Monday, August 22, 2005
Torre: 'I can't say that we expected this stuff'
ESPN.com news services
New York Yankees: A day after Randy Johnson gave up four home runs in one inning during a loss at Chicago, the Yankees admitted the Big Unit has struggled during his first season in New York.
"He hasn't performed to his expectation or ours, but that's not something that hasn't happened before, either," general manager Brian Cashman said before Monday night's game against Toronto.
Johnson, acquired during the offseason from Arizona, is 11-8 with a 4.34 ERA and has allowed 29 home runs -- one shy of his career high and the second most in the major leagues behind Cincinnati's Eric Milton (35). The five-time Cy Young Award winner, who has been bothered by a bad back, is winless in four starts since July 26, going 0-2.
"I can't say that we expected this stuff. Every time you put his name down in the lineup, you expect Randy Johnson to dominate," Yankees manager Joe Torre said. "I'm surprised. He's surprised, too."
Cashman and Torre cited the time it took for Roger Clemens to adjust when he came to the Yankees in 1999.
"Everybody's just different," Cashman said. "Sheff [Gary Sheffield] took no more than two months. [Mike] Mussina took about three months. Roger took a year and the first two months of the next season. Alex [Rodriguez] took most of last season, but in the second half he took off for us."
New York began Monday a half-game back of Oakland in the AL wild-card race and trailed first-place Boston by four games in the AL East with 40 games remaining. Johnson will have about seven or eight more starts.
"He's got time to do what's necessary to get us where we need to be," Cashman said.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Left-hander Odalis Perez was placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday because of a strained muscle on his right side. The move was retroactive to Thursday.
Right-hander Edwin Jackson was recalled from Double-A Jacksonville and was listed as the starter for Perez on Monday at Florida.
Perez, 7-7 with a 4.73 ERA in 17 starts, is scheduled to see a doctor in Los Angeles to determine the extent of the injury.
Atlanta Braves: The team activated catcher Johnny Estrada from the 15-day disabled list before Monday's game against the Cubs.
Estrada, who missed 14 games with a lumbar and cervical strain, was in the starting lineup. He is batting .255 with three homers and 35 RBI.
To make room, the Braves sent catcher Brayan Pena to Triple-A Richmond.
Baltimore Orioles: The team reacquired right-hander James Baldwin, claiming him off waivers from the Rangers.
Baldwin excelled in long relief for Baltimore before being designated for assignment July 18 while the Orioles were in negotiations to acquire right-hander A.J. Burnett in a trade with Florida. The trade was never completed, and Texas claimed Baldwin off waivers.
Baldwin went 0-2 with a 5.19 ERA in eight games for the Rangers. He was designated for assignment Aug. 16.
For the Orioles, he posted a 1.61 ERA in 12 relief appearances.
To make room for Baldwin on the 40-man roster, Baltimore transferred outfielder Eli Marrero to the 60-day disabled list. A move to put Baldwin on the active roster has not yet been announced.
St. Louis Cardinals: Reliever Mike Lincoln had surgery to repair a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
The rupture occurred during the last month of a throwing program that was a part of his rehabilitation from his initial elbow surgery June 4, an arthroscopic operation.
Lincoln chose to have Dr. George Paletta perform the surgery in St. Louis after consulting with specialist James Andrews in Birmingham, Ala.
Lincoln hasn't pitched since July 2004 because of elbow discomfort resulting from previous bone spurs. The former Pittsburgh reliever was 3-2 with a 5.19 ERA in 13 games in 2004.
Pittsburgh Pirates: No Pirates starting pitcher has started his rookie season the way Zach Duke has. The question now is what kind of finish he will have.
Duke takes a 6-0 record and 1.87 ERA into his 10th career start Tuesday night, when he faces the Cardinals at PNC Park. But whether Duke will keep pitching past Tuesday -- and, if he does so, for how long -- is a question the Pirates have not yet answered. The left-hander has pitched a career-high 165 2/3 innings while going a combined 18-3 with Pittsburgh and Triple-A Indianapolis, and management doesn't want to risk an arm injury by pitching him far more innings than he's ever pitched before.
General manager Dave Littlefield and manager Lloyd McClendon plan to evaluate Duke's status after his Tuesday night start. If Duke wins, he would match Pirates right-hander Don Robinson's 7-0 record as a rookie in 1978, when he finished 14-6. However, Robinson also made three appearances as a reliever that season.
Duke is coming off one of his best starts, a 5-0 victory over the Mets on Thursday in which he allowed two hits over seven innings. He hasn't appeared to be wearing down.
"From a physical standpoint, he looks to be OK, but you can't deny that he's going into uncharted territory," McClendon said Monday. "It's an extra four to five starts, so we've got to monitor it
carefully. And, regardless of what we come up with, it's going to be an ongoing evaluation of how he's doing from one start to the next."
The Pirates have discussed shutting Duke down for the season at some point, though doing so would take away the one consistent starting pitcher they have -- and their No. 1 gate attraction.
McClendon said it's possible the team will decide one course of action, but Duke's performance or physical condition could cause a change of thinking. If he were to remain on a five-day rotation, he
would be in line to make another six or seven starts this season. Another possibility is to go to a six-man rotation starting next month after left-hander Oliver Perez has returned to the rotation. Coupled with days off, Duke would start about once a week for the remainder of the season.
"Dave and I will sit down and talk about it," McClendon said. "But just because we say we're going to do this or do that doesn't mean it's etched in stone."
Pirates make roster moves: Second baseman Jose Castillo was placed on the 15-day disabled list after injuring the medial collateral ligament in his left knee turning a double play in the third inning Monday night against St. Louis.
Castillo leaped to avoid a sliding Hector Luna and landed hard on the runner, apparently causing the injury. Castillo will have an MRI on Tuesday.
To replace Castillo, the Pirates recalled their Opening Day third baseman, Ty Wigginton, from Triple-A Indianapolis. Wigginton was hitting .291 with 14 homers and 52 RBI since being sent to the minors June 4.
The 24-year-old Castillo, in his second season as a Pirates regular, is hitting .268 with 11 homers and 53 RBI.
Colorado Rockies: Outfielder Larry Bigbie was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained Achilles tendon.
The move is retroactive tao Sunday, when Bigbie was held out of the lineup in the Rockies' 9-7 win over the Cubs. Outfielder Choo Freeman has been recalled from Triple-A Colorado Springs to take Bigbie's spot on the roster.
Bigbie has started 15 games for Colorado since being acquired from the Orioles on July 29.
Freeman, who played two stints for the Rockies last season, has batted .280 in 97 games with the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Freeman batted .189 in the 45 games he played with the Rockies.
Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.