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Recalled RHPs Greg Jones and Dustin
, 1B-B Kendry Morales, 1B/3B-L
Dallas McPherson, and OF-B Tommy Murphy
from Salt Lake (Triple-A). [9/14]

Seeing so much of the Buzz come up at once gives notice that Salt Lake was
victimized by a Tucson team that seems to be having everything go its way
in the PCL playoffs. McPherson hit a couple of homers, and Jones saved
Salt Lake’s lone win, but Murphy and Morales didn’t have good series, and
Moseley had to settle for a complete-game loss in a 4-2 decision. You know
pretty much what you need to already about this crew–Jones could be a
useful arm at the bottom of a bullpen, and Murphy’s a fully functional
fourth outfielder.

The guys to wonder about are Morales and McPherson, because the Angels have to hope both can challenge for the first-base job next spring.
Morales didn’t finish with much of a flourish after his return to the
minors, and he’s still very impatient at the plate, but he was only in his
second season as a pro, and he’ll turn just 24 next year. Concerns about
McPherson’s glovework at third might make him a better candidate for
first, but if the club instead makes Chone Figgins its
everyday center fielder next year, he might also be part of a temporary
patch at third, pending the arrival of Brandon Wood. And
both of them will still have to contend with the off-again, on-again,
off-again career of Casey Kotchman. The guys who are
actually keys to the franchise’s future are Wood, Howie
and Erick Aybar, but only Kendrick is ready, and how they’re managing these other guys in the interim was
part of the reason why the Angels are looking up at Oakland now. They
might wind up doing so again next year if Bill Stoneman and Mike Scioscia
don’t correctly sort out the keepers and the roles, and given that they’re
generally very good at it, what they choose to do this winter should be
something to watch during the hot stove league.

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Activated RHP Tim Wakefield from the 15-day DL. [9/13]

Although I’ve banged on how the Sox handled the extended absences of
David Wells, and seemed to freeze up instead of deciding
when or if to trade for a starting pitcher, the more crippling blow was
losing Wakefield in his first start after the All-Star break. Waiting
around for Wells to drop in and finally help them replace Wakefield only
exacerbated matters. Counting too heavily on Wells was going to be a
mistake no matter what happened, but losing Wakefield turned a
quasi-luxury with the hefty lefty into an immobilizing bit of doubt over
what to do, and when. It might not qualify as a pennant-losing
decision–Jon Lester‘s cancer was going to happen no
matter what Theo Epstein did or didn’t do–but the club’s non-response to
its suddenly thinned-out corps of starters was crippling. This after a
spring spent regaling everyone about how great it was that they had seven
good starting pitchers (eight, if you subsequently counted Lester).
Anyway, here’s hoping Wakefield is fine for next season, because I rather
like the Sox winning or losing on the merits of what they’ve got, and not
through their failure to adapt once the master plan blew a few gaskets.

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Claimed INF-L Mike Rouse off of waivers from the
Athletics. [9/13]

Not that there’s anything wrong with being acquisitive around this time of
year, because you never know what might fall to you courtesy of waivers
and not all that many teams have 40-man roster spots open this late in
the year, but I wouldn’t get all that worked up about this bit of waivers
snaggery. Rouse became something of an honorary Sacramentan after three
summers spent in the Big Tomato, and his performance sagged pretty poorly
after some initial good stuff. If they don’t keep him on the roster, he’ll
be eligible for minor-league free agency, and it’s far from clear that
he’s worth keeping on the roster. Do the Bisons really need a
replacement for Joe Inglett that badly? Maybe,
insofar as it doesn’t look like Ivan Ochoa is going to
add up to much, leaving the question of who’s manning the keystone in
Buffalo as something to sort out this winter.

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Activated LHP Francisco Liriano from the 15-day DL. [9/11]

The risk’s been taken and didn’t turn out so well, so we’re left to wonder
about the butcher’s bill. I don’t think second guessing how things worked
out is really worth second guessing–the Twins don’t have any confidence in
Scott Baker, they’re in a very strong position to win
either their division or the wild card, and there didn’t seem to be any
warning signs that cropped up during Liriano’s rehab work. As our
own Will Carroll notes
, the problem is now one of diagnosis and
subsequent courses of action, but there was no particular risk that the
Twins ran, and nothing that rises to the level of irresponsibility. They
tried to win with one of their best, and they didn’t do so by risking
Liriano’s career.

The real question is how they manage without him, and it’s clear that
Baker isn’t among the answers. Instead, the Twins are hoping that
Matt Guerrier will fill in well enough. Theoretically,
the fifth slot only has to come up two more times if Matt
can pitch on Sunday, but after Garza pitched 5 2/3 innings in
relief of Liriano on Wednesday, it seems unlikely that he’ll be able to
make Sunday’s start. That could create a third start for Guerrier:
Sunday’s matchup against the Indians, next weekend against the Orioles on
Saturday and the last game against the Royals, leaving the Twins with
Boof Bonser, Johan Santana and
Carlos Silva queued up for the White Sox on the season’s
final weekend.

They might have alternatives after this weekend, because Rochester’s
playoff series for the International League title will have wrapped up one
way or another, either with a Game Four win tonight, or after a final
fifth on Saturday. They might elect to bring Mike Smith
back up for Sunday instead of pitching him in Game Five against Toledo–he
started Game One–but Smith’s the only plausible alternative to Guerrier
not named Baker from among Rochester’s starters, because he’d be rested.
After Rochester’s done, it’s always possible that they could call
up Glen Perkinshe
did just strike out ten Mudhens last night
, and that might be worth
something more than just making Jamie Farr go home angry. Smith also has
the virtue of already being on the already-full 40-man roster, but since
Perkins will have to be added this winter anyway, it isn’t like Terry Ryan
couldn’t outright Garrett Jones or Dave
, or put J.D. Durbin on the 60-day DL.

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Activated INF-B Miguel Cairo from the 15-day DL. [9/11]

Not that I think there’s really any doubt that Cairo will be on the
postseason roster and Nick Green won’t, but it shouldn’t
be an automatic decision. Although they’re both utility infielders,
they’re also both utility infielders who can’t really play anywhere
besides second all that well. That’s generally not a factor on a team that
has A-Rod and Jeet likely to play every postseason inning at third and
short, but if somebody got hurt, who would you rather have? Green’s modest
pop, or Cairo’s postseason experience, bunting and baserunning? I don’t
think it’s the wrong idea to favor Cairo’s little-ball skills. Perhaps the
only way Green makes it is if they set up their postseason roster to carry just 11 pitchers, and Gary Sheffield isn’t
really ready to play, and Joe Torre doesn’t do something goofy,
like reward Andy Phillips with a roster spot.

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Placed 3B-B Chipper Jones on the 15-day DL (strained
oblique), retroactive to 9/4. [9/14]

Not really news, unless you’re the sort who gets worked up over whether
it’s the team or the insurance company paying the bills. From my
perspective, it’s really nothing more than a reminder of how badly John
Schuerholz miscalculated in dealing Wilson Betemit for
Willy Aybar and Danys Baez, neither of
whom they needed as badly as they needed Betemit to cover assorted

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Activated SS-B Cesar Izturis from the 15-day DL. [9/11]

Izturis has started only two of four games since coming back, so Dusty Baker is
being relatively flexible about playing people like Ryan
. Either that, or he’s doing what he thinks is helpful to the
Dodgers, since Izturis started only one of the three games against them.
However, like so many conspiracy theories, this one wouldn’t stand up to
much examination. Theriot, Freddie Bynum and
Ronny Cedeno all helped beat the Dodgers in two out of
three, while the Cubs were shut out in Izturis’ start by Brad
and friends. (Wags might note that Dusty can’t even lay
down properly.) At any rate, it’s a reflection of the club’s quandary to
come, in that Izturis isn’t automatically that much better than Cedeno for
your 2007 Cubs shortstop, and a Cedeno/Izturis double-play combo, however
acrobatically neato afield, would suck a lineup dry on the scoreboard.

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Recalled RHP Mike Pelfrey from Norfolk (Triple-A). [9/13]

The Mets’ last three series are against the Nationals and the Braves, so after
they take another shot at putting the hurt on the Marlins’ playoff chances
at the start of next week, they’re into that exciting part of the program
where they decide who to rest and how much, leading to sprinkling a few
innings among Pelfrey, Philip Humber,
Oliver Perez, and Dave Williams. The
questions of who and how much really don’t matter all that much, any more
than the question of whether or not they get voted whatever fractions of a
playoff share matters. Perez remains the interesting project for next
season, while Humber and Pelfrey both have excellent shots at being part
of the rotation of the future. Orlando Hernandez and
Steve Trachsel are both free agents after this season, so
even if you switch John Maine‘s name from pencil to ink
in one slot behind Pedro Martinez and Tom
, there are at least two slots theoretically up for grabs.
However the playoffs play out, Omar Minaya’s winter decision tree already
has all sorts of tantalizing presents under it.

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Placed RHP Armando Benitez on the 60-day DL (knee
inflammation); purchased the contract of RHP Billy Sadler
from Fresno. [9/14]

With time short, this might seem like a crippling loss for the Giants, but
quick glance at how well everyone’s performed in the pen this season
reflects that Benitez has been far from reliable
. The question is
really one of how many leaks Felipe Alou can patch from within with what
he has on hand. Mike Stanton has been surprisingly
effective, and Kevin Correia the crucial middle relief
bridge from the shaky rotation to the “name” relievers (like Steve
and Benitez), while Vinny Chulk has been
decent since coming over from the Jays. Sadler might surprise people–he
cooks with gas, and overpowered the Eastern League and (more briefly) the
PCL, striking out 79 in 55 2/3 combined innings, and allowing 28 hits and 29
unintentional walks. The question is whether he gets thrown in with
Brian Wilson, Jack Taschner and
Scott Munter–the guys Alou would rather avoid–or if he
does something to quickly put himself among the manager’s
of choice.

Thank you for reading

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