Giants Depart With Benitez

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Giants have traded Armando Bernitez and cash to the Florida Marlins for right-hander Randy Messenger, a announcement that came following a 4-2 defeat against the Mets. Messenger is 1-1 record and 2.66 ERA this season. The Giants will be forced to pay 4.7 million of his remaining salary, so this is actually a very good deal for the Marlins, who only have to depart with Messenger. Not only is Benitez just 34, but he had his best year with the Marlins in 2004, and could turn his season around pitching where he is comfortable. This season, Benitez is 0-3 with a 4.67 ERA, with nine saves in 11 opportunities. His final mark was left on the Giants when he balked twice, and then gave up a walkoff homerun to Carlos Delgado to lose the game. Brian Sabean hinted following that game that a "renewal" of the bullpen was near.

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Giambi Out For Three Weeks

Jason Giambi will be out for three weeks do to a torn tissue in the arc of his foot. This is probably the best time for the Yankees to lose Giambi, because they are going to play National League teams on the road in the next week or so. Hopefully it doesn't effect the outcome too much. The Yankees expect him back by or a week into July. The Yankees will either call-up Andy Phillips or Eric Duncan to replace him on the roster. This would be a good time to showcase their prospects to struggling teams. The Yankees need relief help, so sending a solid relief pitcher over to the Yankees for one of these guys should benefit you in a year or so. Despite reports that he used steroids, Giambi is batting .262 with 7 HR and 23 RBI.



Damon on the move: According to sources in the Front Office, the Yankees are looking to trade Johnny Damon, and will shop him to one of the teams he put on his partial no trade clause. Damon hand picked tweleve teams that he would be willing to go to at the beginning of this season. A team that is looking to unload an outfielder and maybe a reliever or two should fit the Yankees needs.

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Live Interview Tomorrow Morning

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

If you want to listen in tomorrow morning, I will be interviewing Braves pitcher Kyle Davies. The interview will take place at 8:30 A.M. CT and will be on the air for thirty minutes. If you want to listen in live tomorrow, click here.

If you want to call in with your questions call: 1-646-478-5102.

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Interview with Shawn Hill

Two weeks ago, I came into contact with West Coast Sports Management who set me up with Nationals pitcher Shaun Hill, who unfortunately is sidelined on the DL. After sending my questions over to him, he responded to them better than I could have hoped for. I want to thank him and everyone at West Coast Sports Management for helping me get this interview done. Before Hill was placed on the DL, he started off strong, going 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA and 33 K. Despite some injuries, I am confident that he will be a bright spot in the Nationals starting rotation for the next several years to come. I want to again thank Shaun Hill for donating his time to MLB Rumors.

ELI: Did you play any other sports growing up in
Canada? Is baseball your favorite?

SHAWN: I played volleyball and basketball in school, and one year of soccer one year when I was very young. But I started playing baseball when I was 4 and it was always my favorite sport.

ELI: Were you disappointed to leave Canada and move to Washington in 2005?

SHAWN: Definitely, only because I have family that still resides in Montreal. On the other hand it was understandable given the attendance issues and financial situation of previous ownerships. Once we have this new stadium done here in DC though it should definitely be a lot of fun to play here everyday.

ELI: Did you think you could make a successful comeback after
Tommy John Surgery?

SHAWN: Yeah, I've still got a long ways to go before I can say it's successful but I feel good about where I'm at now, and for the most part how it feels day in and day out.

ELI: What did playing in the Futures Game in 2003 mean to you?

SHAWN: It was a fun experience, although I never got to pitch in the game itself. More importantly it was nice to represent my country, as well as finally get a little confidence in myself realizing I had made somewhat of an impression in the minors to get that honor.

ELI: What was it like playing on Team Canada in 2004? Any one on
that team playing in the major leagues now?

SHAWN: It was easily the best group of guys I've ever played with as a whole. The whole experience over there was incredible; although very disappointing. But I took a lot from it in the end so I'm very thankful for the chance to play on that team. I know Pete Laforest is with San Diego right now, and Pete Orr is with Atlanta. There's a couple other guys in the high levels of the minor leagues still, and we also had Justin Morneau, Russ Martin and Scott Thorman with us on the team that qualified for the Olympics in 2003

ELI: How's Manny Acta this year?

SHAWN: He's been great, very upbeat and encouraging all the time. I think it's been a great fit with him here considering the team we have and the situation we all know we're in with rebuilding. I really think he has the right mindset right now in regards to dealing with us as a whole and individually right now.

ELI: Do you follow baseball during the off season?

SHAWN: I'll watch the playoffs of course, aside from that though I just check on stuff once in awhile, otherwise I hear most of stuff that goes on from friends and family or on TV while I'm watching another sport perhaps.

ELI: You've pitched in a lot of places in your career, which stadium has the best mound? Food? Clubhouse overall?

SHAWN: Tough call, but I'd have to say Philly personally. It's a great field and facilities are top notch. Milwaukee and San Diego are pretty nice as well though.

ELI: During a rain delay, what is usually on the TV in the clubhouse?

SHAUN: Usually another baseball game that's playing at that time, or times like right now a NBA playoff game might very well be on.

ELI: Have you ever asked another player on a different team for his autograph?

SHAWN: Nope, a lot of guys do trade autographs, and its common practice, but I just feel like I need to get a little more established before I start bothering guys for their time.

ELI: When the season ends, as a pitcher, how much time do you take off before getting back to work?

SHAWN: Usually about 3-4 weeks of downtime, somewhat active though, and then I start lifting right away followed by a throwing around the middle of December.

ELI: Do you stay in touch with most of your teammates during the off-season?

SHAWN: Some of them. It's been a little tough for me the past couple years because I've bounced around here a bit with being on the DL and having surgery and such. Hopefully now that I'm spending a good amount of time up here and able to get a little tighter with the guys, I'll keep in touch more so.

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Cardinals Lose Another

After losing Chris Carpenter earlier in the year and having to send down top pitching prospect Anthony Reyes after failing to get a win after eight losses, they lose starting catcher Yadier Molina for a month and half. Although he is just batting .273 with 1 HR and 12 RBI, he is a pretty good catcher who would definitely benefit that team in a struggling division. Molina was struck by a foul tip in the third inning but tried to stay in. But when Braden Looper saw that he was in pain during a mound visit, he called out the trainer to take a look. Replacing Molina on the roster is catcher Brian Esposito, who has never appeared in a major league game and has struggled in his minor league career batting just .219 in 1,000+ AB. Gary Bennett will probably take most of the playing time, considering Esposito's stats, but Bennett is batting .227 with 0 HR and 2 RBI in 17 games.

Today Broadcast: There will be a broadcast today at 6:30 talking with Yankee expert Mike Fraguela. We will expand our talks to around the league later in the show. Please call in, we would love to here from you. Call 1-646-478-5102 or Click Here to listen live.

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Scary Moment for Reds, Freel

Monday, May 28, 2007

At the start of the third inning, catcher Humberto Cota hit a drive into right center field. Ryan Freel and Norris Hopper both gave chase, and following the impressive catch from Freel, him and Hopper collided sending both players to the wall. Freel's head hit the ground first before he came to a stop at the base of the wall. According to Hopper, Freel was unresponsive when he ran over to see if he was okay. "You're worried and concerned," said catcher David Ross, who hit a two-run homer in the game. "We're all family. It's like a family member that's down out there. You're concerned. We know what kind of player he is, and he goes hard. Stuff like that can happen. To hear he's alright is good news." Freel was diagnosed with contusions to his head and neck but will be OK. He is expected to miss a couple days however, up to a week most likely. He is batting .251 with 2 HR, 12 RBI, and 8 SB in 49 games this season. Despite the scary moment, the Reds were able to shutout the Pirates 4-0 on Kyle Lohse's complete game six hitter.

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Indians Pulling Away

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Check out Tribe Source for the latest on the Cleveland Indians in arguably the most competitive division in baseball. They mention CC Sabathia's impressive outing and who helped secure that victory to give them a game and a half lead in the division: "Came up big here today for Ducc. He went 2-4 today, including a tie breaking 2 run homer, his 2nd of the season to give the Indians a 5-3 lead in the 8th inning. He also had a triple..." (Tribe Source). Also coming through in a big way was Victor Martinez, Grady Sizemore, who had his first triple of the year, and Jhonny Peralta. A good bullpen is hard to come by these days and the Indians proved they had one yesterday with Tom Mastny and Joe Borowski holding the game. Borowski was able to pick up his sixteenth save. Give some credit to Tribe Source, showing little bias, acknowledging the impressive outing from Justin Verlander, and even go on to mention Marcus Thames' broken bat homerun. After all of yesterdays game breakdown they give a pregame summary of what to look for in the next couple of days, check it out.

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Sox Lose Ozuna, Sign Wilson

After losing Pablo Ozuna to a fractured right fibula and torn ligament in his right ankle, the White Sox were quick to find a replacement. Craig Wilson, who was released by the Braves after hitting just .172 with one home run in 24 games, will provide a good right handed bat off the bench. But not only that, it gives them an option in left field if he does well. He's played 40 games in the American League, batting .212 with 4 HR and 8 RBI but has batted .333 with 1 HR at U.S. Cellular Field.

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Contract Year Backfiring For Jones

The way Andruw Jones is playing, Jones might feel obligated to prove to the Braves that he can put up numbers like he did in previous years, and accept a hometown discount. This season, Jones is batting .218 with 7 HR and 32 RBI. Last season however, he batted .262 with 41 HR and 129 RBI. His agent is Scott Boras and with Jones being just 30, they were hoping to command a 5-6 year deal, worth about 120 million dollars. The way he is playing, it would make sense for the Braves to let him walk and spend the money they have been saving up for someone like Torii Hunter or Ichiro Suzuki. Some are even considering Andruw Jones "the most overrated center fielder of all time." Although I disagree with that, he has struck out 54 times, and is on pace to strikeout 192 times, just three shy of Adam Dunn's single season record. Maybe teams are just pitching around him knowing how aggressive he is, and adjustments need to made on his part. Jones is batting .189 with 0 HR, 4 RBI, and 13 K is his last 10 games. The Braves are 4.5 games behind the Mets and need Jones to turn it around to lead them back to the top of that division.

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Radio Show Today!





There will be a broadcast today at 12:30 p.m. CT. Get caught up with baseball this Memorial Day Weekend.


Listen live

Call in 1-646-478-5102

Eli

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Yankees Want Teixeira, Not Helton

When Internet rumors spread about the Yankees working a trade for Todd Helton, both sides were quick to downplay that. The Yankees were not interested because they need to get younger to keep up with the rest of their division, and why would they put Todd Helton, 33, at first base when they could put a younger and better first baseman in Mark Teixeira for young pitching, which they have a lot of. Not only is Teixeira 27, but he has the potential to hit 30+ home runs for the next 6-7 years. The only thing holding any team back is that he is a free agent in 2008 represented by Scott Boras, so knowing Boras' style, the team that trades for him will only have him for a season and a half. That is also raising the asking price of the Rangers, who are desperate to get a lot in return after trading away two future All-Stars in Adrain Gonzalez and Chris Young. The Rangers would be smart to hold on to Teixeira til the winter, and trade him when desperate teams come calling after failing to sign a premiere free agent; then he can bulk up the asking price. Or he could do what Billy Beane did with Barry Zito and hope the Rangers can turn it around in 2008. Then, he can wait for the right offer to come at the deadline, or make a run at the playoffs with Teixeira leading the way. And if they fail to make the playoffs or they win the World Series, the Rangers still get two first round draft picks. This season, Teixeira is batting .308 with 8 HR and 29 RBIs. The Yankees first basemen are batting a combined .251 with 6 HR and 22 RBIs.

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Cubs Bullpen Can't Hold Lead, Percival Coming?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Ted Lilly struggled through five innings against the Dodgers giving up five earned runs. The bullpen looked strong through two innings with Carlos Marmol and Mike Wuertz giving up just one hit. Then the Cubs came roaring back and scored seven runs to give them a 8-5 lead. So they called upon the most consistent pitcher in the Cubs bullpen last season, Bob Howry, but has struggled so far this season. Howry gave up three hits, three earned runs, to bring the Dodger back in without recording an out. The Cubs then called upon Will Ohman, who gave up one hit, one earned run to put the Dodgers ahead of the Cubs and give them a leagues worst 2-11 record in one run games. You would think the Cubs would look into signing Troy Percival, who has vowed to make a successful comeback, but is already drawing serious interest from the Phillies and the Tigers. If the Cubs were to sign him, he would easily fit into this depleted bullpen and could even be used as the closer if Ryan Dempster is moved into the rotation. And if he is successful, they could even trade Dempster, who is drawing interest from the Yankees. He last pitched in 2005 with the Tigers, going 1-3 with 8 SV in 26 games. He has 324 career saves with a 3.11 ERA.

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Griffey Jr. to Boston?

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Reds have been struggling a lot this year, compiling an 18-30 record. Their hitting isn't coming around, pitching is pitching like everyone had hoped and this is turning out to be just another year for them. Ken Griffey Jr., 38, has been the subject of many trades this off season, and will be one of the biggest names traded at the trade deadline. The Red Sox just brought in J.D. Drew, who is batting .237 with 2 HR, and have Coco Crisp, who is batting .240 with 1 HR, but neither have helped the team so far this season. What looks to be shaping up is Coco Crisp, who hasn't been all effective in his tenure with the team, will be shopped around for pitching, while the Red Sox will offer a couple prospects, probably pitchers to the Reds for Griffey Jr. and possibly cash. What I see is the Red Sox offering something like Michael Bowden and Kris Johnson to the Reds for Griffey Jr. and cash. But, more will be determined when we see where both teams are in July, and when the Red Sox gauge the competition of the AL East. I think this would be a great move for the Red Sox. They will bring in a veteran who would help when they reach the playoffs, and not only that, but he still has talent to make them the best team in the American League. The Reds would be smart to dig into another teams farm system. It would give them a strong pitcher or two in the future and the way prices are rising in the free agent market, it would be a cheap addition with a long term reward.

Could it be?

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Smoltz Throws Gem For 200th Win

Thursday, May 24, 2007

John Smoltz faced former teammate and longtime friend Tom Glavine and the Mets tonight looking to become the only player in history to have 150 saves and 200 wins. With help from Matt Diaz, who was 2-3 with a homerun, Smoltz was able to hold a two run lead and throw seven shutout innings. Tom Glavine pitched well too, but couldn't get any offense behind him in his outing. Smoltz is now 7-2, improving the Braves record to 28-19, just a game and a half behind the Mets. John Smoltz has become the only player in baseball history to have 150 saves (he has 154), and 200 wins.

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Bonderman Feeling It In Return

Jeremy Bonderman had his stuff as Tigers bats ignited in a 12-0 beat down in today's game against the Angels. Ervin Santana struggled again for the Angels, lasting 3 2/3 innings giving up eight earned runs while Jeremy Bonderman went eight strong innings, giving up four hits and striking out six. The only thing he could work on is his control. He walked five, but didn't let any of those runs come in. Helping Bonderman, Carlos Guillen had two big homeruns, while Gary Sheffield added his solo shot. Magglio Ordonez contributed three RBIs, two doubles, and two singles, while Carlos Guillen had just two hits, but five RBIs. The Tigers are on a two game winning streak improving to 29-17, just a game ahead of the Indians.

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New URL

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I have got a new URL for the site. It is www.elismlbrumors.com. You can still use the original address and they will take you to the same place, but this is simple and easy to remember. Enjoy!

Eli

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Clemens Not Ready

After thoroughly watching Roger Clemens' outing with the Trenton Thunder, I came to the conclusion that he is still at least one start away from making it back to the big leagues. Although he threw 102 pitches, his control was inconsistent, and apparently had a problem with his forearm. Clemens allowed three runs on six hits, walked four, and struck out five in 5 1/3 innings of work. He couldn't get his fastball past the Double-A hitters which means he has no chance of getting it past the Blue Jays, or the Red Sox. I think they should give him one start in Triple-A, and then call him up. Calling him up now would only hurt Yankees, and could hurt Clemens, who is eager to prove he can pitch successfully when needed. It could also force the strained forearm to get worse. If you watch the tape, you will see Clemens quench his fist after each pitch hinting that something is wrong. It would be smart to give him the extra start in Triple-A on the 29th versus Toledo at home, and then call him up for the last game of the series against Boston at Fenway, or for the opener against the White Sox at U.S. Cellular Field the following day. This will give the Yankees an opportunity to address all injury problems and give him one final tuneup before returning to the streaking Yankees.

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Giambi Meets With MLB; Pavano Out For Year

According to the Daily News, Jason Giambi failed an amphetamine test within the last year, which has subjected him to more test this year. Although that is the latest news about Giambi, the meeting he had at the commissioners office was to discuss the comments he made to USA Today: "I was wrong for doing that stuff. What we should have done a long time ago was stand up - players, ownership, everybody - and said: 'We made a mistake.' We should have apologized back then and made sure we had a rule in place and gone forward. ... Steroids and all of that was a part of history. But it was a topic that everybody wanted to avoid. Nobody wanted to talk about it." As of today, the Yankees are not looking to void the contract of Jason Giambi, but are considering it if more details pop up. This season, Giambi is batting .268 with 6 HR and and 19 RBI. And as for the trade to Anaheim, not happening. Giambi said he has no desire to go to the Angels, or to leave New York for that matter.


Pavano Out For Season: Carl Pavano was given permission from the Yankees to pursue surgery on his elbow. Pavano, who is 5-6 with a 4.77 ERA in 19 starts since signing prior to the 2005 season, will not be ready to pitch again until August 2008. He will probably not sign with the Yankees in the 2008 off season and will look for an incentive base contract elsewhere. Pavano's best year came in 2004 when he was 18-8 with a 3.00 ERA when he was with the Marlins.

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Astros Strike First, But Can't Contain Giants

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

After Mike Lamb and Mark Loretta's extra base hits, the Astros took a modest lead over rookie Tim Lincecum and the Giants 2-0. But after a Ray Durham's sacrifice fly in the fourth and a three run sixth inning, the Giants took a 4-2 lead and left the game in the hands of Lincecum. Although Oswalt pitched a good game, going seven innings and striking out four, Lincecum was pitching like he was in Triple-A again, pitching eight strong innings, giving up just five hits, two earned runs, and striking out four. The Giants push above .500 and are now 23-22 and are currently enjoying a three game winning streak. Tim Lincecum threw 104 pitches, 71 for strikes and had 10 more ground outs then fly outs, a good sign coming from a rookie. Struggling pitcher Barry Zito will close the series against Matt Albers tomorrow night.

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Marlins Keep On Rolling

After Jason Werth collected all three RBIs early, the Phillies moved into the sixth with a comfortable 3-1 lead. However, a leadoff double followed by a triple with an error, scored two. Two outs later with two runners on, Jason Woods doubled to the corner to score both runs to make 5-3. Cole Hamels couldn't get out of the inning after striking out back to back Marlins and after walking Boone, he couldn't get ahead of Woods. It was obvious Hamels didn't have the same stuff this outing. He was dropping his arm on his release, and his release point was inconsistent towards the fifth and sixth inning. I think that is something that can easily be fixed, so expect a good performance in his next start. After Scott Olsen was pulled after six innings, the Marlins pen was able to hold the Phillies to just one hit, and strike out four. The Marlins are on a four game winning streak and will look to make it five when new pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim will take on struggling ace Freddy Garcia.

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Dempster to Yankees?

According to reports, the Yankees are interested in acquiring a starter, and may look to Ryan Dempster and the Cubs. Jim Hendry was unavailable for comment, but said he hopes to remain with the Cubs. Dempster is 9-for-10 in save opportunities, tied for sixth in save percentage among NL relievers. So why would they consider moving him to the rotation now? Dempster has only started six games since 2004, but has only had two winning records when he was a full time starter, and that was back in 1999 and 2000. I don't know exactly who the Cubs could get from the Yankees, but by trading him, they have no proven closer. Bob Howry and Scott Eyre aren't pitching like last year, and Carlos Marmol and Angel Guzman have too much potential to try and pitch them everyday, it would simply ruin their arms. Maybe the Cubs could swing a deal with Matt Murton, who they have also considered trading. Trading Matt Murton and cash or a PTBNL would probably get them Scott Linebrink, but at this point in the season it is uncertain. Before the Cubs do anything, I think the Cubs should try out Lou Piniella's idea of having the closer start the game and pitch two to three innings, and then bring in the normal starter to finish out the game. It would toy with hitters who would face the closer once, and then get a new pitcher with a fresh arm.

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Giants Morris Coming Around

Monday, May 21, 2007

After struggling in his first year with the Giants, going 10-15 with a 4.98 ERA, he has turned his Giants career around and has turned into the ace of the rotation. So far this season, he is 5-1 with a 2.93 ERA and 29 K. In his last start versus Oakland, Morris pitched a two hit complete game, striking out nine. With newly acquired pitcher Barry Zito struggling, it is nice to turn to a veteran pitcher who has the only winning record in the rotation, besides new addition Tim Lincecum (1-0). Morris has pitched with the Cardinals and Giants, and has only had one losing record, which was last year. He is 116-78 career wise, with a 3.76 ERA and 1132 K in his ten year career. If he is available in your fantasy league, he is definitely someone that should be picked up, because not only will he guy you wins, but will strike out a lot of guys, and rack up innings.

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Red Sox Pitcher Gabbard Has Wild Day

Sunday, May 20, 2007

After being told early Sunday morning that he was being called up, Kason Gabbard quickly came from Rhode Island to Boston for the game. After waiting two hours to throw his first pitch of the season, he came out, and retired the first 12 of 13 batters he faced. He walked one and allowed six hits, and two earned runs, leaving with a 6-0 in the sixth inning. Brendan Donnelly, Javier Lopez, Hideki Okajima, and Jon Papelbon combined to throw three innings, giving up just one run. Tim Hudson struggled, giving up six runs before getting out of the fifth inning. After the game, he was optioned back to Triple-A to make room for Manny Delcarmen for the upcoming Yankees series. He seemed disappointed about being sent down and refused to comment on the game. But he was told he would definitely be back soon: "If we need some help, we didn't want to get caught short," Francona said. Gabbard, who was 3-1 with a 2.75 ERA in Triple-A this year, went 1-3 for Boston in 2006.

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More Yankee Problems

After just nine pitches, a come-backer from Endy Chavez hit Darrell Rasner in the hand and broke his right index finger, making him the sixth pitcher on the DL. Mike Mussina and Chien-Ming Wang have already recovered from injuries, and now they are pushing Clemens to get back as soon as possible. Rasner will be out two to three months, forcing the Yankees to look to their minor league system once again. Tyler Clippard will start tonight against the Mets, and it will be his Major League Debut. Clemens pitched four innings for Tampa on Friday, giving up one earned run. The Yankees will probably rush Clemens to make one more start, and have him return to make his season debut in Boston on June 2nd or 3rd. Kei Igawa pitched Saturday for Tampa, going four innings, giving up three hits, 2 runs but none were earned, and striking out two. He did get the loss but it is some improvement from his disappointing start in New York. The Yankees won't rush him as much, but Igawa will probably be pressured to be successful if they Yankees want to contend this season. After Jason Giambi told USA Today that he once used steroids could lead the Yankees to voiding his seven year deal, worth 120 million dollars he signed back in 2001. According to sources who wish to remain anonymous, the Yankees will look into terminating Giambi's deal if it is determined that he used illegal drugs after they signed him in 2001.

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Josh Towers to St. Louis?

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Blue Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi has called around letting teams know that Josh Towers and Tomo Ohka are now available. The Jays seem more than willing to pick up his salary, so it seems that packaging a minor leaguer or two would do the trick. The Cardinals are struggling to find pitching and could take a chance on Towers, hoping a change to the NL would do him well. Could they offer Rick Ankiel? Probably not, Ankiel is batting .281 with 9 HR and 31 RBI, but a package of two Double-A arms would probably suit the Blue Jays. One thing is for certain, if the Cardinals want any chance to contend in the NL Central they will need to find proven pitching. Towers has proved he can pitch, but hasn't had a solid offensive team behind. I think the Cardinals should take a chance on him, especially if it will only cost them a minor leaguer or two. Many struggling pitchers have shown they can make the jump from the AL to NL, and I think Towers would be one of those pitchers. He can eat up innings and a team like the Cardinals, who put up good numbers, would definitely be behind him. Ohka won't draw the same interest because he has been having arm troubles, but teams like the Nationals, Pirates, and maybe even the Mets might be interested.

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Breakout Player Spotlight: Hunter Pence

Friday, May 18, 2007

Making his major league debut on April 28th, the Astros knew just what they had with outfielder Hunter Pence. They called him up at just the right time too. Chris Burke had been struggling both in the outfield and at the plate and since giving him the everyday job, Pence has ignited the teams offense and is leading the way in the outfield with Carlos Lee and Luke Scott right behind him. Pence is batting .348 with 4 HR, 15 RBI, and 2 SB, but is showing he has what it takes to become an All Star Outfielder. Only 24 years old, he has quickly become a fan favorite, and it is hard not to talk about his potential. "I'm afraid we're going to get in a frenzy here, and the expectations are going to be unattainable," Garner said following Pence's 4-for-4 night Wednesday. "The kid's playing good. Just let him play. We didn't pencil in a certain batting average, we didn't pencil in a certain [number of] home runs, we didn't do this or that." He's working hard and has proved he can handle playing everyday, batting .339 with 4 HR and 15 RBI in fifteen games this month. Many think he jump-started this team when he was called up, and the Astros are 11-6 since his major league debut. Playing in Minute Maid Park can only benefit his numbers, and with Carlos Lee and Luke Scott at his sides, he will ease into Astro-Mania and the big leagues.

2007 Projection: .303 AVG, 16 HR, 66 RBI.

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Interleague '07: Friday Summary

Toronto Can't Battle Back: Despite homeruns from Aaron Hill and Matt Stairs, the Blue Jays can't keep their late inning rally alive, and fall to the Phillies 5-3. John Leiber pitched seven great innings, a positive turnaround from his disappointing start against the Cubs. Rowand, Victorino, Rollins, and Leiber all contributed RBI's.

Kim Strong in Debut: Just a week after being traded from Colorado, Kim went into the sixth inning against the Rays, giving up two earned runs and striking out five. Aaron Boone contributed to 8-4 victory with a homerun, and Kim picked up his second win. The Marlins scored their runs early, and the Rays tried to battle back, but weren't able to get any hits against Kevin Gregg and Matt Lindstrom.

Orioles Rally Past Nationals: The Orioles scored two runs in the top of the eighth to go ahead on the Nationals 5-4. Despite runners on the corners and one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Nats were not able to drive them in. Both Zimmerman and Dmitri Young hit homeruns, but Steve Trachsel was able to contain them along with great relief outings from Parrish, Baez, and Ray.

*Twins Power Past Brewers: Torii Hunter hit his ninth homerun to help Boof Bonser secure the win in his impressive performance. Bonser went seven strong innings, giving up three hits, one earned run, and striking out eleven. Veteran and former Brewer Jeff Cirillo was 2-4 with three RBIs. The Twins snapped thier three game losing streak and help cut the lead of the Brewers in the NL Central.

Tigers Miller Strong in First Start: In his first Major League start, Andrew Miller pitched six scoreless innings, giving up four hits. Granderson, Polanco, and Sheffield all had three-RBI games, and Magglio Ordonez contributed with a homerun. The only downside for the Tigers in this game is their bullpen. After Miller left, they gave up four runs, one a homerun from Albert Pujols. Jason Grilli and Bobby Seay gave up five hits, and four earned runs, striking out three, but giving up one homerun. They send Nate Robertson to the mound tomorrow against Anthony Reyes.

Rangers Five Run Third Toppels Astros: Sammy Sosa's two RBI double followed by Nelson Cruz's two run homerun powered the Rangers in the third inning, complimented by a solid performance from Robinson Tejada. Eric Gagne was able to get the save to help the Rangers improve their 16-26 record. The send John Koronka to the mound tomorrow, making his major league debut against Wandy Rodriguez. The bad news coming from Rangers camp is Hank Blalock will be out for 12 weeks recovering from right shoulder surgery.

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Interleague '07: Mets' Chavez Powers Past Yanks

Oliver Perez pitched an incredible game for the Mets in game one, going 7 2/3 innings, giving up two earned runs, and striking out five. With help from Endy Chavez, who hit a two run homerun, they were able to power past the Yankees and collect their third straight win. Andy Pettitte also pitched a great great, going seven innings and giving up three earned runs. On the Yankees side, Hideki Matsui hit a two run homerun, but that wasn't enough to beat the Mets. Tomorrow's game is the hands of the Mets, sending Tom Glavine to the mound against the impressive rookie Darrell Rasner. The Mets pushed two games ahead of the Braves, and will look to make it three tomorrow at 3:55 p.m. ET. Although Rasner is going up against a future Hall of Famer on National Television [FOX], he seems ready now: "I'm excited for it," Rasner said. "It's an opportunity to go out and try to help this team win a game, and pitch in a big-league ballgame. I'm going to look at it like it's any normal game. I don't think I'm going to get any more worked up about it. You can't really get caught up in that. You've just got to keep a level head." If you were to look at it by schedules, the streaking Mets have this game in their hands. The Mets have won 8 of 10, and have had a few come from behind victories that have ignited the whole team. The bullpen is doing better than expected, and Oliver Perez has really turned his career around, after a terrible 3-13 record last season. One problem with the Yankees is they are sending two rookies to the mound this series, and when you have players worrying about what kind of team player Roger Clemens is, the chemistry in the clubhouse can't be good. Furthermore, when players are bouncing back in forth from the minors and the clubhouse is constantly changing, there is no time for the team to truly bond. Right now the Yankees need to scrape up a couple wins, keep the same team for a couple weeks, and let this team roll. Then they will be able to slice that ten game deficit in half and contend for the AL East.

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Interleague '07: Cubs Playing Like They Should Be

The Cubs were coming off a 2-5 road trip entering this interleague series against the White Sox, and played today like manager Lou Piniella thought they would all season. Ted Lilly pitched a good game, but didn't have the same dominating stuff he had in his previous start. Mark Buehrle also pitched a pretty good game, but his numbers don't look that way. He was tagged for two runs after he was pulled in the seventh. Jermaine Dye helped the White Sox early with a homerun, along with a sacrifice fly from Juan Uribe. Michael Barrett tied the game in the bottom of the second with a homerun, then Angel Pagan, fresh off a callup from the minors, was 3-5 with 2 RBI. The Cubs were able to take advantage of C Toby Hall's first game back from an injury, despite his two hits on the game, one a double. The Cubs bullpen was finally able to hold a lead, two shutout innings from Bob Howry and Ryan Dempster, who got the save. The Cubs improved to 19-21 and will send Jason Marquis (5-1, 2.22 ERA) against the White Sox (20-18) and Javier Vazquez, who is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA.

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Teams Would Be Smart To Look At Ensberg

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Astros are looking to trade Jason Lane and Morgon Ensberg, and there is simply no market for them. They have looked around, and teams are not offering anything worth the Astros time. Ensberg has been struggling this year, batting .213 with 2 HR and 11 RBI. But last season got off to a great start, was on pace to hit about forty homeruns, but a couple injuries along the way limited his season. Right now, he has had a rough time in Houston, and I think a simple change of scenery would do him well. The Dodgers, who are looking for a third baseman, should look at him, and worse comes to worse, they platoon him with LaRoche to help him ease his way into a starting role. The Royals' Alex Gordon has been struggling at third base, and I think platooning him with someone like Morgon Ensberg, would do him a lot too. And if Ensberg can come through there, that would do wonders for the team and would make players like Mike Sweeney and Reggie Sanders expendable. Again, it is probably to early to trade and get anything good in return, the best thing they can do it wait for them to turn it around or for trading to heat up.

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Today's Broadcast

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Today will be our second broadcast on the MLB Rumors Talk Show and we will be breaking down the up coming Subway Series. Helping me out will be Yankees expert Mike Fraguera breaking down each game. Listen in live at 6:00 p.m. CT. If you want to listen live Click Here...

And if you are interested in calling in, call 1-(646) 478-5102

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Interview with Harold Reynolds

Harold Reynolds was nice enough to sit down and do an interview with me via phone for MLB Rumors. Harold Reynolds is a two time All Star and collected three gold gloves during his excellent twelve year career. He just finished a baseball instructional video with past and current players, including Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. All that information is available at www.hrbaseball.com. I would like to thank Michael Dillion from Reynolds Sports Management for his help in setting this interview up. I also want to thank Harold Reynolds again for donating his time to me and the site.

ELI: When did it first think you that you might play in the major leagues?


HAROLD: When I was fourteen years old, I had a scout by the name of Larry Diamoato hand me his card after one of my Little League games. He was a scout with the Cincinnati Reds. He said to me, “Son you have a chance to play major league baseball.” And that planted a seed in me that I had the potential to play baseball at the professional level. I also have two older brothers that played so I knew then I had a good chance.

ELI: You were first drafted in 1979, but you did not sign, what were your reasons for not signing?

HAROLD: I didn’t think I was ready. I was only about 5’8’’, 150 pounds, and I didn’t think the grind of a long season was something I could endure. I went to San Diego St. and grew up a lot. After a short time, I transferred to a CaƱada Junior College in northern California. I filled out some, improved my game, and really love the environment that I was playing in. I think that helped my game a lot because I was taken number two the following year in the draft.

ELI: What was it like being drafted number two?


HAROLD: It was great, a great honor. I had a lot of experience which helped me go higher. I played with the Alaska Goldpanners, which has a lot of history with good ballplayers, so that looked good to a lot of scouts. Players like Tom Seaver and Bob Boone played up there before me. It was nice playing up there, a honor because so many great ballplayers played there.

ELI: Did you have a favorite stadium to play at during your career?

HAROLD: Probably Seattle. On the road though, probably Kansas City. I got my first major league hit there, it is a special place. I hit a double off the top of the wall off of Larry Gura, who strung a good couple of 18 win seasons together.

ELI: What was it like being traded from the Padres to the Angels? How were you told and what did you think?

HAROLD: It was interesting. I didn’t mind being traded, going back to the AL. I was grateful GM Randy Smith gave me the opportunity to go back and have a starting job.

ELI: What was it like walking into the new clubhouse for the first time?


HAROLD: I knew most of the guys so it wasn’t bad. I mean I played in the AL for so long I saw them all the time. But one moment that sticks out in my mind is when I first met Rex Hudler, who just came over to the Angels. He was one of the most enthusiastic guys you will ever meet. He could make any bad day good again. So anyways he comes up to me and says, “Dude, can you believe Rod Carew is my hitting coach!” I didn’t know if he was joking or if he was serious. It turns out he really was serious and it just shows how enthusiastic he really was.

ELI: Growing up in Oregon where there is no professional baseball, did you have a favorite team?

HAROLD: I was Giants fan growing up.

ELI: Did you have a favorite ballplayer growing up?

HAROLD: Family favorites included Willy Mays and Roberto Clemente, but as I grew up my favorite player became Rod Carew.

ELI: You’ve called some pretty big games in your broadcast career, is it stressful calling games?

HAROLD: No, It is fun. I love teaching baseball and pointing out things that people do not see during the game.

ELI: What is it like in the broadcast booth during the game? How many people are in the booth usually, and what are they doing?

HAROLD: There are usually four people in the booth. You have your play by play guy, who is doing most of the talking; you got your color guy or analyst, who talks with the play by play guy. Then you have the stat man in the back who hands us stats about certain players. And finally you have the stage manager who queues the play by play guy on commercials and hands him note cards that say “That last play was sponsored by Weed Wacker, don’t clean your front yard without it!”

ELI: I heard you have some sort of DVD Set, can you tell me about that?

HAROLD: Yeah, you can find all the information at Hrbaseball.com It is an Instructional Series teaching all the aspects of the game with great ball players. It is the best series ever created, period. It is shot in High Definition with Ozzie Smith teaching infield, Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn on hitting, former Marlins manager Joe Girardi on catching, former Rangers manager Buck Showalter on coaching, All-Star Twins outfielder Torii Hunter on manning the outfield, Jeff Brantley on pitching, and myself on the base paths. Like I said, the best series ever created. Everyone in this video was an all-star at some point in their career.

ELI: What was it like playing in the All Star Game?

HAROLD: The All Star Game is great, but it is a quick three days and you really do not get to know everyone. It was a great honor to play in the game. One of my best memories of playing was in my first All Star Game; Willy Randolph was the leading vote getter and was starting at second base. But he had a sore hamstring. So he came up to me and said “Kid, I’m taking one at-bat, and that game is yours.” I love it, standing next to players that I watched growing up: David Winfield, Dooie [Dwight] Evans, it was a trip.

ELI: What is the dugout like during the game? Is everyone focused?

HAROLD: You know, it is not like high school where you play once a week. You see the same guys every day so I would say it is competitive, but-you know this is what I say about it: Baseball is an individual game and a team concept. No one is standing at the plate but you.

ELI: Do you hope to get back into baseball in future? Maybe in a Front Office role?

HAROLD: I’d like to get back into TV. I’d liked doing what I was doing and want to do it again. I like helping people understand the game better.

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Lastings Milledge To Be Traded?

Since top prospect Lastings Milledge has been called up, there has been controversy surrounding him the whole time. First, he was giving out high fives to fans after he got a big hit, no big deal, but not proper conduct. Now, "L-Millz" appears in a raunchy rap song called "Bend Ya Knees" by Manny D has "lyrics ripe with vulgarity, demeaning references to women, explicit sexual content and multiple uses of the n-word." Omar Minaya was upset with the song, and said that the Mets were looking into it. Lastings Milledge is 0-3 on the year, but a team like the Atheltics would be interested in trading for him. Other teams that would be interested would probably be the Braves, who might lose Andruw Jones at the end of the year, The White Sox, who have Jermaine Dye's contract hanging over them, and the Padres, who have Mike Cameron up in the air on his contract. Although Milledge hasn't proved he will be a star, a change from the Big Apple would probably do him well, and he could grow off that change. Right now he is batting .333 with Triple-A with one homerun, five RBIs and SBs.

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Rookie Shines For Blue Jays

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Rookie pitcher Jesse Litsch pitched an incredible game in his major league debut, pitching 8.2 innings, giving up four hits, one earned run, and one strike out. Helping Litsch get his first win was Alex Rios, who hit his eighth home run and Troy Glaus who had an RBI single with two outs. Litsh, the former Devil Rays bat boy for two full seasons, credits his improving fastball as the main reason he is back in the majors today. "This year I've been throwing them a lot more," Litsch said. "[LaRoche] put me to a challenge to throw it 15-20 times a game and it's worked out for the best." The Blue Jays look to sweep the Orioles with A.J. Burnett taking the hill. But they will have to beat Brian Burres, who is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA.

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Villone On The Block?

The Yankees have Sean Henn and Mike Myers in the bullpen, both good pitchers doing well. And with both of them doing well it makes Ron Villone expendable. Villone is doing very well in Triple-A. Going into last night's game against Columbus, he had a 1.90 earned run average with 27 strikeouts in 23 2/3 innings. The Phillies who are low on relief pitchers could use him, but assistant general manager Ruben Amaro would not comment on it. Here's why I bring this up, Villone has a clause in his contract that expires today stating that if Villone isn't in the big leagues by today, he can request free agency. The Yankees have till tomorrow to either call him up or release him. It is obvious that the Phillies would be interested, but after last nights comments made my Cubs manager Lou Piniella after a tough 5-4 loss in the ninth, Piniella would probably urge Hendry to seek some bullpen help. “I’m going to find out if there are some kids down in Triple A throwing the ball,” he said. “Maybe that’s the answer, get some different kids up here that can throw the ball. I don’t know what else to say. I’ve tried everybody out there.” Villone would help both bullpens and the only thing that would slow talks is Scott Boras is his agent, and he will ask for at least 1.5 million dollars. We will wait and see on what the Yankees do with Villone. The Yankees could look to get something out of him and try trading him, only having to pay half of his contract for a prospect or two.

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Greg Maddux Goes Distance, Gets 336th Win

Monday, May 14, 2007

Greg Maddux almost pitched a complete game shutout, but gave up one run in the top of the ninth to lose it. However, he still pitched an unbelievable game, giving up five hits and striking out five in a 7-1 victory over the Reds. Josh Bard and Mike Cameron combined for four RBIs in tonight's victory, while Kouzmanoff, Greene, and Cruz Jr. contributed as well. Maddux is now 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA with 31 K. He now has 336 career wins. The Padres improved to 21-18 and are now just 2.5 games behind the Dodgers.

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Bergmann Dominates Braves, Nats Win 4 Straight

When John Smoltz made his major league debut, Jason Bergmann was seven years old. Tonight Bergmann squared off against a pitcher he watched growing up and proved to everyone that he is the ace of the Nationals rotation with injured pitcher Shaun Hill out. After two previous impressive starts, many watched to see if he could really pull of another spectacular performance. Bergmann went beyond what was needed of him tonight against the Braves, taking a no hitter into the eighth inning of a game, before surrendering two hits, one a home run. Besides giving up only two hits, he struck out ten and continued the Nationals four game winning streak. John Smoltz injured himself during the game, but plans to make his next start. Although, I see the Braves giving him a week off, make sure their veteran ace is okay. Struggling pitcher Jerome Williams will take on Tim Hudson tomorrow at 7:05 P.M. ET. The Nationals are going for their fifth straight win.

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MLB Rumors Talk Show Inaugural Broadcast

Tomorrow at 4:30 P.M. CT, the MLB Rumors Talk Show will air on Blog Talk Radio. Here is the link to my page, and you can listen in live. You can also call into the show, ask questions, or simply listen to what I have to say. The broadcast should take only 5 minutes, unless calls are coming in. Here is the link to listen in tomorrow:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/hostpage.aspx?host_id=4904

I hope you all will listen and call in with questions or comments.

Eli

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Dodgers After Glaus

Sunday, May 13, 2007

In recent weeks, Dodgers scouts have been seen at Red Sox and Blue Jays games scouting infielders to potentially take over the hole at third base. Since Mike Lowell and the Red Sox are doing very well, it is unlikely Theo Epstein would break up the team. Expect the Blue Jays, who are almost conceding the 2007 season due to a terrible 15-22 start, to hold a fire sale if they fail to turn it around by June or July.The Dodgers would probably call first and offer a boatload of prospects to acquire Glaus, who is batting .313 with 6 HR and and 14 RBI. The Dodgers currently have Andy LaRoche at third base, but what they need is a power hitting veteran who could put that team over the top and make them the favorites to win that division. Glaus signed a 4 year deal, worth 45 million dollars in 2005. So the Dodgers could ease LaRoche into a starting role in 2008, and if he isn't ready by the end of the season, there is a club option for 2009. The Dodgers are currently three games ahead of the Padres in the division.

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Is Interleague Play Fair?

"I don't think there's any question it's not fair, but I don't think major league baseball is concerned with fair," Chipper Jones said before Atlanta's 13-2 loss in Pittsburgh. "If you play the top teams in the American League and everybody else doesn't, it's pretty unfair." Although it is fun playing in cities you've never played in, seeing and hearing new fan bases and stadiums, and meeting new players, but teams , like the Braves, that have to play the best team in the AL, then the top three teams in the AL Central, it is not fair. When asked if it is factor, despite having a great record in interleague play, he responded: "It's a factor [in the pennant race]," Jones said. "We play Boston six times, and they've got the best record in the American League. We play the top three teams in the toughest division in baseball [the AL Central].We, without a doubt, have the toughest schedule in baseball, bar none. You don't play in our division and play the interleague schedule we play and not say we don't have the toughest schedule." He went on to say that it is unfair that the Braves competition, who are competing for the division against the Mets as of right now, don't have to face the same competition. I agree with Jones in which he says "we should do it the way we did it the first five or six years of interleague play, and that's play every team in the American League East, every team in West and so on." Since interleague play started in 1997, the Braves' 91-75 record is the sixth best in the majors.

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Rookie Lewis Does It All

Who knew what the Giants were getting when they called up prospect Fred Lewis, who was batting .263 with 4 HR, 15 RBI, and 7 SB in Triple-A Fresno. Lewis doubled in the first inning of the game. He then struck out in the second, but came back and hit his first career homerun, a three run homer in the fourth. He then tripled in the fifth and to finish it off, hit a single to lead off the seventh for the 24th cycle in franchise history. The Giants were able to collect 22 hits total, and beat the Rockies 15-2, improving to 19-18. The Giants have a day off Monday, but then travel to Houston for a three game series.

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Drama in Boston

The Red Sox lost Josh Beckett in the forth inning to torn skin on his middle finger. The Orioles then added on 3 more runs to make it 5-0, and that carried into the bottom of the ninth. Julio Lugo led off the bottom of the ninth with a ground out. Then Coco Crisp reached on an error by catcher Ramon Hernandez. David Ortiz then drove in Coco Crisp on a double to make it 5-1. Wily Mo Pena and J.D. Drew then got on base to load them for Kevin Youkilis. Chris Ray walked in Ortiz to make it 5-2 for the captain Jason Varitek. Drew and Pena scored and the bases remained loaded, now it is 5-4. After a controversial call at home, the game remained 5-4 with two outs. A easy ground ball in between the first and second baseman, fielded by Kevin Millar. He then lobbed it behind the running pitcher Chris Ray who drops it, and two runs score. The Red Sox won 6-5 and improved their record to 25-11. Although Josh Beckett failed to get his eighth win, the bullpen proved better than ever, and hitting eventually came through. The Orioles drop to 18-20, but hope to regroup in Toronto for a three game series.

Victory For the Ages: Nationals pitcher Jason Simontacchi picked up his first victory of the season by pitching 5 1/3 innings and giving up three earned runs. It was his first victory since Sept. 20, 2003, against the Astros. It has been 1,332 days since his last win.

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Marlins Trade Julio for Rox's Kim

The Florida Marlins traded struggling reliever to Colorado for struggling pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim. The Marlins were looking for a closer in spring training, and thought they had found one when they traded Yusmeiro Petit to the Diamondbacks for Jorge Julio and cash. However, Julio struggled with the Marlins and acquired no saves, had an ERA over 12, and only six K's in ten games. Kim also struggled with the Rockies, going 1-2 with 10.50 ERA and 2 K. Kim will probably be used in the bullpen, while Julio will joining there pen. Julio has 99 career SV's, with a 4.41 ERA. Kim was on the 2001 Diamondbacks World Series Team, but has never really lived up to standards in his big league career. He is 45-54 with a 4.20 ERA and 701 K. He has never pitched in the NL East so he may have the advantage early on.

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Phillies Place Howard on DL

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The Phillies decided they had no choice and placed the injured Ryan Howard on the DL with strained quadriceps. Howard will be able to return May 25th, when the team expects him to have fully recovered from his injury. "We feel that every time he has to perform, he aggravates it," assistant general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said. "We fully expect him to be 100 percent by the time he's expected to be activated." So far this season, Howard is batting .204 with 6 HR and 23 RBI. The Phillies called up Chris Coste in his replace.

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Interview with Tony Pena

This morning, Royals shortstop Tony Pena Jr., son of catcher and Yankees coach Tony Pena, met with me at the Westin Hotel in Chicago, before he went to U.S. Cellular field to prepare for the second game of the series against the White Sox. As I sat and waited for Mr. Pena to come down, I saw many stars like Scott Elarton, Mark Teahan, David Riske, and Jason Standridge. As I restrained myself from chasing autographs, Tony Pena called me up and we finally met in the lobby. Pena has gotten off to slow start in his first year with the Royals, but he is showing as a rookie that he can hold the position and ease into hitting in a new league. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be a very good ballplayer someday. I would also like to thank Jim Kuzmich, who is the Vice President and heads up marketing at GAAMES, a sports representation firm for getting this interview set up.

ELI: What was it like being traded by the Braves? Did you expect it to happen?

TONY: Well I knew something was going to happen and I didn’t know where I was going to end up. If I was going to stay with the Braves but whenever it happened I was happy because I was going to get a chance to play everyday.

ELI: Have you noticed any big changes playing in the different leagues?

TONY: Baseball is the same everywhere, you know. I’ve just been adjusting to the leagues. You know the American League and the National League aren’t the same, so I am trying to adjust to that.

ELI: When did you first realize that you might make it to the major leagues?

TONY: When I was going up the scale, like Double-A. From Double-A up is when you pretty much start to have an idea on what’s going to happen to you and that is when I started to get a feel for it.

ELI: How long have you played baseball?

TONY: Professionally this is my eighth year.

ELI: Have you always been a shortstop?

TONY: Yeah.

ELI: Are there any players on the club that serve as mentors for you?

TONY: Yeah lots of guys. Reggie [Sanders] and Mark Grudzielanek are always trying to keep me on track. Esteban German is always telling me things about the game. Me being a rookie most of the guys try to help us [other rookies] out.

ELI: Did you have a favorite player growing up?

TONY: Yeah, Omar Vizquel.

ELI: Your dad is a coach with the Yankees, what role has he played in molding you into the ballplayer you are now?

TONY: Well I have always tried to go out and have fun and that is something he has always told me. Just to go out and have fun.

ELI: Do you have a lineup preference?

TONY: No, not really. Just go out and wherever they put me, I’ll play.

ELI: This is a very young team with a few veterans, what is the chemistry like in the clubhouse?

TONY: You know were hoping for the experience to get us going. We got a lot of young guys and it is just fun being around all of them.

ELI: Do you have a favorite clubhouse on the road?

TONY: Well right now my favorite is Colorado.

ELI: Do you have any friends around the league that you hang out with during the off season?

TONY: I hang out in the off season with Andy Marte, Brayan Pena whenever we play Winter Ball. And some of the other guys that I play with back home in the Dominican.

ELI: What do you like to do with your free time?

TONY: Lay down. Just watch TV and relax. Relax as much as I can.

ELI: Do you have a pregame ritual? Any superstitions?

TONY: Sit down at my locker and try and get concentrated for the game. You know, get my game face.

ELI: You’ve got a brother with Mets, do you try to keep in touch with him?

TONY: Yeah, I talk to him just about everyday. See how he is doing. He’ll call me or I’ll call him just to see what is going on.

ELI: Do you plan to sport the pink bat for Mother’s Day?

TONY: Of course. Any time you get a chance to appreciate Mother’s Day and especially when it is a good cause.

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