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Sunday, September 22, 2002
Tuesday's Around the Horn

ESPN.com

TUESDAY'S TIDBITS

Line of the Day

Mike Mussina
Tied season high for strikeouts and pitched his second shutout of the season.

IP H ER SO
920 12

Hero of the day
Mariners September callup Willie Bloomquist had four hits Sunday and three more Tuesday, including a ground-rule double in the eighth that pulled Seattle within a run of Oakland after trailing 7-2. Bloomquist later scored the tying run in an 8-7 victory that kept the Mariners' playoff hopes alive for another day, if only on paper.

Goat of the day
Mike Fetters gave up a one-out walk, then surrendered a game-winning single with two outs in the ninth as the Diamondbacks lost their fifth straight, 3-2 to the Cardinals. All was not lost, however, as Arizona backed into the playoffs when the Dodgers lost later Tuesday night.

Injuries

  • Royals coach Tom Gamboa, who was attacked at Comiskey Park during a game last week, is experiencing hearing loss in his right ear. The Royals coach said he planned to see a hearing specialist, but that the soreness seems to be going out of his neck.

  • Philadelphia All-Star pitcher Vicente Padilla left Tuesday night's start against Atlanta after just one out because of tightness in the back of the right shoulder. He will miss his final start.
  • Twins' 3B Corey Koskie, who left a game a week ago at Detroit after fouling a ball off his shin, fouled one off his right ankle on a 1-2 pitch in the third inning and was taken to a nearby hospital for precautionary X-rays, which were negative.

  • Red Sox OF Cliff Floyd is day to day with a strained tendon in his right ankle. He did not play Tuesday.

  • Reds C Jason LaRue had successful hernia surgery Tuesday and should be able to start working out in eight weeks. He is expected to fully recover by spring training.

    Streak of the day
    The Blue Jays clinched third place in the AL East. It also ensured the entire AL East will end up in the same order of finish for the fifth straight year -- the first time that's happened in any league or division in any season.

    Stat of the day
    Yankees slugger Jason Giambi and his brother, Jeremy, broke the record for most homers by brothers in one season. Joe DiMaggio (46) and his brother Vince (13) combined for 59 in 1937; Jason has 40 and Jeremy -- who split time between the A's and Phillies this year -- has 20.

    Another stat of the day
    The Mets dropped their 82nd game, assuring them of their first losing season since 1996. It was manager Bobby Valentine's first losing record in a full season since 1988 in Texas.

    The last word
    "It's prayer time.''
    -- Dodgers left fielder Brian Jordan, after L.A. dropped to three games back with five to play in the wild-card race.

  • AMERICAN LEAGUE
    Devil Rays at Yankees
    Tampa Bay: RF Damian Rolls dropped his glove when he saw a shirtless man running toward him in the eighth inning of Monday night's game. Mindful the attack by two fans in Chicago last week on Kansas City's first base coach, Rolls didn't want to take any chances. "I'm going to be prepared if he does come after me,'' Rolls said. "Even if I hadn't seen the thing in Chicago, I would have dropped my glove and squared up for my own protection.'' The fan was arrested. ... Since losing their 100th game on Sept. 14, the Devil Rays have gone 6-2 -- their best stretch of the season. ... Aubrey Huff leads the team in homers with 23 despite not having been called up from Triple-A Durham until May 28. New York: Manager Joe Torre thinks Rogers Clemens, who was on the disabled list with a strained groin for 21 games in July and August, may benefit in the postseason from the unexpected midseason rest. "That may add some gas to his tank. I think that might benefit a guy 40 years old,'' Torre said. ... After being held without a homer in four straight games, the Yankees avoided going homerless for a fifth consecutive game for the first time since June 30-July 4, 1997. ... Clemens will start Wednesday night against the Devil Rays for the fourth time this season. He was 3-0 with a 1.69 ERA in his earlier starts against Tampa Bay. ... Jeff Weaver has not pitched since Aug. 26.

    Orioles at Blue Jays
    Baltimore: OF Gary Matthews Jr. hasn't started a game since August 23. Matthews, who has tendinitis in his right wrist, was activated from the 15-day disabled list on Sept. 11, but has had no at-bats since then. He pinch-ran on Monday night and stole a base ... Forme-Blue Jay Pat Hentgen will start for the Orioles on Thursday. Hentgen won a Cy Young Award and two World Championships with Toronto. ... OF Chris Singleton won 0-for-7 against Boston on Monday. Toronto: Ace RHP Roy Halladay will start the final game of the season against the Tigers on Sunday. Halladay took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of the last game of the 1998 season before Detroit's Bobby Higginson hit a pinch-hit homer with two outs. ... Manager Carlos Tosca said he and general manager J.P. Ricciardi don't like having their players play winter ball. "You don't know who is managing the people there,'' Tosca said. "You don't know what kind of effort you get from the guys when they go there.''

    Angels at Rangers
    Anaheim: Going into Tuesday night's game at Texas, Anaheim was in the top five in the AL in batting average (.283, first), ERA (3.66, second) and fielding percentage (.986, second). The last time the Angels finished in the top five of all three categories was in 1982 when they won the AL West title. ... SS David Eckstein, at .301 going into Tuesday, is on pace to set the club record for batting average by a shortstop. Rick Burleson hit .293 in 109 games at shortstop in 1981 for the Angels. Texas: 1B Rafael Palmeiro celebrated his 38th birthday Tuesday. Going into the game against the Angels, Palmeiro was just three runs shy of joining Jason Giambi, Lance Berkman, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa as the only players in the major leagues with 100 runs, 100 RBI and 100 walks this season. Palmeiro is the only Texas player ever to accomplish that feat, doing so in 2000. ... The Rangers agreed to a player development contract with Clinton, Iowa in the Triple-A Midwest League. The deal is through the 2004 season. The Clinton Lumberjacks have been in the Midwest League since 1956 and had been affiliated with Montreal the last two seasons. Clinton replaces Savannah of the South Atlantic League in the Rangers farm system.

    Indians at Twins
    Cleveland: Rookie LHP Dave Maurer, a native of Minneapolis suburb Apple Valley, had a handful of family and friends at Tuesday's game at the Metrodome. ... 1B Jim Thome entered Tuesday's game with a streak of 49 straight games reaching base, dating to July 28 against Detroit. ... The Indians have set a new club record for most players used in a season with 59. In 2000, 55 players saw action. That was the only year, other than this one and the 1994 season wiped out by a strike, that Cleveland didn't win the AL Central. Minnesota: The Twins made their first appearance in Minnesota since clinching the AL Central. Their championship banner was unveiled above right field, and a video highlight show was shown on the scoreboard. ... OF Michael Restovich, a native of Rochester, Minn., who made his major league debut during the Twins' recent road trip, had a large contingent of friends and family from his hometown (about 90 miles south of Minneapolis) in attendance. Manager Ron Gardenhire, though, didn't have Restovich in the lineup. "Considering the (Mayo High School athletic director) told me the whole town is going to be here, it's tempting,'' Gardenhire said. "But we've got to get ready for the playoffs. These kids all understand that.'' ... The Twins have endured a lot of injuries this year, but it looks like they're relatively healthy entering the regular season's final week. Jacque Jones is the one exception, but the left fielder's sprained ankle is expected to be healed enough to allow him to play in this weekend's series against the Chicago White Sox. Jones lobbied Gardenhire to be the designated hitter Tuesday night, but Gardenhire wanted to give Jones some more rest. ... The perils of a multipurpose stadium: A few minutes before the game, the out-of-town scoreboard was showing Saturday's college football scores. ... Timberwolves vice president of basketball operations Kevin McHale was at Tuesday's game.

    Red Sox at White Sox
    Boston: OF Cliff Floyd is day to day after straining a tendon in his right ankle in Monday night's victory in Baltimore. "They had it X-rayed last night and there was nothing out of the order,'' manager Grady Little said. There's no timetable for Floyd's return, but Little said he hopes Floyd will be able to play during the series with the White Sox. "He's from here,'' Little said. "We hope he's able to play here before we get out of town.'' ... Reliever Bob Howry is available to pitch again after missing 11 games with tendinitis in his right elbow. "Everything's back to normal and I'm ready to go for the last week or so,'' said Howry, who is making his first trip to Comiskey Park after being traded to the Red Sox on July 31. "I don't want to finish the season shut down for three weeks. I want to finish strong.'' Especially since he thinks he's finally figured out his velocity problems. Howry has struggled to regain his velocity since shoulder surgery in 2000, and Red Sox coaches noticed something different in his delivery when they looked at old tapes of him. "My hands were a lot lower, I was bending over,'' Howry said. "So we played with that, tried to get back to where I was. ... And I was throwing probably 93, 94 mph.'' ... The Red Sox are having a reception for season-ticket holders Wednesday at Fenway Park. Principal owner John Henry and president and chief executive officer Larry Lucchino will address what happened this year and the team's plan for the future. Chicago: Mark Buehrle, trying to become the first White Sox pitcher to win 20 games since Jack McDowell in 1993, will pitch Saturday, giving him an extra day of rest. "The extra day will probably do him a lot of good,'' manager Jerry Manuel said. ... Since dumping most of their veterans and starting their youth movement, the White Sox have won 20 of their last 28 games. "They've handled some very good teams,'' Manuel said of the youngsters. "That's encouraging. You go into spring training knowing you've got young players, but also knowing they can compete.'' ... Many of the young White Sox will play winter ball, experience Manuel said can be invaluable. "The more experience you have, the better,'' he said. "I think it's a good experience to go to a foreign country. A lot of people grow up when they see a different lifestyle. And just to survive. If you don't play well, no matter who you are, they'll send you home.'' ... The White Sox reached a two-year deal that makes Great Falls, Mont., their new Advanced Rookie affiliate. Chicago previously had a team in Phoenix. Great Falls has been an affiliate for the Dodgers (1951-63, 1984-2002) and the Giants (1969-83).

    Tigers at Royals
    Detroit: The Tigers claimed LHP Jason Jimenez off waivers from Tampa Bay. They also transferred INF Dmitri Young from the 15-day to the 60-day DL. Young has been on the DL since July 6 after hernia surgery. At the end of their three-game series which started Tuesday night, the Tigers and Royals were guaranteed to have exactly 200 losses between them. Kansas City: The Tigers and Royals, who are last and next-to-last in the AL Central, entered their final three-game series tied 8-8 for the year.

    Athletics at Mariners
    Oakland: Going into Tuesday's game, Oakland had a major league-leading 19 shutouts and had tied a club record with 30 victories in one-run games. ... RHP Tim Hudson, Wednesday's scheduled starter, is 8-0 with a 1.79 ERA over his last 10 starts. It's the longest active AL winning streak. ... The A's know how to protect a late lead, going 88-0 when leading after eight innings. Seattle: Manager Lou Piniella believes Pete Rose belongs in the Hall of Fame. "You give him his due,'' Piniella said. "He had more hits than anyone in the game. We have a society where bygones are bygones, don't we?'' ... On Sunday, RHP Jeff Nelson became Seattle's career leader with 336 games pitched, one more than Mike Jackson. ... Safeco Field has had 37 sellouts this season, but that mark wasn't likely to change with thousands of empty seats for the first pitch.

    NATIONAL LEAGUE
    Marlins at Expos
    Florida: RHP Carl Pavano made his first start at Olympic Stadium since he was traded to the Marlins by Montreal on July 11. Pavano was 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in six starts since joining Florida's rotation on Aug. 23. ... The Marlins had lost four straight to the Expos and are 8-8 against Montreal this season. Florida needed to win two of three to win the season series for the fourth straight season. ... LF Kevin Millar has reached base safely in 38 straight games. Millar, whose hitting streak ended at 25 games on Friday, is hitting .412 (63-for-153) since Aug. 10, with 19 doubles, five homers and 22 RBI. Montreal: Vladimir Guerrero's next hit will be his 200th of the season. He was two homers short of becoming just the fourth player in major league history to reach 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season. Guerrero, who has 38 homers and 40 steals, is trying to join Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez in the select group. The New York Yankees' Alfonso Soriano was one homer short of a 40/40 season through Monday. ... RHP Masato Yoshii is expected to undergo surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder on Thursday in Los Angeles.

    Mets at Pirates
    New York: It's been a disappointing year for the Mets but help is on the way. It may not arrive until 2004, though. GM Steve Phillips is very enthusiastic about SS Jose Reyes, who split this season between A and Double-A. "He's going to be an impact player at the major league level,'' Phillips said. "It's not a matter of if he's going to be a good player, it's a matter of when he's going to get that opportunity.'' Reyes is ticketed to start next season at the Triple-A level and arrive in New York the following season. ... 1B Mo Vaughn returned to the lineup Tuesday in Pittsburgh after missing a game because of swelling in his left knee. ... OF Esix Snead, one of the Mets' September callups, hit a game-winning home run over the weekend and his excitement reminded some of the weary veterans of how much fun baseball is supposed to be. "Mo and I were laughing about it,'' C Mike Piazza said. "He was so enthusiastic. The young guys have brought a lot of energy.'' Pittsburgh: The Pirates and Mets met Tuesday for the first time since they opened the season with a series at Shea Stadium April 1-4. The teams have combined to lose 168 games since then. ... C Jason Kendall says his surgically repaired left thumb is fine but manager Lloyd McClendon says it's obvious the injury has continued to plague Kendall. McClendon thinks an offseason of rest will have Kendall producing at his customary level. "I look for him to have a bounce-back year next season,'' McClendon said. ... It's been a tough year all around for the Pirates. One of the team's broadcasters, Lanny Frattare, has seen two laptops computers destroyed in the last few weeks. One was shattered by a foul ball and the other was soaked by a sudden deluge of rain which was blown directly into the booth at PNC Park by high winds.

    Braves at Phillies
    Atlanta: If the Braves win 100 games, they will become the first franchise in NL history to record seven 100-plus win seasons. Three other franchises have recorded six seasons, New York/San Francisco Giants, Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers and the St. Louis Cardinals. The Braves had 100-win seasons in Boston in 1892 and 1898 and in Atlanta in 1993, 1997 through 1999. Philadelphia: Closer Jose Mesa came into Tuesday with 86 saves with the Phillies, fifth on the team list. Ron Reed, who is fourth, had 90 for Philadelphia in the 1970s. ... If the Phillies win their final home series with Atlanta, they will finish the season with a winning home record. ... Bobby Abreu has been walked 100 times this season, the fourth consecutive year he has walked 100 or more times. The last Phillie with four straight 100-plus walk seasons had been Mike Schmidt (1974-77). ... Mike Lieberthal received the second annual community service award from the Phillies and Phillies Charities prior to the game on Tuesday against Atlanta. Since 1998, Lieberthal has donated more than $20,000 in tickets to Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and St. Christopher's Hospital for Children in Philadelphia.

    Reds at Cubs
    Cincinnati: C Jason LaRue had surgery Tuesday to repair a hernia. The one-hour procedure was performed by Dr. Joann Lohn and Reds medical director Dr. Timothy Kremchek. LaRue should be able to work out in two months and is expected to be fully recovered by spring training. Corky Miller, who finished the season at Triple-A Louisville, reported to the Reds on Tuesday to fill the spot. ... The Reds sent minor league RHP Jorge Cordova to the Tigers to complete a July 23 deal in which Cincinnati acquired RHP Brian Moehler and infielder Matt Boone. ... The Reds staff has thrown just one complete game, which would tie the major league record low set last season by Tampa Bay. Chris Reistma pitched a complete game against the Brewers on July 15. ... Scott Sullivan will be the first pitcher to lead the Reds in appearances for five consecutive seasons. ... Ken Griffey Jr. didn't want to comment on Sammy Sosa's fast-approaching 500-homer milestone. "I don't want to jinx him'' said Griffey Jr., who made a soft drink commercial with Sosa. Chicago: GM Jim Hendry said he will make a quick decision on interim manager Bruce Kimm, probably within a day or two after Sunday's season finale. "I won't let it hang,'' Hendry said. "I'll be up front with everyone and let them know where they stand.'' Hendry wouldn't say which way he is leaning. Kimm replaced the fired Don Baylor in early July. The Cubs were 34-49 under Baylor, 0-1 under bench coach Rene Lachemann and before Tuesday's game with the Reds were 31-41 under Kimm. "I've done the best to my ability,'' Kimm said. "Are there some things I'd do differently? Absolutely. ... I'm not a politician. The Cubs have been good to me. The only surprise is the losing. I really expected to win more than I lost.'' ... Kimm said rookie Hee Seop Choi would start the remaining six games at first now that veteran Fred McGriff has reached 30 homers and 100 RBI. ... The Cubs obtained RHPS Jason Karnuth and Jared Blasdell to complete last month's trade that sent lefty reliever Jeff Fassero to the Cardinals.

    Brewers-Astros
    Milwaukee: Richie Sexton is the second right-handed hitter in Brewers history with consecutive 100-RBI seasons. Milwaukee is 3-10 in extra-inning games and 13-28 in games decided by one run. Houston: Rickey Stone's 76 appearances this season was a club rookie record and sixth-most in team history. He is two games from the NL rookie record set by Tim Burke of Montreal in 1985.

    Diamondbacks at Cardinals
    Arizona: RHP Curt Schilling will start on Wednesday if the Diamondbacks still have not clinched a playoff spot. They entered the night with the magic number at one for making the postseason, and with a magic number of three for clinching the NL West. RHP Armando Reynoso will pitch otherwise. Manager Bob Brenly doesn't want the Cardinals to see Schilling and Johnson, who is being pushed back to Thursday, before the playoffs. ... Brenly said the Diamondbacks will have to be more aggressive on the bases without OF Luis Gonzalez. "We'll look to hit and run a little more, maybe steal a little bit more,'' Brenly said. "We may have to play for the run a little bit more.'' ... 1B Erubiel Durazo will move to RF and David Dellucci will move to LF in the wake of the Gonzalez injury. Brenly acknowledged that Durazo is not a natural outfield, but that he needs his bat in the lineup. St. Louis: 3B Scott Rolen, who has a sprained big toe on his right foot, was out of the lineup for the third straight game but expects to play on Thursday. CF Jim Edmonds was scratched due to general soreness in the lower half of his body. "Yeah, I'm sore,'' Edmonds said. "It's not news. I just have to be careful.'' ... The Cardinals completed a deal that brought LHP Jeff Fassero from the Cubs on Aug. 25, sending minor league RHPs Jason Karnuth and Jared Blasdell to Chicago. ... Manager Tony La Russa entered the night needing one victory for 600 with the Cardinals. ... RHP Andy Benes entered the night six strikeouts shy of 2,000 for his career.

    Padres at Giants
    San Diego: Going into Tuesday's game, the Padres had scored first against the Giants in the last seven meetings. That didn't mean much though -- San Diego was 2-5 in those games. In addition, the last seven games between the teams have gone more than 3 hours. San Diego's 4-1 win Sept. 15 lasted 3:30. ... OF Mark Kotsay has improved his hitting vs. lefties. He went 3-for-3 with two home runs against Dodgers LHP Omar Daal on Sunday for a .333 average against left-handers. In 2001, Kotsay was only .215 with two homers against southpaws. ... Manager Bruce Bochy plans to use his top players until the season ends. He wants as many wins as possible and a strong finish to a disappointing year. "We hate to be in the spoiler role, because it means we're out of it, but these are important games,'' he said. "We're going with our best until this thing is over.'' ... The Padres have had 59 players hurt this year -- "never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we'd have so many injuries,'' Bochy said. ... C Tom Lampkin says he would like to play in San Diego again next year, his final season before retirement. San Francisco: While manager Dusty Baker admits to being a longtime scoreboard watcher, he says it doesn't help his team to be concerned with what everybody else is doing in the season's final week. "Worrying doesn't help you anyway,'' he said. "A feeling of urgency doesn't help.'' The Giants began the day with a two-game lead over Los Angeles in the NL wild card race with five to go and a possible makeup game Monday in Atlanta. ... San Francisco was four games behind NL West-leading Arizona, but Baker wasn't ready to rule his team out of the division title chase. Yet it would be a nearly impossible feat. "I allow myself to think about that all the time,'' he said. "Until you're mathematically eliminated you can think about it.'' ... Going into Tuesday's game, the Giants had won 11 of their last 17 at Pacific Bell Park. Since the stadium opened in 2000, San Francisco has the third-best home winning percentage in the majors (149-89, .626). Only Oakland and St. Louis are higher.

    Rockies at Dodgers
    Colorado: The Rockies were 5-5 at Coors Field against the Dodgers this season, but brought a 1-6 road record into Los Angeles on Tuesday night. ... Colorado's bullpen posted a 1.69 ERA in a three-game sweep of Arizona. ... The Rockies need one starter to go the distance in their final six games to avoid tying a major league record for fewest complete games in a season. Both Colorado and Cincinnai have one complete game so far, which ties the mark set by the 1995 Rockies and the 2001 Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Los Angeles: CF Dave Roberts, sidelined because of a strained muscle in his right side, had a MRI exam that revealed a torn oblique muscle. He's day to day. ... Manager Jim Tracy hasn't ruled out starting RHP Andy Ashby on Saturday against San Diego. Ashby has a blister on his pitching hand and won't pick up a ball until his finger is better. Tracy said it's possible Ashby might start without throwing on the side. Ashby (9-13) allowed five runs on six straight hits without getting an out in the third inning Friday against the Padres. ... Tracy said if the Dodgers are still in the wild-card race Sunday, the final day of the regular season, then he would use LHP Odalis Perez, who started Tuesday night. ... Tracy's home in suburban Claremont is near a wildfire raging in the Angeles National Forest 40 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. The fire sent smoke into much of the metro region. "I can see flame right from my backyard. We got ash in the backyard, on the sidewalk and the pool,'' he said. "It's not good. I've not seen anything like that.''