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IN THIS ISSUE


American League


National League


ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS
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Optioned LHP Chris Capuano to Tucson; purchased the contract of LHP
Eddie Oropesa from Tucson; transferred INF-L Craig Counsell
from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/17]

Sometimes poverty is self-inflicted. On a sort of notional level, I guess
demoting Chris Capuano after his start and bringing up Eddie Oropesa makes
Whitey Herzog happy, because the Snakes have a second lefty in the pen. But
what opponent is going to think twice about what Bob Brenly’s going to do,
because he’s got that Oropesa feller warming up out there? Oropesa’s
generally wild, and for a situational reliever, I guess you could say he has
a normal platoon split in that he’s terrible against the guys he’s supposed
to get out (.271/.360/.400 before this year), and even worse against the
ones he isn’t (.333/.445/.521). He’s a waste of a spot on the 40-man roster.
On the other hand, what else do they have? They cut loose Ron Villone for
unknown reasons, and the other lefty reliever in Tucson is Greg Swindell. If
they want to call up a right-handed reliever, that’s just a different flavor
of resurrection, because you’re talking about people like Scott Service or
Erik Sabel. They’re not entirely dead in the water as far as chasing the
Giants, but these sorts of limitations aren’t going to help any.


ATLANTA BRAVES
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Activated RHP Darren Holmes from the 15-day DL; optioned RHP Joey
Dawley
to Richmond. [5/17]

Joey Dawley didn’t exactly sparkle in his return engagement, getting into
only two games, making a blowout loss worse, and doing nothing to screw up a
big blowout win. The pen hasn’t really been a source of strength for the
Braves this year (as opposed to years past), as the veterans who were
supposed to be John Smoltz’s handmaidens of victory–Holmes, Roberto
Hernandez, and Ray King–haven’t contributed much, particularly with men on
base in King’s and Hernandez’s cases. The good work between the starts and
Smoltz has basically come from the potential starters of the future pressed
into middle relief roles, Jung Bong and Trey Hodges. Even then, Bobby Cox
started off using both of them in low-leverage roles, although Bong seems to
have pitched his way into getting used in more important spots. At any rate,
it makes for an interesting problem as the season progresses. For all of
John Schuerholz’s occasional catty comments about having to trim salary and
he’s just a passive corporate…vessel, he managed to find a way to squeeze
Shane Reynolds into the budget. Cox might choose to run with the hand he’s
been dealt, but if you were the Braves, would you want to have to hand a
postseason game to Roberto Hernandez? Or Ray King?


BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Optioned 1B/3B-R Jose Leon to Ottawa. [5/18]

The nightmare scenario is here: the Devil Rays might actually mount a
season-long challenge for fourth place. As a result, you can sort of
understand if there’s some random deck-chair reshuffling. After all, at this
point, the Orioles almost have an economic interest in driving people away
from Camden (perhaps explaining why the microbrews left last year), just to
keep the Expos as far away as possible for as long as possible.


CHICAGO WHITE SOX
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Fired hitting coach Gary Ward. [5/18]

This has happened here before, of course: Jerry Manuel seems to start
spinning his wheels, and rather than get held accountable, a high profile
coach bites the dust. See Joshua, Von and Contreras, Nardi, for the most
recent bits of same-flavored scapegoatery. I guess there’s some justice in
thinking that Manuel will eventually get the whacking he’s pretty well
earned for the disappointments he and Kenny Williams can take credit for the
last few seasons, except that when it does come, his final vengeance will be
an interminable press conference, heavily laden with professions of
religiosity and martyrdom.

Pondering that, I can almost sympathize with the
Romans and why they lost their taste for tossing believers to the lions: I
suppose the enormous success of the horror movie genre proves that it’s a
lot more entertaining when people go down screaming and yelling, as opposed
to talking about faith. Except then you have to have the moral character to
live up to your responsibilities, pick that axe back up, and start whacking,
because it’s just a defense mechanism, sort of like the poisons the cane
toad or the bombardier beetle use to cheat death, and it’s better to do the
world a service and just be done with it.


CHICAGO CUBS
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Placed LHP Mark Guthrie on the 15-day DL (elbow tendinitis),
retroactive to 5/13; purchased the contract of LHP Phil Norton from
Iowa. [5/17]

I’m one of those people who likes Mark Guthrie well enough as spare lefty
relievers go, so I don’t wish him any ill, but it’s definitely nice to see
Phil Norton’s patchwork arm hold up long enough for him to get another crack
at the big leagues. He got a couple of starts back in 2000, but he had to
have his elbow Tommy-John’ed in January of 2002. He used to throw pretty
hard for a lefty, and his career was pretty smooth, laden with All-Star
nominations, until he hit the PCL in 1999; I don’t know if he’s really all
there yet, after only about 16 months after the surgery. On a certain level,
the point isn’t important, since Dave Veres will be back off of the DL soon
enough. However, the absence of anyone else above A-ball who might plausibly
fill the second lefty role (Dutch import and organizational soldier Ferenc
Jongejan–What a name!–has struggled pretty mightily in Iowa himself) means
that Norton may get to stay until the 28th or 29th, when Guthrie’s very
minor elbow twinge should have healed up.


CINCINNATI REDS
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Announced that OF-R Ruben Mateo cleared waivers, and outrighted him
to Louisville. [5/15]

That’s right, nobody took a flyer on Mateo. Not even the Marlins, who don’t
have a corner outfielder who can hit well enough to hold a job, not the
Mets, still futzing around with the likes of Tsuyoshi Shinjo, not the
DH-less D-Rays, nobody. So either nobody thinks his back is sound, which
makes it understandable, or nobody’s got the 40-man roster space, which is
pretty dubious, or nobody cared.


CLEVELAND INDIANS
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Signed RHP Dan Miceli to a minor league contract, and assigned him to
Buffalo. [5/15]

Purchased the contract of RHP Jason Phillips from Buffalo; designated
RHP Jerrod Riggan for assignment. [5/18]

We’ve been talking about the interesting transition the Indians should make
in-season in their rotation for a few months, so it’s naturally interesting
when another development finally occurs. In this case, Jason Phillips might
get a chance to slip into the rotation. Jason Davis has struggled pretty
badly overall (5.81 ERA, and -1.3 SNVA), but he has cranked out four quality
starts (one was blown in the seventh) in nine total starts, so it isn’t like
he’s been completely, irredeemably hopeless; Brian Anderson, the
next-easiest mark in the rotation with a 5.14 ERA and a Support-Neutral
Value Added figure of -0.6, has been his usual fifth starter self, neither a
significant asset or problem, but always good for a few Ehlo-esque
SportsCenter moments on the mound. By contrast, Phillips has been
outstanding at Buffalo, going 6-0, and posting a 2.70 ERA. There’s a dose of
good fortune mixed into all that, since he’s only boasting a 28-14
strikeout-to-walk ratio in 43.1 IP, with 35 hits allowed. Nevertheless, it’s
a nifty start to a season, and the Tribe can use the long relief help if
nothing else.

I wouldn’t say employing Dan Miceli is the worst thing you can do (after
all, guys like Pete Rose or Ben Christensen still litter the landscape in
one way or another), but you have to be really hard up to have to want him,
even if only to fill up a Triple-A bullpen. Better people have been bumped
out of the game for less than his little Marlin mutiny moment.


DETROIT TIGERS
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Placed DH-R Dean Palmer on the 15-day DL (shoulder, neck),
retroactive to 5/10; purchased the contract of 1B/3B/OF-L Kevin Witt
from Toledo. [5/16]

Kevin Witt was hitting .305/.383/.588 as a Mudhen, which translates to about
a .285 Equivalent Average in the big leagues. If Dean Palmer could get up to
285 in anything, triple crown rates, his weight, Pac-Man, anything, it would
be news. Entering his fourth season as a regular in Triple-A, Witt’s been a
long-suffering minor league veteran for awhile now, so the Tigers pretty
much represent his last best hope to get some serious service time in the
big leagues. He’s never really walked enough to make a lot of people’s Ken
Phelps All-Star lists, but I like him better than some of the guys PECOTA
compares him to, like Jeff Liefer or Andy Tracy, although again, none of
them could really field well enough to play third or hit well enough to play
first, so as broad strokes go, it’s correct. But keep in mind that these are
the Tigers, and they need anybody who can poke.

For Witt, it’s a good time, since this is his ’27’ season, and he’s willing to play in whatever corner, infield or outfield, you put him in. Having him in the lineup at DH does put Dmitri Young on the field, but the Tigers have had the left end of the defensive spectrum (first base, left, notional third basemen) for a couple of years now, one of those less-heralded leftovers of the Randy Smith regime.


FLORIDA MARLINS
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Placed RHP Toby Borland on the 15-day DL (appendicitis), retroactive
to 5/15; purchased the contract of OF-R Chad Allen from Albuquerque;
transferred OF-B Abraham Nunez from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/18]

Not that I want to be mistaken for a big Chad Allen booster or anything, but
it’s a hell of a lot smarter to have him around as your fourth outfielder
than guys like Brian Banks or Ice Williams. Score one for Jack McKeon and
improved roster design.


HOUSTON ASTROS
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Placed RHP Roy Oswalt on the 15-day DL (strained groin), retroactive
to 5/16. [5/17]

Recalled RHP Kirk Saarloos from New Orleans. [5/18]

Oswalt’s strained groin isn’t supposed to be something dangerous as much as
a situation where the Astros need to exercise some necessary caution, so
it’s interesting to see what they’ve elected to do in the meantime. Recalling Saarloos does not mean Saarloos is going into the rotation;
instead, he’s replacing Peter Munro as far as long relief duties, with Munro
moving into a rotation already stocked with Jeriome Robertson. Since the
news on Scuffy Moehler isn’t good, the Astros basically have at least three
fifth starter types in the rotation at the moment: Munro, Robertson, and
Scott Linebrink, with Saarloos hanging out as a fourth choice. That’s fugly. Fortunately, Oswalt will be back shortly, but the Astros need to think big
picture, and keep their toe in the water in case any starters start getting
shopped around. And no, not the Rick Reeds of the world; even after they get
Oswalt back, they’ve got Oswalt, Wade Miller (presumably, once he gets back
on track), and…Tim Redding? They need somebody else for October, not to
mention to help them get there. They could win the NL Central with the cast
on hand, considering the Cardinals’ multiple hobblings and the Cubs’
capacity for self-spite, but going to the dance doesn’t mean much if
you’re locked into letting your parents drive you home.


KANSAS CITY ROYALS
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Optioned RHP Kris Wilson to Omaha; purchased the contract of RHP
Jason Gilfillan from Omaha. [5/16]

Placed RHP Albie Lopez on the 15-day DL (pulled groin); recalled RHP
Kris Wilson from Omaha. [5/17]

Albie Lopez was supposed to represent some form of veteran insurance for
whatever the Royals might need in-season, but instead, he seemed to have
fulfilled their unwanted and unnecessary requirement for the new George
Frazier, making it that much easier to slip him onto the DL and let a
homegrown mediocrity like Kris Wilson handle the mop-up, blow-out, and long
relief duties.

It’s been a nice season for the Royals in terms of getting
familiar and developing confidence in their young pitchers, something that I
don’t think we were ever going to really see on Tony Muser’s watch, and
which redounds to the credit of both Tony Pena and Allard Baird. Which makes
it all the stranger that we haven’t gotten to see Jason Gilfillan debut
already. He’s not somebody you’d mistake for a prospect; setting aside the
notion of a ‘pitching prospect’ or ‘relief prospect’ as constructions with
value beyond the oxymoronic, what’s the value of calling a minor league
middle reliever anything besides a prospective major league middle reliever?
Nevertheless, given how this season’s working out for the Royals, he could
claim Sean Lowe’s job with a few good moments.


LOS ANGELES DODGERS
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Activated OF-R Chad Hermansen from the 15-day DL and optioned him to
Las Vegas. [5/16]

Placed OF-L Dave Roberts on the 15-day DL (strained hamstring);
activated RHP Paul Shuey from the 15-day DL. [5/17]

Optioned 1B-L Larry Barnes to Las Vegas; recalled OF/2B-R Jason
Romano
from Las Vegas. [5/18]

It didn’t take very long, but credit Jim Tracy for making the move that a
whole lot of table-leaguers would have called for once it was clear that
Dave Roberts had to go to the DL, and stop screwing around with Jolbert
Cabrera so much (he’s part of a platoon at second, after all). Instead, he
got Brian Jordan to move into center, and seems to have built a left field
platoon of Daryle Ward and Mike Kinkade, with Cabrera or Jason Romano coming
into center late in the game to get Ward and Kinkade out of the outfield. I
don’t mean to diminish what Tracy’s done by comparing the gambit to a bit of
obvious gamesmanship in Strat-O-Matic; it’s the sort of move that makes me
think Tracy would run the table in any league, real or imagined, and that’s
without considering the leadership skills required in dealing with the
players to convince them that his way is the right way.

So instead of being crippled by the loss of a critical OBP source like Roberts, Tracy gets to
add some power to his lineup, and with a weekend series in Coors in the
offing, no less. As someone who grew up hating the Dodgers about as much as
Billy Martin did, it’s almost obnoxious to consider that they’re admirable
these days.


NEW YORK YANKEES
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Placed 1B-L Nick Johnson on the 15-day DL (fractured hand). [5/16]

Recalled RHP Jason Anderson from Columbus. [5/17]

I was probably already inclined to compare Nick Johnson’s hands and wrists
to Joe Hauser’s knees–Hauser was the bopper whose knees Pipped him out of
Jimmy Foxx’s way–but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Steve Goldman
mentioned it in passing to me first. And there’s the problem: would we have
been forecasting great things and a superb career for Hauser in 1923? Hell
yes, we would have. It might have entailed Keith Woolner and some vacuum
tubes, but odds are, we’d have been trumpeting the future of this Hauser
guy, and then mourning what was not. Nick Johnson’s career isn’t just
inching into that kind of territory, it’s purposefully stomping in that
general direction, and that has to be an enormous source of concern for the
Yankees looking forward over the next three to five years.

Of immediate concern is Joe Torre’s far-too-predictable response, which was
to hand the resulting playing time to Todd Zeile first, and then start
working in Bubba Trammell now and again. It’s silly, but then Trammell
should have had the good sense or poor taste to have played for the 1994
Cardinals, regardless of whether or not he was 22 and without a choice in
the matter. Giambi’s troubling eye problems certainly contributed, but I’ll
be interested to see who winds up with more at-bats during Johnson’s
absence. Again, few weep for the Yankees, but this is the sort of thing that
stirs up hope in Beantown, and not just of the ‘easily ground under foot’
variety, either.


NEW YORK METS
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Placed SS-R Rey Sanchez on the 15-day DL (), retroactive to 5/10;
recalled INF-R Marcos Scutaro from Norfolk; transferred RHP Grant
Roberts
from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [5/15]

Placed C-R Mike Piazza on the 15-day DL (groin); recalled C-R
Jason Phillips from Norfolk. [5/16]

Recalled OF-L Jeff Duncan from Binghamton (Double-A); optioned RHP
Jason Middlebrook to Norfolk. [5/18]

So, nobody left on the team who can really play shortstop, Piazza’s out for
at least two months (if not more, if not forever), and you’ve still got
those exciting Roger Cedeno promotions to look forward to, so what’s left?
All of a sudden, those lame “Coney and John Franco will be back any
minute now” stories are about as relevant as making sure to include a
wombat scene in Roland Emmerich’s next contribution to cinematic history.
The Mets are baseball’s answer to Brookstone: they cost a lot, they’re not
very useful, half the damn gewgaws break way too easily, and that impulse
purchase of a noiseless ionizing waffle iron with the sharkskin grip just
doesn’t seem so smart all of a sudden.

Oscar Wilde once advised that “Ambition is the last refuge of the
failure,” so perhaps the Mets need to start getting high-minded, and
giving thought to how now may be the ideal time for the organization to face
facts and recognize that this is a tear-down year so that they can retool
and focus on building something a little more durable, and decide whether or
not Steve Phillips can help orchestrate that or if, as is more likely, he’s
part of the problem. That does leave you with the uncomfortable position of
having to pick a GM who thinks he can work with Art Howe, which perhaps
predictably would make it that much easier to slip into an
interim-cum-full-time GM job for Jim Duquette, in a transition a la
Selig
.

As far as what gets to happen right now, Joe McEwing looks like he’ll get
most of the time at short, which won’t make Tom Glavine very happy. However,
it makes sense to let Jose Reyes start having a good season at Norfolk
before bringing him up right now, which is why the decision to push Jeff
Duncan seems odd, since it’s the opposite choice. Duncan might turn into a
useful big league outfielder, but his big numbers last year came in his
third professional season after coming out of a top college program (Arizona
State), and it was at A-ball. In his Double-A debut this year, he was only
hitting .252/.350/.348. Yes, his future may as well be now, but it’s not
much of a future. It’s sort of besides the point, since they should be
reactivating Jeromy Burnitz by the end of the week, so it may just be a case
of filling out the active roster with a body already on the 40-man.

Behind the plate, meanwhile, the Mets get an unwanted opportunity to decide which Vance Wilson
and Jason Phillips is the catcher of the immediate future. I guess the
happiest thing here is that Marco Scutaro gets back on the active roster,
since he’s a better player than a few starting second basemen around the
league.


PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES
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Recalled RHP Brandon Duckworth from Scranton/Wilkes-Barre; optioned
RHP Eric Junge to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. [5/18]

If you’re curious about the effects of this little bit of roster chicanery,
it meant that an inning in a loss to the Astros on the 11th that might have
gone to Joe Roa instead went to Junge, because that’s the entire extent that
the two of them pitched during Duckworth’s ten-day stint in the minors.
True, they were prepared on some level just in case they got caught in a
twenty-inning game or something, but there might have been a better way to
use the spot during Duckworth’s absence.


PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Purchased the contract of INF-R Jeff Reboulet from Nashville. [5/15]

Purchased the contract of RHP Pat Mahomes from Nashville; optioned
LHP Dennys Reyes to Nashville. [5/16]

Reboulet’s promotion was already anticipated last time around in this space.
No, what I’m amazed by is the sort of team the Pirates are going to end up
fielding if this sort of stuff keeps happening. Not just Jeff Reboulet, but
Pat Mahomes? Perhaps understandably, since Dennys Reyes wasn’t doing so
well, and the Bucs could use the spare right-handed reliever, but… Pat
Mahomes
? On a team already giving time to Julian Tavarez and Brian
Meadows? Dave Littlefield took on a massive rebuilding project, but do you
really want to devote most of your staff space to no-treads and iffy
retreads, on the off chance you get a Brian Boehringer ’02 season? And if
you don’t flip that, but instead pay for it, what good does that do you? You
don’t build fan loyalty by aspiring to 75 wins, but fielding a team of guys
like these, or Randall Simon for that matter, and you’ve got bigger problems
than talk radio complaints about whether or not Lloyd McClendon is a
chucklehead, and when’s he going to be held accountable for not getting you
on track for those 75 wins.


SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Placed RHP Clay Condrey on the 15-day DL (strained oblique),
retroactive to 5/13; placed RHP Brandon Villafuerte on the 15-day DL
(strained shoulder), retroactive to 5/15; purchased the contract of RHPs
Charles Nagy and Carlton Loewer from Portland; optioned LHP
Roger Deago to Mobile (Double-A); purchased the contract of LHP
Randy Keisler from Portland; transferred RHPs Kevin Jarvis and
Jay Witasick and LHP Kevin Walker from the 15- to the 60-day
DL. [5/16]

Outrighted C-R Wiki Gonzalez to Portland; purchased the contract of
C-R Miguel Ojeda from Portland; fired pitching coach Greg
Booker
; named Darren Balsley pitching coach. [5/17]

Interchangeability, fungibility, or proof that beyond a certain point, you
can wince and everyone’s a clone of everyone else, whatever you call it, the
Pads are definitely going with it. You could point out it’s just as well,
because I’ve certainly been guilty of singing the praises of a team that’s
got the second-worst record in baseball. But some of this just boggles, no
matter how high your boggle-o-meter is set. If one bad start is enough to
cost you your job, why bother with calling up Roger Deago at all? It wasn’t
like there was a Panamanian Night at the ballpark that needed to be spiced
up. Certainly, losing Villafuerte (the presumptive closer who sped fantasy
hearts more than anyone or anything that matters) and Condrey cleared space,
and presto, you’ve got the three reconstructed horsemen–Loewer, Nagy, and
Keisler–riding in and putting their battered limbs to the test. Nagy joined
Jaret Wright in the ex-Tribe section of the pen, while Loewer and Keisler
went right into the rotation.

I’ve been inclined to give the Pads credit in
the past, but I can’t help but look at all this and think there isn’t a
whole lot separating these moves and those of the Pirates: sorting through a
lot of dreck out of need, and hoping for the best. What the Pads do that’s
different is what the Pirates used to do that was different, back when they
hauled Francisco Cordova out of nowhere, which is haul up a random Latin
they’ve scouted and perhaps nobody else has. It hasn’t really worked out all
that well for them, either, considering Rodrigo Lopez was great last year,
as an Oriole, and Deago’s already being yo-yo’d as much as Lopez was once or
Oliver Perez has been recently. That’s why, as a Padre, I don’t know if it’s
even worth noticing the arrival of Mexican League veteran Miguel Ojeda. Yes,
it’s interesting that he’s coming over directly from the Mexican League,
without spelunking in our minors first. It’s neat that Ojeda had a nifty
year with Mexico City last year (.352, 19 home runs, and a bunch of walks)
and was off to a great start this year (.316, 10 home runs already). But will
the Padres use him? Or will they give up on Mike Rivera already? Or will
they reacquire their fascination with Gary Bennett when he’s ready to come
off of the DL? They say Ojeda’s 28, and there are hints he’s useful. That’s
been said about a lot of people.


SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
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Optioned RHP Ryan Jensen and OF-R Jason Ellison to Fresno;
recalled LHP Chad Zerbe from Fresno; purchased the contract of RHP
Manny Aybar from Fresno. [5/18]

The Giants’ pen has been a weak spot all season (they rank close to the
bottom in Michael Wolverton’s Reliever Evaluation Tools), and while it’s
easy to blame everything on Robb Nen’s non-presence, it goes a bit deeper
than that. Not having Robb Nen around doesn’t make Felix Rodriguez continue
to struggle, or make Jim Brower less of a bad idea, or explain why anyone
would anoint Tim Worrell with MLB’s official Closer Pixie Dust to make him
extra sparkly and savetastic. So even if they didn’t have a problem with
having only a single lefty in the pen (if that’s a problem) and felt they
had to have Zerbe back, and even if they didn’t have a problem with Ryan
Jensen and what he’s for and if he’s good for it, the Giants have a problem
in the bullpen. I’ve sung Manny Aybar’s praises so many times on so many
occasions that I’d feel like an extra-dull reggae jam artist if I just
cranked out the usual ‘he still throws hard’ line, but it’s still true, and
he still has value in a big league bullpen. The pen is that much more of a
concern when you remember that nobody in the rotation is a workhorse. It’s
going to be interesting to see what Brian Sabean will do to address the
problem in the weeks or months to come.


TAMPA BAY DEVIL RAYS
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Signed SS-R Julio Lugo. [5/15]

Added Lugo to the active roster; optioned SS-R Antonio Perez and LHP
John Rocker to Orlando (Double-A); recalled RHP Brandon Backe
from Durham. [5/16]

Designated INF-R Felix Escalona for assignment; purchased the
contract of RHP Jeremi Gonzalez from Durham. [5/17]

I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait until Lugo’s book and Disney deal
come through. I mean, if a guy who can actually stick in the major leagues
goes to the Devil Rays, just thinking of the marketing potential! A
promotional tour, full media blitz! Oprah? Okay, maybe not. Sally? Hmmm.
Jenny Jones? Bingo! That’s exactly this franchise’s speed. And they can
piggy-back the touching story of Jeremi Gonzalez onto the whole thing. You
can take the Veeck out of the franchise, but that doesn’t make it any less
of a wreck. After all, two games of John Rocker didn’t work, that’s two
games
of live programming, it was worse than dead air, you gotta stop
that stuff!

More seriously, it’s pretty cool to see Gonzalez get a shot. His problems
with the Cubs weren’t all their fault and they weren’t all his, but it was
nice to see him finally make it back after what seemed like a never-ending
round of elbow injuries and reinjuries. He did have the advantage of
re-debuting on a day when Randy Marsh seemed to be in a hurry to get the
game over (Pat Hentgen tossed his first quality start of the year, and this
is a guy who’s faced the Tigers twice), but he’s been throwing strikes since
the winter, and he seems to check out physically. Worse talents get
retreaded, and Gonzalez might be the first successful D-Ray rehab project.

And having Lugo in the lineup is… well, it’s better than Felix Escalona or
Antonio Perez (for the moment), you can say that much.


TEXAS RANGERS
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Activated RHP Ismael Valdes from the 15-day DL; designated RHP
Esteban Yan for assignment. [5/17]

With Valdes back, it’s almost beginning to resemble a big league rotation
again. Sure, they’re still letting Colby Lewis get caned every fifth day
out, and they’ve still got Alan Benes, but Valdes, John Thomson, and Joaquin
Benoit involves three names you’d like to see in some rotations, if not all
of them necessarily in the same one. Valdes isn’t really at full-strength
just yet, which means the Rangers will have to continue to lean on R.A.
Dickey and Todd Van Poppel pretty heavily in long relief roles, but if
there’s a team that’s used to that sort of problem, it’s the Rangers.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS
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Optioned OF/C-R Jayson Werth to Syracuse; recalled OF-R Reed
Johnson
from Syracuse. [5/16]

The wrestling match between Carlos Tosca’s ears really seems to be going on
way too long, since the topic only seems to be life and third catchers,
with, or without? Jayson Werth’s selling point was supposed to be that he
could be the third catcher as well as Frank Catalanotto’s platoon partner in
right, but Werth never ended up catching–not while the Greg Myers-Tom
Wilson platoon is erasing any memory of Ernie Whitt and Buck Martinez–and
Werth wasn’t hitting often enough or well enough to get to stick around. So
the Jays effectively reversed the decision they made almost four weeks ago,
and have now slotted Johnson for the platoon role, and again foregoing
having a third catcher around. Life would be a lot simpler if they asked
Dave Berg to do some emergency warm-ups and whatever, if only to set Tosca’s
mind at ease.

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