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ANAHEIM ANGELS

Acquired LHP Scott Karl and cash from the Colorado Rockies for a
player to be named. [8/22]

I’m sure the Angels think getting Scott Karl out of Denver will help, and
while it can’t hurt, it won’t reverse years of decline. Karl’s road stats
this year are still ugly: a 5.68 ERA, a 16-to-18 K/BB ratio, 44 hits
allowed in 38 innings and a homer allowed nearly every 4 1/2 innings.

Ridding the team of Ken Hill only to acquire Karl doesn’t make sense,
especially when the team’s four youngsters in the rotation are showing good
growth. The Angels would be better served by letting the four kids start in
turn for the remainder of the season, with Mark Petkovsek or Mike Fyhrie
coming out of the bullpen if a spot start is needed.


CHICAGO CUBS

Activated RHP Kerry Wood from the 15-day disabled list; optioned
IF-R Jose Nieves to Iowa of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [8/22]

The Cubs are now 14 games out of first place, 15 games below .500 and
nearly 20 games out of the wild card. Their star pitcher is coming back
from an oblique muscle injury, an injury that doesn’t go away quickly and
in some instances (Steve Avery) seems to have caused lingering mechanical
problems for years. Perhaps Kerry Wood is fine, but is there really a
reason to rush him back before September 1, when the roster expands and the
Cubs can add pitching depth to accommodate, say, a 90-pitch limit for Wood?

At this stage of the season, teams that are clearly out of the postseason
hunt need to alter their decision-making to consider 2001 over 2000, and
the Cubs still have not shown any signs that they’re aware of the need to
make that change.


CHICAGO WHITE SOX

Activated RHP Sean Lowe from the 15-day disabled list; placed RHP
Jon Garland on the 15-day disabled list, retroactive to August 19,
with a contusion below his right elbow. [8/23]

There’s no need to hyperventilate. Jon Garland’s injury is the result of a
poorly-placed line drive. He’ll miss a couple of starts and be back once
rosters expand; he’s still a candidate for the postseason rotation. In his
absence, Sean Lowe got a start Wednesday; the injury also created a spot
for the Sox to put their first really bad decision this year, Ken Hill.


CLEVELAND INDIANS

Activated LHP Ricardo Rincon from the 60-day disabled list; optioned
LHP Tom Martin to Buffalo of the International League (AAA). [8/23]

Cleveland has larger problems than its lack of any effective left-handers
in the bullpen, but at least that need is addressed with Ricardo Rincon’s
return from surgery to remove bone spurs in his left elbow. Rincon had been
off to a good start after an injury-plagued 1999, and could easily handle
the role he had in 1998 as a short reliever beyond the lefty specialist
role. Plus this allows John Hart to claim the Brian Giles Charity Giveaway
wasn’t a total loss. Riiight.


OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Placed OF-L Jeremy Giambi on the 15-day disabled list with a
strained right intercostal muscle; recalled OF-R Eric Byrnes from
Sacramento of the Pacific Coast League (AAA). [8/22]

The A’s arguably come out ahead in this deal. Jeremy Giambi wasn’t hitting
much, while 1998 eighth-rounder Eric Byrnes was hitting .346/.413/.584 with
10 steals at Triple-A Sacramento, leading the RiverCats in slugging
percentage. Giambi bats left-handed, like 80% of the A’s roster, two-thirds
of the front office and 95% of the peanut vendors at Al Davis Stadium;
Byrnes bats right-handed. Giambi isn’t much with the leather in the
outfield, while Byrnes is more than adequate in either corner.

We like Giambi, but for what the A’s need now, Byrnes is a better option on
the bench, a better late-inning replacement than Ryan Christenson and a
good platoon-mate for Matt Stairs.


LOS ANGELES DODGERS

Placed SS-R Kevin Elster on the 15-day disabled list with a strained
left hamstring; recalled RHP Mike Judd from Albuquerque of the
Pacific Coast League (AAA); signed first-round pick RHP Ben Diggins.
[8/23]

The injury to Kevin Elster makes it easier for the Dodgers to play Alex
Cora every day. Cora has been a surprise with the bat and everything
advertised with the glove, one of the few positives in a disappointing
Dodger season.


MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Activated RHP David Weathers from the 15-day disabled list; optioned
LHP Rafael Roque to Indianapolis of the International League (AAA).
[8/23]

David Weathers steps right into the setup role for Curt Leskanic, giving
the Brewers an effective end-of-game threesome now that Juan Acevedo is
finally starting to show flashes of his 1998 form. And we can all be
reminded that the lead singer of 3 Doors Down is Weathers’s long-lost twin.


TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Claimed pitcher Pat Daneker off waivers from the Chicago White Sox;
recalled pitcher Matt DeWitt from Syracuse of the International League
(AAA) and placed him on the 60-day disabled list with a broken right arm.
[8/23]

Keith Law can be reached at klaw@baseballprospectus.com.

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