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Recalled LHP Jesus Pena from Birmingham (Double-A). [9/12]

It seems strange that Jesus Pena was not called up sooner. Kelly Wunsch is
the only left-hander on the roster assigned to late-inning relief, what
with Mark Buehrle usually having to come in early to help staunch the
bleeding whenever one of the starters bombs. With Cal Eldred’s elbow
looking like a medical disaster, and with the questions surrounding James
Baldwin’s health on top of worries about the effectiveness of Kip Wells and
Jon Garland, the White Sox may have to put Buehrle into the rotation in the

Since the division is wrapped up at this point, the White Sox might be best
off giving Wunsch a well-deserved siesta before the postseason, which means
using pistollero Pena to infuriate opponents with his hijinks in
situational relief.


Recalled LHP C.C. Sabathia from Team USA. [9/12]

Chalk this up as another reason why Tommy Lasorda and Phil Regan should
have never, ever been entrusted with other people’s prospects for the
Olympics. C.C. Sabathia is basically the best pitching prospect the Indians
have, so you can forgive the team if they’re more than a little interested
in his welfare.

The Indians were very frank and straightforward about how they would allow
Sabathia to be used: he absolutely had to be used as a starter or else he
would not be allowed to pitch in the Olympics. The concern was that
pitching on a near-daily basis out of the pen in the Olympics would be
significantly more dangerous than a pair of starts, particularly after a
career-high 146 1/3 innings. So what did Lasorda do? He waited until
everyone was in Australia before deciding Sabathia would start once and
work most of the Olympics out of the pen.

Now, maybe it’s all an innocent misunderstanding, but add this on top of
the Pastaman’s transparent attempt to hurt the Australian team’s chances by
having his team (the Dodgers) recall the Aussie ace, Luke Prokopec, and the
situation begins to stink of the irresponsibility that we’ve come to
associate with Tommy Lasorda. So kudos to the Tribe for braving the
inevitable accusations of a lack of patriotism and getting their top
prospect out of the great arm-slagger’s clutches. Sometimes courage and
self-interest are the same thing.

Now that he’s taken the long flight home, Sabathia might get to make his
major-league debut next week, against the Red Sox in one of the two
day-night doubleheaders. I doubt he’ll actually pitch (Jim Brower and
Charles Nagy seem to be the likely fill-ins), and that instead John Hart is
taking advantage of this scheduling difficulty to do the right thing.


Purchased the contract of C-R Kevin Brown from Indianapolis;
transferred RHP Rocky Coppinger from the 15- to the 60-day DL. [9/12]

With Henry Blanco’s sore shoulder and Tyler Houston manning third base more
often than not, the Brewers needed to bring up somebody to help Papo
Casanova carry the catching load. Kevin Brown is one of the better catchers
currently marooned in Triple-A.

This year, Brown hit .307/.343/.483, and there has never been much reason
to worry about his glovework. After managing to escape from the Rangers and
a life of sitting behind Pudge Rodriguez, there was never really a good
reason for why Brown had to take a back seat to stiffs like Mike Matheny or
Alberto Castillo with the Blue Jays. Now, Brown has a couple of weeks to
remind GMs of his existence.


Recalled RHP Danny Mota from Salt Lake. [9/12]

Bringing up Danny Mota gives Terry Ryan a chance to show off the fourth man
he got for Chuck Knoblauch, a deal which seems to be more and more to
Ryan’s credit as time goes on. While Brian Buchanan doesn’t look like he’s
going to be more than a fourth outfielder, the Twins have one of the
league’s best left-handed starters, a much better shortstop than anyone
expected and Mota.

While elbow problems have kept Mota from surfacing sooner, he pitched a
full season as a reliever in 2000, starting off in Fort Myers and working
his way to the majors. Between A-Ball, Double-A and Triple-A, Mota tossed
82 1/3 innings, allowing only 62 hits, 26 unintentional walks and a lone
home run while striking out 97 men. He posted a combined 2.30 ERA. At the
very least, he’s going to be an improvement on Hector Carrasco once he
settles in.

It’s easy to give Ryan too much credit, armed as we are with hindsight,
because Knoblauch is laboring against the perception that he’s a
disappointment. He endured the mediocre first season at the plate, the
elbow problems that started last year and this year’s injury-marred
campaign, as well as the widespread anguish over The Boss’s promises of
future compensation that will have to be kept. It seems remarkable that few
people are talking about Knoblauch’s resilience, what with his tremendous
second season in pinstripes as a hitter, or his attempt to play through
what looks like some very serious arm problems. In most arenas, there’d be
talk of what a gritty, tough player he is, but instead we’ve gotten
speculative psychobabble about how Knoblauch is under Ed Whitson’s spell or

Hrm…I seem to have strayed off-topic. Forgive me, it’s a light news
cycle. Anyway, at the very least, Mota’s promotion is a good time to
remind ourselves that Terry Ryan got a lot more for Knoblauch than anyone
gave him credit for at the time. To my mind, that makes the rumors about
replacing Ryan with Bob Gebhard, the man who seems to have accomplished
nothing during his time with the Rockies, just a wee bit unhappy.


Recalled C-R Yohanny Valera from Harrisburg (Double-A). [9/12]

There is no joy in Harrisburg. I don’t know if losing out at a shot at a
five-peat for the Eastern League title really qualifies as the city’s
blackest day since the warnings that Dick Ewell’s Rebs were just over the
horizon in June of 1863, but Harrisburg’s early exit creates an opportunity
for Yohanny Valera to back up Brian Schneider behind the plate in Montreal
while Michael Barrett nurses his swollen elbow and Lenny Webster struggles
with his career-ending conversion to a publicity stunt. Valera hit only
.235/.313/.317, so while he’s still only 24, he hasn’t exactly played his
way to the majors.

Chris Kahrl can be reached at

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