Gebhard takes Garagiola's old job

Arizona Diamondbacks: The team promoted Bob Gebhard to interim general manager, filling the spot vacated by Joe Garagiola Jr.

Garagiola accepted a job in the commissioner's office this week as senior vice president of baseball operations.

"Joe's shoes are big ones to fill, but we're very happy to have [scouting director] Mike Rizzo and [assistant GM] Bob Miller and Bob Gebhard on our side, and we will continue to wage the war and hopefully continue to compete in our division," general partner Jeff Moorad said. "We want to win, and we're hoping that will occur through the balance of the season."

Moorad said the front office would be evaluated after the season.

"We're very comfortable with Geb at this point, and we really haven't thought about it beyond that," Moorad said.

Gebhard had been Garagiola's special assistant since joining the Diamondbacks this year after five years in the same position with St. Louis. He served as Colorado's GM from 1991-99, building the franchise for two years before the Rockies began play in 1993.

Gebhard scouted established major-leaguers before the non-waiver trade deadline passed on July 31. Players can still be traded if they clear waivers, and Gebhard said some movement could be possible.

"We're past the trading deadline, but that doesn't mean we can't make some deals," he said. "It's more complicated, and we'll scan the waiver wire each and every day and try to find if there's a player that [manager Bob Melvin] and staff think can help us, and if they do we'll do our best to acquire them."

Who's on first? The Diamondbacks signed first baseman Tony Clark to a two-year contract extension.

Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Clark, who signed as a free agent in January, is hitting .329 with 18 home runs and 55 RBI. He has hit .371 as a pinch-hitter with three home runs and 15 RBI.

"Getting Tony under contract to remain a Diamondback has been on the front burner for several weeks," said general partner Jeff Moorad.

New York Yankees: Right-hander Carl Pavano will make another rehab start in the minors instead of returning to New York and starting Tuesday's game against the White Sox.

"They've decided to give him one more start down there, and I think that will be Monday," manager Joe Torre said.

Pavano, who signed as a free agent in December, has been out since July 7 with shoulder tendinitis.

The Wright stuff: Right-hander Jaret Wright will make at least more rehabilitation start in the minors. Wright gave up two hits in six shutout innings in a rehab outing Thursday night for Class-A Tampa.

"Jaret Wright was wonderful," Torre said. "We're going to take that one start at a time."

Wright, sidelined since late April with a shoulder injury, struck out eight, walked none and hit two batters in the Florida State League game against the Vero Beach Dodgers. His fastball reached 94 mph during his 68-pitch outing.

Cincinnati Reds: Players rallied around a 6-year-old boy after his grandfather collapsed in the stands this week.

"We just tried to make a bad situation a little better," outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. told the Cincinnati Enquirer.

While paramedics were working on the grandfather, a security officer took the boy to the Reds' bullpen. The Reds did not release the name of the grandfather, who died Wednesday night of an apparent heart attack.

The boy, identified as Antonio Perez, sat with players for the last two innings of the game, and Griffey went and got him when the game ended. The boy participated in the Reds' high-fives celebrating their 8-5 victory over Atlanta, and he then joined the players in the clubhouse.

Clubhouse manager Rick Stowe said the Reds showered the boy with bats, wristbands and autographed baseballs. Shortstop Felipe Lopez
gave him the batting helmet that he wore in this year's All-Star Game.

The players entertained the boy until his parents arrived.

"We play a game," Griffey told the Enquirer. "What he was going through doesn't compare. It was important that the little guy not be by himself."

Seattle Mariners: Right-handed reliever Jeff Nelson was activated from the bereavement list and outfielder Chris Snelling was called from Triple-A Tacoma.

Right-hander Masao Kida and outfielder Jamal Strong were optioned back to Tacoma to clear room on Seattle's roster.

Nelson remained in Seattle during the Mariners' three-game series in Detroit after the death of his father-in-law. He is 1-1 with a 2.93 ERA in 38 games for the Mariners.

Snelling joined the Mariners for the second time this season. He was with the team from July 3-26 and appeared in nine games, going 2-for-9. At Tacoma, he was hitting .370 with eight homers and 46 RBI in 65 games.

Kida pitched two innings of relief on Wednesday against Detroit, allowing one run and two hits. Strong pinch-ran in two games with Seattle.

New York Mets: Bench coach Sandy Alomar was suspended for one game and fined an undisclosed amount for being ejected from the Mets' game last Sunday.

Alomar served his suspension Friday night when the Mets played the Cubs.

Alomar was tossed in the first inning of the Mets' game against the Astros for arguing with third base umpire Rob Drake after manager Willie Randolph had given up his grievance with the umpires and returned to the dugout.

The dispute began when Morgan Ensberg of the Astros took a pitch for a ball and began heading to first base, thinking he had walked. But it was only ball three, so plate umpire Bob Davidson called time out and told him to return to the batter's box.

Lance Berkman was on first base at the time and apparently also thought it was ball four because he began slowly heading to second base with his head down. Mets catcher Ramon Castro threw the ball to second base and a rundown ensued, with Berkman getting tagged on his way back to first base.

But Berkman was allowed to stay at first because Davidson had stopped play.

Kansas City Royals: The team had a moment of silence before Friday night's game to honor the nephew of manager Buddy Bell. Lance Cpl. Tim Bell Jr. was among the 14 Marines killed by a roadside bomb Wednesday in Iraq.

"I'm doing all right," Buddy Bell said Friday before the game against the A's. "There's a lot of support there. My other nephew and two nieces are here. My brother [Timothy] is actually coming in later ... so I get to see him."

Bell is planning to attend the services, which are still pending. Tim Bell, 22, was from West Chesterfield, Ohio.

"What happens, I guess, is the Marines plan everything, so it takes a while," Bell said. "I'm going to go back for the services. I'll be gone for a couple of days at least. I just don't know when. I'm just going to play it by ear.

"There's not a whole lot you can say. This will pass. My brother and his family are doing fine, considering. I've had a tremendous amount of calls of support. It's awesome," he said.

The Royals had already scheduled Saturday as military appreciation night. They have added a 21-gun salute as a tribute to Tim Bell Jr.

Bell said managing the games are a welcome relief during his time of grief.

"I think it's good to have something to do," he said. "There are some good people around here. That makes it a lot easier."

Royals president Dan Glass said in a statement: "Situations like this put baseball in perspective. True heroes are the brave men fighting for our country. On behalf of the entire Royals family, we offer our sincerest condolences to the Bell family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Buddy, his family and all of the servicemen and women protecting our freedom."

Castillo released: The Royals released veteran catcher Alberto Castillo after Friday's 5-4 loss to the A's.

Castillo, 35, hit .210 with one home run and 14 RBI in 34 games. The Royals were 14-17 when he started, compared to 24-53 when John Buck starts.

"I've been in this position before," Castillo said. "I'm never surprised in this game. This is a business. You never know. I was happy here. I did my best. I wish I could be Superman and do better."

Castillo broke into the majors in 1985 with the Mets. He has also played for the Cardinals, Blue Jays, Yankees and Giants, mostly as a backup.

The Royals, who are in a youth movement, did not announce who will replace Castillo on the roster. It will likely be Triple-A catcher Paul Phillips, who went 1-for-5 in four games last year as a September callup.

Washington Nationals: The team activated infielder Tony Blanco off the 15-disabled list on and lost right-hander Sun-Woo Kim on waivers to the Rockies.

The Nationals also signed left-hander John Halama to a minor-league contract and reinstated infielder Henry Mateo from the disabled list and sent him outright to Double-A Harrisburg.

Halama, designated for assignment by the Red Sox on July 26, is expected to report to Triple-A New Orleans on Saturday. He eventually could be called up to be used in Kim's role as a middle or long reliever or possibly as a spot starter.

In two starts, Kim went 0-0 with a 2.79 ERA. He was 1-2 with a 7.76 ERA in 10 relief appearances; that includes allowing eight runs and 10 hits in mop-up duty during a 14-1 loss to Houston on July 22. Overall, he was 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA.

Kim's departure drops the Nationals' pitching staff to 11, with no reliever who's suited to staying in for more than one or two innings.

"It concerns me quite a bit. Nothing I can do about it," manager Frank Robinson said. "Because right now there's nobody who can save the bullpen."

Blanco, taken from the Reds in the winter meeting draft, could fill in as a spot starter at third base or in the outfield. But he's mostly going to be used as a pinch-hitter; earlier in the week, Robinson used reliever Luis Ayala as a pinch-hitter. Before being sidelined July 11 by vertigo associated with a sinus infection, Blanco hit .250 with a homer and three RBI in 39 games, including four starts.

Mateo went on the 15-day DL with right shoulder tendinitis April 15 and then moved to the 60-day DL on July 13.

The Nationals have used 47 players this season, two shy of the franchise record.