Sold 1B Troy Neel‘s contract to the Orix Blue Wave (Japanese Leagues). [4/28]
Placed RHP Jack McDowell on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/27 (inflamed right
elbow); activated INF Craig Shipley from the DL. [4/30]

In Black Jack’s absence, Omar Olivares will step into the rotation, and
Shigetoshi Hasegawa may finally get some more regular work. The Angels seem to
be adding a new twist to Dick Williams’ epic disgust for secondbasemen. During
his stretch managing the “Other Great Expos Team That Doesn’t Get ‘If Only the
Strike Hadn’t Happened’ Stories Written About It,” Williams from time to time
would try to pinch-hit and double-switch to avoid his scrubby collection of
secondbasemen. With Shipley, Carlos Garcia, and Paco Martin, they have three
interchangeably crummy second sackers, but there isn’t roster room to carry two
pinch-hitters, not that Terry Collins is Dick Williams in the first place.
Sayonara (again) to Troy Neel, who probably would have been the right guy to
have around to pinch-hit for your bad second baseman du jour.


Traded OF Chris Jones to San Francisco for LHP Ricky Pickett. [4/27]

Promoted OF David Dellucci from Tucson; optioned RF Karim Garcia to Tucson;
placed LHP Joel Adamson on the 15-day DL; recalled LHP Ricky Pickett from
Tucson; transferred INF Hanley Frias from the 15- to the on 60-day disabled
list; purchased the contract of DH/UT Hensley Meulens from Tucson. [4/27]

Shake it up! The D-backs decide to name a scapegoat (Garcia), and acquire a
lefty reliever to back up Omar Daal. That becomes more significant by Tuesday,
when the D-backs will have to decide who will take Adamson’s slot in the
rotation (early favorites are Daal or Clint Sodowsky). As for the rest, a
veteran fifth outfielder like Jones isn’t what Arizona really needs, so getting
Pickett for waiver-fodder is a good move. Pickett ought to be more successful
than Brad Pennington was, but he’s reliable in a similarly exciting,
I’ll-sit-behind-the-screen sort of way. As for adding Hensley Meulens, you’d
think losing games would enough of a disincentive for Arizona to rebuild Buck
Showalter’s ’89 Eastern League champion Albany Yankees. Who’s next? Kevin
Mmahat, Mitch Lyden, or Oscar Azocar? Jim Leyritz? In all seriousness, the next
D-back from that team will probably be Bernie Williams as a free agent next
winter, so maybe it isn’t such a bad idea after all…


Signed RHP Steve Ontiveros to a minor-league contract, and released LHP Vince
from Rochester. [4/30]

Ick. With three of the Red Wings’ starters already on the major league roster
(Doug Johns, Sidney Ponson, and Nerio Rodriguez), the Orioles were so kind as
to help their AAA team by bringing in Onto. As if summers in Rochester didn’t
already inspire sticky, will-sapping torpor.


Assigned LHP Steve Avery to Pawtucket; recalled RHP Robinson Checo from
Pawtucket; claimed RHP Pat Flury off waivers from Kansas City, and assigned him
to Pawtucket. [4/29]

Moved 2B Jeff Frye from the 15- to the 60-day DL; added RHP Pat Flury to the
roster. [4/30]

At this point, does anyone want to venture a guess as to whether or not Jimy
Williams will volunteer to pick up Avery’s paycheck after his
popularity-contest stunt of giving Avery his incentive-clause-clinching
appearance last fall? I didn’t think so. Presumably, some sort of clubhouse
goodwill is supposed to be the kind of capital that the Sox reaped in for
Williams’ gesture last September, but Avery didn’t earn a return to Boston in
the first place. Checo’s promotion to the rotation means the Sox get to leave
Derek Lowe in the pen as a long reliever, which they’ve stated a preference


Activated LHP Bob Patterson from the 15-day DL; optioned OF Matt Mieske to
Iowa. [4/27]

This is mound-o-centric malarkey if ever there was some. Patterson gives the
Cubs three lefty relievers in a seven-man pen, and no platoon mate for Henry
Rodriguez. Adding Henry has been clearly popular, but he doesn’t hit lefties.
To repeat: he’s never hit lefties. The team is griping about how it needs to
score more, while carrying three punchless catchers, a fragile Lance Johnson,
and Manny Alexander. Moving Mieske after starting him once and letting
Rodriguez start against five of the six LH starters the Cubs faced in the first
four weeks of the season is just bad baseball.


Optioned RHP Danny Graves to Indianapolis. [4/27]

No amount of prying revealed who’s coming up to take his place. Mel Nieves? Or
will they cut short Casey’s rehab assignment?


Signed 3B Phil Hiatt to a minor-league contract. [4/28]

In a heavily left-handed lineup, Buffalo needed some right-handed sock.


Activated SS Deivi Cruz from the DL; placed UT Bip Roberts on the 15-day DL
(inflamed left foot). [4/27]

Activated RHP Frank Castillo from the DL; optioned CF Kim Bartee to Toledo.

Placed C Raul Casanova on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/25 (strained
abdominal muscle); recalled C Paul Bako from Toledo. [4/29]

Placed 2B/SS Billy Ripken on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/26 (torn muscle –
left knee). [4/30]

More running in place for the Tigers; Cruz’ glove will certainly help, but it
means that one of our favorite guys, Frank Catalanotto, hits the bench, leaving
the Tigers worse off offensively with Joe Randa and that grisly catching combo
(Bako’s no improvement on Casanova), even with the benefit of not having
Roberts around for the time being. Castillo takes his rotation slot, but that’s
always a mixed blessing. The best thing you can say is that at least Andy
Tomberlin is getting some playing time, about five or six years too late.


Optioned 1B/OF Ryan Jackson to Charlotte; purchased the contract of RHP Donn
from Charlotte, effective Thursday. [4/29]

Designated LHP Gabe Gonzalez for assignment to make room for Pall on the 40-man
roster. [4/30]

With the Marlins’ starting rotation seemingly in constant danger of having
back-to-back games without getting into the third inning, Leyland wanted to
bring in a 12th pitcher during the current stretch of a couple of weeks without
an off day. The surprise here is that its Pall who’s up, and not Oscar
Henriquez or Manny Barrios.


Optioned OF Mike Devereaux to Albuquerque. [4/27]

In other words, nobody claimed him on waivers, and he’s sensible enough to not
declare himself a free agent.


Placed LF Marty Cordova (neck strain) and CF Otis Nixon (surgery to repair
broken jaw) on the 15-day DL; recalled CF Chris Latham from Salt Lake and CF
Torii Hunter from New Britain (AA). [4/28]

The outfield massacre had been coming for awhile: Cordova’s various hurts need
to heal, and Nixon wasn’t helping the team at all by trying to play through his
broken jaw (of course, its dubious how much he’d help when healthy). Latham is
a useful player who could eventually fit into a platoon role with Matt Lawton
in center, which means more time for Alex Ochoa and Orlando Merced in the
outfield. Hunter’s failure to develop has so far been one of the organization’s
big player development disappointments of the ’90s, but for now he’ll be a good
defensive replacement.


Placed LF Bernard Gilkey on the 15-day DL (stress fracture – left elbow);
purchased the contract of UT Craig Paquette from Norfolk; transferred C Todd
from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [4/27]

The Mets’ offense is already running on little more than stale Peeps and
Valentine’s marinara-flecked spluttering, so losing Gilkey for any length of
time is a disaster. The ripple effect? Becker and McRae won’t get to be spotted
to their best platoon advantages as easily, and people like Luis Lopez and Matt
Franco are being asked to play some outfield.


Optioned OF Shane Spencer to Columbus; activated INF Luis Sojo from the DL.

Even with Chili Davis out, the Yankees are in the strange situation where
Strawberry and Raines are actually both healthy at the same time, which with
Chad Curtis around means that Spencer wasn’t getting playing time, even against
LH pitchers. Of course, Homer Bush and Dale Sveum are still both around and not
playing, which means Sojo won’t do much more than join them in the dugout
Pinstriped Glee Club.


Recalled RHP Dave Telgheder from Edmonton; designated RHP Jim Dougherty for
assignment. [4/28]

The A’s fall back on their third option for the fifth starter slot, as they’ve
had to in each of the previous seasons: Dave Telgheder. Maybe its my easily
inspired sense of imagination. Maybe only I shudder each time it happens. But
the surrender that Telgheder represents, the agony of having to hand him a job
every couple of months, is the surface ripple of the organization’s deep
problems with their minor league pitching prospects. Whether its Willie Adams
or Kirk Dressendorfer or Andrew Lorraine or Bret Wagner or Ariel Prieto, no
matter what glimmering possibility seems to hold promise, we keep coming back
to Dave Telgheder. You can’t kill him, you can’t hide from him. He’s the
uninvited guest who chains himself to your couch. His agent certainly earned
his cut by getting his client into the right organization as a minor league
free agent.


Purchased the contract of RHP Tony Runion from the Sioux Falls Canaries of the
Northern League. [4/28]

Optioned 3B Fredi Garcia to Nashville; purchased the contract of INF Chance
from Nashville. [4/30]

Garcia’s screwed, pure and simple. At Nashville, he won’t get to play third
ahead of Aramis Ramirez or left ahead of Chad Hermansen or first ahead of Ron
Wright. He’s going to DH, and pray that somebody claims him when the Pirates
add somebody (Hermansen) to the 40-man roster. Sanford is an interesting
player: a 25 year-old organizational soldier (he’s in his seventh year with the
Pirates) with some patience, a touch of extra-base power, and he’s a lefty
batter who can play second, short or third. On the downside, he’s a wild
swinger, and he isn’t really that much of an offensive threat to keep a job at
third. However, with the execrable Womack at second, and with Collier and
Polcovich struggling mightily at short, he has the opportunity to play his way
into semi-regular work all around the infield, pending Aramis Ramirez’
promotion by the end of the season.


Activated C Tom Pagnozzi from the DL; optioned RHP Manny Aybar to Memphis.

Aybar has been terrible, so moving him out of the rotation isn’t the worst
thing, even if it means that they’re going to try to use Petkovsek as the fifth
starter until Alan Benes or Matt Morris return. But what is LaRussa going to do
with three catchers? Probably pinch-hit more agressively, and with Ray Lankford
healing up, he’ll have McGee and Mabry to use in that capacity more freely.


Traded LHP Ricky Pickett to Arizona for OF Chris Jones; option 1B Jeff Ball to
Fresno. [4/27]

Signed 2B Jeff Kent to a three-year contract extension with a club option for
’02. [4/30]

Pickett wasn’t getting an opportunity with the Giants, and apparently they felt
they needed a veteran RH bat on the bench instead of Ball; with Charlie Hayes
and Alex Diaz around, this is an experienced bad bench, which means
I guess we can all take comfort that in the end, it’ll all get blamed on Barry
Bonds. Some people may feel good about the Kent signing, but let’s pretend that
he’ll still be a useful offensive player two or three years from now. Will he
still even be able to play second?


Claimed RHP Julio Santana off waivers from Texas; transferred LHP Terrell Wade
from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [4/27]

Optioned RHP Eddie Gaillard to Durham. [4/28]

It came down to Gaillard vs. Carlson to make room for Santana, and Carlson’s
ability to pitch long relief mattered more than his lousy April. If the Rays
are smart, they’ll restrict Santana’s use in the same way Davey Johnson hid
Mike Johnson for four months last season. It means you’re effectively going
with a 24-man roster while educating a prospect, but I don’t see why they can’t
make it work. Rothschild avoids using his bench like he has to pay out of
pocket for each player he uses in-game, and Santana may learn how to harness
his great stuff from Rothschild. That’s probably a better use of your last
roster spot than that sixth right-handed reliever.

Thank you for reading

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