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Scott Pianowski

Closing Time: Another helping of Hairston

In a stunning move, the Orioles are apparently *not* going to retire Matt Wieters's(notes) jersey before he plays in his first game Friday. That's a blog post of its own, but we can't ignore what the 30 MLB clubs do for the next two days, the end of the Before Wieters era. Let's have a look around the Wednesday sandlot action, bullet style.

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Is it time to start taking Scott Hairston(notes) seriously in mixed leagues? The Jody Gerut(notes) - Tony Gwynn(notes) Jr. deal earlier this month was made with Hairston in mind and he's finally given a chance to play every day. Hairston reminds me a little bit of Jayson Werth(notes) – a post-hype guy with some power and a little speed (far less than Werth, admittedly); a lefty killer who needs to prove he can hit right-handed pitching. There's nothing wrong with his tasty .326/.386/.530 line through 132 at-bats, and even if those numbers come down as he's exposed to more righties, we'll take the trade off and welcome a boost in the counting stats.

Hairston is also getting time in front of Adrian Gonzalez(notes) in the San Diego lineup, and that's certainly the place to be. Both players had a hand in Wednesday's win at Arizona; Hairston posted a 5-2-2-0 line (getting a little lucky on one bunt hit), and Gonzalez did his normal thing, 4-2-2-3 with his 18th homer of the year. This Padres offense is never going to be confused with the 1927 Yankees, but the Friars have found a way to win 11 of 12 ballgames and at least stay within telescope range of the Dodgers.

I grabbed Hairston for my Friends & Family ballclub tonight, partly because of the production, partly because I was looking for a story, and partly because the Junior Hairston move has worked out so well. If you happen to run into old man Hairston at the park one of these days, ask him why he didn't have more kids.

The Rays jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead on the Indians in the first inning Wednesday night but Andy Sonnanstine(notes) couldn't handle prosperity (eight runs in three innings), and Joe Nelson(notes), pressed into middle-relief work, wasn't any better (2 IP, 4 R). I trust our regular blog readers are too sharp to buy the misguided Sonnanstine hype; this bullet is more a note about Nelson asked to work as a long man here and not getting the job done. Jason Isringhausen(notes) did get his act together in two innings near the end of the game, stranding two runners and keeping the Rays at bay. That said, I can't justify rostering any of these guys in a deeper mixed league.

The Ben Zobrist(notes) Mafia can rejoice, however; the Famous Benny Z rapped out two hits, walked twice, and stole a base.

Brad Ziegler(notes) worked in the seventh inning of Wednesday's loss to the Mariners, entering the game with Oakland trailing by a run. Ziggy didn't have his best stuff – he allowed a run and threw just 8-of-20 pitches for strikes – but the issue here isn't how he pitched, it's when he was used. On the heels of Andrew Bailey's(notes) clean save Tuesday, it sure looks like Ziegler is just another option in the bullpen right now. And if you have one ticket to punch in this group, I'd go with the hard-throwing Bailey, too.

It must be nice to be Bronson Arroyo(notes), don't you think? Great hair, guitar skills, and a 7-3 record despite a messy 5.12 ERA. He stopped the Astros on five hits and one run Wednesday, but I have a feeling he's going to get knocked around by Albert Pujols(notes) and the Cardinals early next week (okay, maybe just Pujols will get him). Arroyo still allows too many fly balls, and specifically, too many fly balls that land as souvenirs (12 HR allowed).

Scott Downs(notes) took a couple of shots against Baltimore Wednesday; he not only suffered a rare blown save, but he also strained a hamstring. The Jays for now say it's nothing serious

Injury Blog: Hanley Ramirez(notes) (groin) got Wednesday off, as expected, and the Marlins don't play on Thursday. There's a chance Ramirez could return to action Friday, though Fredi Gonzalez terms that the "best-case scenario." … Melky Cabrera(notes) is down at least 5-7 days after dinging up his shoulder Tuesday; although an MRI revealed a bruise and nothing more, the Yankees have sent him back to New York for more tests. … We keep waiting on Felipe Lopez(notes) and his hamstring, still day-to-day. … Matt Harrison(notes) has a sore shoulder and won't be able to pitch this weekend. … Brett Myers(notes) dealt with a sore hip and wasn't effective against Florida, allowing five runs over 5.2 innings. … Utilityman Khalil Greene(notes) might be headed to the DL as he tries to deal with anxiety issues. … Kyle Lohse(notes) (forearm) won't make his scheduled turn Friday. … Luke Scott(notes) went 2-for-4 with a homer Wednesday, fresh of the DL. … Jorge Posada(notes) (hamstring) might be ready to play Friday.

Handshakes: Ryan Franklin(notes) worked hard for the money, getting four outs and stranding a couple of runners en route to save No. 12. … Brian Wilson(notes) (10) has been a carnival ride for much of May, but he threw strikes against the Braves Wednesday and got through it with just one hit, no runs. … Brian Fuentes(notes) (13) has eight consecutive conversions after a scoreless inning against Chicago. … Luis Vizcaino(notes) picked up a rogue save in Cleveland's five-run win, albeit his three innings of work were of high quality (3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 4 K). … Joe Nathan(notes) (8) was perfect against the Red Sox. … Heath Bell(notes) (14) got his stat from one batter and all of two pitches. … Jonathan Broxton(notes) struggled in the dreaded "inning of work" at Colorado (1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 2 K), but he's banked too much goodwill for us to panic yet. … Carlos Marmol(notes) got the win at Wrigley and Kevin Gregg(notes) pitched around two walks for the save (No. 7), but that's all sidebar to the main story – Carlos Zambrano's(notes) memorable meltdown. The story's been told better than I could; I steer you to Mr. Kaduk.

Speed Round: David Ortiz(notes) has batted in the No. 6 slot the last two days in Minnesota, going 1-for-7 with one walk and two strikeouts. J.D. Drew(notes), the replacement in the No. 3 spot, is 0-for-6 over that span with a couple of walks. … Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) is on my Friends & Family roster but I'm petrified to actually start him. He had another mixed-result start at Minnesota Wednesday (5 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K, plus four wild pitches); for all the talk that he nibbles too much, the Twins sure roped a lot of his strikes. He'll try the Tigers in Detroit next week, but I won't take the plunge. … Kris Medlen(notes) will get at least one more start, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Assuming nothing changes between now and the weekend, he'll go Sunday at Arizona. … Three more hits for Nick Johnson(notes), who's being shopped like a lot of the Nats are these days. The difference is that teams actually want Johnson; we'll see if there's a hearty market for Austin Kearns(notes) or Josh Willingham(notes).

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