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Andy Behrens

Closing Time: Pedro Ks 11 in minors, Happ Ks 10 in majors

Andy Behrens
Roto Arcade

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In what may have been his final rehab start before joining the Phillies' rotation, Pedro Martinez(notes) earned a win and delivered a vintage line -- albeit against Double-A hitters, on a small stage. He threw 82 pitches over six innings, walked no one, struck out 11, and allowed three earned runs. Martinez punched out nine of the first 12 hitters he faced. He reportedly hit 93 mph on the radar gun in his final inning.

Meanwhile, back in Philadelphia, left-hander JA Happ(notes) dominated a major league opponent. He shutout Colorado, fanning a career-high 10 batters while allowing just four hits. Happ finished off the Rockies by striking out Troy Tulowitzki(notes) on a 94 mph fastball, his 127th pitch of the night. He lowered his ERA to 2.74, the sixth-best mark in the National League.

But unless the Phillies do something unexpected -- go to a six-man rotation, send Martinez or Jamie Moyer(notes) to the 'pen, hide someone on the DL -- Happ could soon find himself bounced from the starting staff.

When asked about the pileup, manager Charlie Manuel told MLB.com, "I don't feel like getting into that no more."

He'll have to, though, and someone's fantasy value will collapse. Based on 2009 performance it's tough to build any sort of reasonable case for the 46-year-old Moyer. His 5.55 ERA and 1.47 WHIP are the highest in Philadelphia's rotation. Happ would be a valuable piece of a playoff bullpen, of course, and Moyer would not. Pedro already opened the door to accepting a relief role, as the Daily News' Sam Donnellon reminds us:

"Once you get to a team and you sign a deal, you're an employee," Martinez said during his introduction to the Philadelphia media on July 20. "It's not what you say you are. It's what they say you are."

At the moment, they say he's a 37-year-old Double-A starter, although that's about to change. Someone is about to get a new role, somewhere. Happ certainly deserves to keep his. Moyer has seniority on his side and little else. But we don't feel like getting into it no more...

Here's a sentence that would have seemed absurd back in April: On Wednesday, Mike MacDougal(notes) earned his fourth save in as many days. His ERA (2.70) and WHIP (1.50) still don't seem like they can possibly belong to the same pitcher, yet they do. Nats' shortstop Cristian Guzman(notes) extended his hitting streak to 12 games, and he has multiple hits in 10 of them.

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White Sox closer Bobby Jenks(notes) is expected to remain out until Friday, due to kidney stones. The dude on Comcast said the stones have been "blasted." Sorry, game-used calculi collectors. You're out of luck.

Reliever-of-interest Jess Todd(notes) made his Indians debut, finishing off Aaron Laffey's(notes) 8-1 win over Minnesota. Todd was the PTBNL in the Mark DeRosa(notes) deal. He has 25 saves at Triple-A this season with a 2.04 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 66 Ks in 53 innings. Todd allowed one hit (Kubel, no shame) and he had one K.

The Rays' David Price(notes) has now won back-to-back starts. He limited the Red Sox to two runs in six innings -- solo shots by Jason Bay(notes) and Victor Martinez(notes) -- and he struck out five. He should get the Angels next, then the O's.

Kevin Gregg(notes) returned from tired-armedness, pitching a clean eighth inning in the Cubs loss to the Reds. Justin Lehr(notes) somehow shutout Chicago, but there's no need to go grab the 32-year-old. Few Ks, many walks, much risk. Tip your cap and move on.

This clip could very well be the most dazzling highlight on the Royals' 2009 year-end DVD. Please enjoy, cat lovers.

By his recent standards, Brian Fuentes(notes) pitched well on Wednesday. He got an inning of work against the White Sox and allowed a home run to Paul Konerko(notes), then a walk to Carlos Quentin(notes). Fuentes had failed to retire a batter in his previous two appearances, giving up six hits, six runs and two homers. He hasn't struck out a batter since July 23.

The Angels failed to pick up a bullpen arm at the deadline -- they were rumored to have an interest in both George Sherrill(notes) and Heath Bell(notes) -- so any serious help will likely come from within the organization. According to the Los Angeles Times, the team is waiting on Jose Arredondo(notes):

The right-hander who was dominant in 2008, going 10-2 with a 1.62 ERA in 52 games, has a 2.41 ERA in 17 games at Salt Lake, with 21 strikeouts and 13 walks in 18 2/3 innings, and his fastball has been consistently clocked between 92 and 94 mph.

"We're getting some encouraging reports that his stuff is coming back and he's pitching better," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I can't tell you how huge that would be if he can get into his game."

Kyle Blanks(notes) owners, someone owes us an RBI. Brutal call, Blue.

Apparently you can hit Neftali Feliz(notes), as Adam Kennedy(notes) demonstrates here. David Murphy(notes) hit a pair of homers for the Rangers in a losing cause, raising his average to .276.

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Prince Fielder(notes) didn't attack anyone on Wednesday night, but he did steal a base. Bad slide, bad throw. You'll find a heavily beeped tape of his encounter with the security guard who saved Guillermo Mota's(notes) life right here. Not much of an effort by teammates to impede Fielder in any way.

Injury time. And it's ugly: Justin Upton(notes) strained his right oblique in the Diamondbacks' 4-3 win over Pittsburgh, and MLB.com reports that "the injury certainly seemed like one that would require a stint on the disabled list." So that's a minor disaster. Video here. ... According to the Star-Telegram, "the plan is to keep [Nelson] Cruz off the DL." ... Jason Bay "re-aggravated the tweak" in his hamstring, and will likely miss "a couple of days." ... Michael Bourn(notes) is dealing with a strained groin, but he hopes to play Friday. That's not the end of the Astros' injuries, however. Wandy Rodriguez(notes) (hamstring) has improved and hopes to start Sunday, while Roy Oswalt(notes) (back) could return by Monday or Tuesday. Running did not go well for Lance Berkman(notes) (calf), so he's not expected to return from the DL when eligible. ... BJ Ryan(notes) asked for his release and it was granted. The threat has passed, Chicago. ... Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times reports that Erik Bedard(notes) "felt discomfort in his shoulder after yesterday's bullpen session" and will get an MRI on Friday. ... Finally, here's the latest on Jose Reyes' failing leg, via Adam Rubin at the New York Daily News: "The MRI showed significant scar tissue and inflammation behind the right knee, related to the hamstring tendon injury, which has caused continued pain. Reyes will remain in New York for manual physical therapy in an effort to break up the scar tissue and reduce the inflammation."

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Photos via US Presswire

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