Activated SS Gary DiSarcina from the DL; optioned IF Keith
to Edmonton. [4/24]

Activated RHP Elvin Nina from the DL and assigned him to Erie
(Double-A). [4/25]

Finally resurfacing after too much quality time in Calgary, Benji Gil
managed to demonstrate that there’s still no reason to consider him to be
more than one of the top 60 or so shortstops on the planet. Keep in mind,
though, that when somebody like me says he "sucks," I’m still
talking about one of the 60 best shortstops on the planet.

Of course, if Gil’s in the top 60, that doesn’t mean Gary DiSarcina is in
the top 40.


Placed RHP Kevin McGlinchy on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/17;
recalled LHP Bruce Chen from Richmond. [4/20]

Optioned RHP Luis Rivera to Richmond; activated RHP Rudy
from the DL. [4/27]

So now not only is John Burkett less than mediocre, he’s also fragile? The
Braves want him around for what, again? With Kerry Ligtenberg needing to
pitch himself into shape, there are two roster spots being wasted on projects.

The Braves don’t seem to have the "veteran insurance" thing
worked out the way the Indians or Yankees do. Guys like these are made for
extended spring training and maximum-length rehab assignments. The Braves
sort of have the right idea with Steve Avery, who has been terrible, but
with no harm done to the major-league team.

Both Burkett and Kevin McGlinchy have less to offer right now than Bruce
Chen and Luis Rivera. Chen ought to be in the rotation, and as long as
Bobby Cox doesn’t make the same mistake with Chen that he made last year
with Odalis Perez, the results will be fine.

At least the return of Seanez should give the Braves one of the best
right-handed setup men around, for at least the month or two that he’s
healthy. After he inevitably reinjures himself, the Braves need to take a
page from the Yankees’ playbook and leave him in Myrtle Beach until
September, to get him prepped for postseason work.


Claimed IF Mark Lewis off of waivers from the Reds; designated RHP
Tim Worrell for assignment. [4/26]

At least this gets the Orioles back down to 11 pitchers. Their roster
dilemma remains the same: as long as they’re committed to carrying three
left-handed relievers, refuse to use Chuck McElroy at all and cling to
keeping Mike Timlin in the Eck-style closer’s role, they really need a
second useful right-handed reliever. Calvin Maduro isn’t fitting the bill
any better than Tim Worrell ever will. Once Scott Erickson returns, chances
are that Jose Mercedes will get bumped back into the pen, but the Orioles
would be better off either taking a long look at Gabe Molina or bringing Al
Reyes back.


Signed C Mike Figga and RHP Mel Rojas to minor-league
contracts. [4/25]

Acquired OF Curtis Pride from the Mets for a PTBNL. [4/27]

Pawtucket may not push Buffalo this year, and moves like these don’t do a
lot to help. Pride at least gives the PawSox the left-handed-hitting
outfielder they otherwise lacked.

I’m not sure about Pawtucket’s alignment on the compass, but I’m willing to
bet at least one of Rojas’s taters will reach Southie, if not fly all the
way to Fenway.


Optioned RHP Ruben Quevedo and OF Tarrik Brock to Iowa;
recalled RHP Matt Karchner from Iowa; activated 3B/OF Willie
from the DL. [4/25]

One of the more pathetic things about the Cubs under the Andy MacPhail/Ed
Lynch regime has been that when things get bad, they make noise about
shaking up the roster, then pull off moves like these. It isn’t Don
Baylor’s fault; Ed Lynch did the exact same thing in 1996, when he swore
that the team needed shaking up, and the prescription for improvement was
demoting guys like Brian Dorsett and Todd Haney.

The question is the same now as it was then: what kind of roster has guys
like this in the first place? Tarrik Brock had no business being on a
major-league roster, and Ruben Quevedo came up too soon. The Cubs are still
the kind of organization that gets genuinely surprised when it notices
someone like Damon Buford can’t hit despite years of professional
experience, so what’s their guess for success? They’re seriously talking
about bringing back Lance Johnson, or maybe Curtis Goodwin. After all, they
were good enough to have last year, right?

While Willie Greene gives the Cubs a needed dose of left-handed power in
the infield and off the bench, he’ll only get spot starts for Shane
Andrews. Matt Karchner is still part of the right-handed relief problem: as
long as this team thinks Brian Williams was a worthwhile off-season
signing, and as long as they pretend they need to reserve Rick Aguilera for
the ninth-inning lead they’ll get about once a week, this pen is never
going to get sorted out.


Recalled RHP Elmer Dessens from Louisville; placed (and lost) IF
Mark Lewis on waivers. [4/26]

Twelve pitchers might make sense, considering that Ron Villone, Steve
Parris and Pete Harnisch are all having problems getting through the
fifth inning in their starts. But especially in Villone’s case, I’d take
that as an incentive to start changing some roles. The Reds are talking
about how great Elmer Dessens is looking nowadays. The hope is that a stint
in Japan might have taught him about breaking stuff and changing speeds.

The Reds will probably stay with 12 pitchers even after Barry Larkin heals;
the alternative would be to bring up a utilityman like Chris Sexton, better
known as the poor man’s Chris Stynes, and the Reds already have the
original model.


Activated 2B Damion Easley from the DL; optioned RF Karim
to Toledo. [4/25]

Karim Garcia was demoted just before receiving his suspension, which puts
him in the company of Bob Sebra, if I remember correctly. Sebra’s demotion
effectively ended his career, not that it was that impressive to start off

That’s another thing Garcia has in common with Sebra. Garcia is starting to
enter Brad Komminsk territory as far as being one of the all-time
outfield-prospect flops, at least in the non-Blue Jay category. Maybe it’s
because he’s lying about his age; he did come out of the Dodgers’
organization originally, after all.

Damion Easley’s return will do more for the Tigers’ defense than anything
else, but between Tony Clark’s struggles and Dean Palmer’s suspension, all
of a sudden Gregg Jefferies is going to get a lot more playing time than is
healthy for a team claiming it’s going to push the Indians.


Activated IF Dave Berg from the DL; optioned UT Chris
to Calgary. [4/25]

Dave Berg only returns to reprise his super-utility role; John Boles is
claiming he’s going to let Pablo Ozuna play second base as long as he’s up
and Luis Castillo is on the DL. But just as I’d rather let Ozuna stay at
shortstop over Alex Gonzalez, I’d rather let Berg play every day at
shortstop over Alex Gonzalez.


Recalled RHP Jason Rakers from Omaha. [4/24]

Acquired RHP Miguel Batista from the Expos for RHP Brad
. [4/25]

Optioned RHP Chris Fussell to Omaha. [4/26]

Hmm, this all looks suspiciously like a couple of good ideas from a place
not known for them. The key feature here is that the Royals realize that
two rotation spots are wide open. Chris Fussell is going down to make a few
starts at Omaha, after which he might be back up and in the big-league
rotation. In the meantime, the Royals can decide how much longer it will be
until they pull the plug on Jay Witasick and possibly Mac Suzuki. In
Witasick’s case, most people have been expecting him to move back into the
bullpen at some point, while Suzuki is another one of Woody Woodward’s

Toss in stealing Miguel Batista from the Expos, and you’ve got a situation
where Tony Muser has a lot of flexibility. Batista should start off in the
pen, but if Fussell’s retrofitting into starterdom goes slowly, Batista can
be slipped into the rotation for either Witasick or Suzuki, whoever doesn’t
get his act together first.


Activated RHP Kevin Brown from the DL; optioned LHP Jeff
to Albuquerque. [4/25]

Kevin Brown’s absence wasn’t as much of a problem as it could have been,
but he does return in time for a major offensive tailspin. Demoting Jeff
Williams temporarily leaves the Dodgers without a left-handed reliever.
Unless Onan Masaoka gets his control problems straightened out at
Albuquerque, the Dodgers will have to trade for one, because the
organization is short of left-handed pitching above A ball.


Acquired RHP Brad Rigby from the Royals for RHP Miguel
. [4/25]

If this was a salary dump, it was oddly timed, and didn’t bring in any
talent. The only possible excuse for this move is that the Expos needed a
pitcher who might have an option to burn, because there isn’t much to
separate Rigby from people like J.D. Smart or Shayne Bennett. Like so many
guys Jim Beattie gets the hots for, Rigby’s just very tall.


Optioned RHP Dennis Springer to Norfolk; recalled RHP Eric
from Norfolk. [4/27]

Your basic roster shenanigan. It’s expected that by the next time the fifth
rotation spot rolls around, the worthwhile Bobby Jones (the right-handed
one) will be ready to come off of the DL. Meanwhile, the Mets get to
effectively carry a 26th man, in this case Eric Cammack, for mop-up duties
as they head off to Planet Coors.

This isn’t the Mets’ fault: the system is designed to be exploited and
they’re smart enough to do so. But a team carrying several pitchers with
less than three years’ experience could pull a lot of sleight-of-hand with
moves like this, and it will take an aggressive commissioner’s office to
keep it from happening.


Placed LHP Allen Watson on the 15-day DL, retroactive to 4/23
(strained oblique); recalled LHP Ed Yarnall from Columbus. [4/24]

Activated 3B Scott Brosius from the DL; optioned 3B Alfonso
to Columbus. [4/25]

Activated LHP Andy Pettitte from the 15-day DL; optioned LHP Ed
to Columbus. [4/26]

Slowly but surely, the Yankee are putting their roster back together again,
and while it was amusing to submit Rangers’ fans to the indignity of losing
on a Clay Bellinger home run, the Yankees are better with Scott Brosius back.

They’re going to reach a point where they’ll have decide whether or not to
try to slip Todd Erdos through waivers. While I like him more than most, if
push comes to shove they can afford the risk.


Placed DH John Jaha on the 15-day DL (shoulder strain); optioned OF
Jeremy Giambi to Sacramento; recalled CF Terrence Long and
1B/3B Adam Piatt from Sacramento. [4/24]

Signed 1B Paul Sorrento and RHP Rich DeLucia to minor-league
contracts and assigned them to Sacramento. [4/27]

The A’s reap the bitter fruit of last winter’s political decision to bring
back the oft-injured John Jaha and Randy Velarde: it isn’t even May, and
neither of them have been healthy.

Fortunately, the A’s have choices. While I’m not a member of the Cult of
Terrence Long, on a tactical level there might be something to be said for
a guy who will hit a bit like Garret Anderson on a team loaded with guys
who’ll take ball four. While I’m fond of the Rich Becker/Ryan Christenson
platoon in center field, it just as easily makes for a fine fourth outfielder.

Adam Piatt’s callup is a fun development, in that it gives the heavily
left-leaning lineup a much-needed dose of right-handed sock. The A’s were
already letting Olmedo Saenz play every day, and the team may not have to
worry as much about left-handed pitching as they did last year.

As for letting Jeremy Giambi slip back to the minors, he didn’t do much
with limited playing time. For all of this spring’s tough talk (or last
year’s ugly experiment with Tony Phillips in center field), even the A’s
decided that a roster heavy on DH types makes for some bad baseball.


Activated OF Kory DeHaan from the DL; optioned DH John Roskos
to Las Vegas. [4/24]

Now that Rule 5 pick DeHaan’s "injury" is completely healed, he
can look forward to plenty of exciting duty as a defensive replacement for
either of Al Martin or Tony Gwynn.


Optioned RHP Kevin Hodges to Tacoma; recalled LHP Robert
from Tacoma. [4/25]

See the Mets comment above, with this situation also being brought on by
injuries, in this case to Freddy Garcia and Jamie Moyer. Kevin Hodges was
in the major leagues for all of 72 hours.

To keep teams from getting really silly about these sorts of moves, a
longer minimum call-up time might not be such a bad idea. The Mariners are
carrying two potential emergency starter/long-relief guys in Frankie
Rodriguez and Paul Abbott, so there’s something tacky about letting them
carry a third. It wasn’t as if either Rodriguez or Abbott were even all
that tired. Rodriguez pitched four innings last Friday, which means he
should have been ready for some work by Monday or Tuesday; Abbott pitched
two innings on Saturday, which should have had him also available by
Monday, when Hodges tossed three mopup innings in a shutout loss.

The question is whether stopping this sort of ticky-tack roster move is a
worthwhile goal. The plus is that somebody like Hodges gets his cup of
coffee, but the downside is that it undermines the validity of setting the
roster limit at 25 in the first place. There’s been talk of wooing the
union with the offer of an extra roster spot or two during the next CBA,
and we can expect that will mean a roster spot for mop-up pitchers to keep
the slaughter rule off the books, and probably some more aggressive action
in the Rule 5 draft. And again, you have to ask yourself: are these worthy


Placed LHP Mike Munoz on the 15-day DL (tendinitis); recalled LHP
Doug Davis from Oklahoma. [4/26]

Johnny Oates is known for being a literalist: he’s decided to carry 12
pitchers, so it doesn’t matter if he’s still got two left-handers in the
pen even after losing Mike Munoz–he just has to have that third
left-hander, so up Davis comes. It won’t be for long. Assuming the Rangers
can’t find a taker for Mark Clark right at this moment, someone has to go
once Justin Thompson returns, and Davis can be optioned back down.

Thank you for reading

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