresno; purchased the contract of 1B Jeff Ball from
Fresno.


This is being sold as a case of “adding offense,” but that isn’t really the
case. Ball isn’t chasing J.T. Snow to the bench, and having him in the locker
room isn’t going to make Bonds get hot or make Daryl Hamilton a great leadoff
hitter or suddenly make the Giants’ rotation pitch better. If anything, this is
a case of putting Ortiz where he’ll get work while the Giants wallow.


SAN DIEGO PADRES

Placed LHP Mark Langston on the 15-day DL, retroactive to April 15 (strained
shoulder); recalled RHP Donne Wall from Las Vegas. [4/24]


To keep the balance in their rotation, the Pads are moving Sterling Hitchcock
into the rotation, and adding Wall to their group of long relievers (along with
Carlos Reyes, Don Wengert, and Brian Boehringer). I’m inclined to agree with
the thinking: its more important to influence the game’s outcome with who you
put in your rotation than to hope you need a Tony Fossas situation to win the
ballgame.


TEXAS RANGERS

Placed RHP Roger Pavlik on the 15-day DL (fractured right index finger);
recalled RHP Alan Levine from Oklahoma. [4/24]


This one hurts the Rangers pretty badly, because losing Pavlik on a freak
injury takes away the team’s margin for error if Darren Oliver or John Burkett
is hurt and they need somebody to step into the rotation. Levine’s a nice
enough guy and all, but I suspect he’ll be sent back once Xavier Hernandez
shows that he’s healthy in his rehab stint.