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OAKLAND ATHLETICS
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Purchased the contract of LHP Barry Zito from Triple-A Nashville; placed RHP Jesse Chavez on the 60-day disabled list (ribs). [9/16]

A happy surprise. After finishing the minor-league season on the disabled list, Zito believed he was done with baseball; he had told people he was ready to begin his second career as a songwriter. But fate, as it is wont to do, interfered with those plans, and presented a scenario that seems lifted from, well, an uplifting tune. The Giants will visit the Coliseum next weekend, and bring along Tim Hudson, who is set to start Sunday’s game after recently announcing his intent to retire after the season. Though Zito isn’t stretched out, the A’s are reportedly willing to find a way for Zito to start opposite his old rotation mate, thereby giving the Bay Area something to savor during a lost season for both their clubs. It’s more than a nice gesture; it’s the kind of stuff that makes you love this game.

TORONTO BLUE JAYS
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Acquired 2B-R Darwin Barney from the Dodgers in exchange for C-S Jack Murphy. [9/13]

With both members of Toronto’s starting middle infield out with injuries for undetermined lengths, the Jays needed protection against losing Ryan Goins and/or Cliff Pennington to a sprain, strain, or break. As such, Barney is around to serve as padding for the rest of the regular season. He can’t hit and never could (the latest evidence is a .680 OPS in the PCL), yet he’s a talented defender with experience across the infield—while he’s known for his work at the keystone, he’s seen time at third and shortstop—who can step in for a day or two if needed.

The cost for Barney is Murphy, a 27-year-old with shaggy hair, a Princeton education, and plenty of experience in Double-A. He seems more qualified to work than play for the Dodgers, but then, that was true of Barney, too.

PITTSBURGH PIRATES
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Purchased the contract of RHP Vance Worley from Triple-A Indianapolis; designated RHP Radhames Liz for assignment. [9/15]

Perhaps Ray Searage is human after all.

Liz joined the Pirates during the winter by way of Korea, where he’d found some success as a starting pitcher. Pittsburgh’s plan, as best as anyone can tell, was for Liz to pitch out of the bullpen, with an eye on his power stuff leading to a late-inning gig. Never happened. Liz was used in a low-leverage role to begin the season, and was designated for assignment in May. He returned to starting and tweaked his mechanics in Triple-A, but failed to impress once he rejoined the Pirates for a short stint in September. So, after all that, Liz seems to fit the same description he did when he was with the Orioles years ago: an intriguing live arm who lacks the finesse to capitalize upon his upside. Oh well.

Worley, for his part, was also designated for assignment earlier in the season, albeit in July. He opened the year in the Pirates’ rotation before sliding to the bullpen in deference to Charlie Morton. Despite pitching well in short spurts, Worley passed through waivers untouched, and reported to Indianapolis. He’s back to help in relief, but a strong finish could help persuade another team to give him a look as a cheap tail-end starter.

SAN DIEGO PADRES
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Purchased the contract of 1B-R Cody Decker from Triple-A El Paso; placed 1B-L Yonder Alonso on the 60-day disabled list (strained back). [9/14]

It’s been a long time coming for Decker, who you might remember as part of this year’s All-Fringe Prospect Team. Originally a 22nd-round pick, Decker has spent the past three seasons mashing (and some would say wasting) away in Triple-A. There’s a widespread belief that he’s a one-tool player (power), which explains both the Padres’ reluctance to bring him to the majors and the apparent lack of interest from other teams. Decker, to his credit, has tried shedding the label by expanding his defensive flexibility to include third base, the outfield, and even catcher. Ultimately, his below-average athleticism is going to limit his glove wherever he plays, so his bat will determine whether he’s around for a month or a few years. Nonetheless, Decker getting the opportunity to prove (or disprove) his worth is a feel-good story worth monitoring.

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bhacking
9/18
Things are going so well in Toronto these days that when Barney arrived in the clubhouse the team sang to him:

I love you, you love me, we're best friends like friends should be. With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you,
won't you say you love me too.
GBSimons
9/18
Groan. Un-rec, Un-Like, whatever. This is bad. So bad I smirked a little bit...