Some of us just recently got back from Wrigley, where everyone is still waiting for Milton Bradley's(notes) home run to land. (Seriously, look at this thing. That's a bomb. You won't see many balls hit there). It's possible that I'm taking the hill tonight without my best stuff. But I've got guile. And grit – lots of grit. And bullets …
• Texas closer Frank Francisco(notes) has been almost perfect so far this year, allowing just seven hits and no runs in 14.2 innings. He has nine saves with 13 Ks and a 0.75 WHIP. But he also hasn't pitched since May 6 and he's expected to miss the Seattle series due to "biceps tendinitis."
Francisco had an MRI, and he doesn't sound overly concerned at the moment:
"There's no pain," Francisco said. "My arm was just really sore for a couple of days. They gave me an extra couple of days to rest."
According to MLB.com this isn't necessarily a DL situation, but...
"We can't rule it out," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said of the disabled list. "But right now, we're going day-to-day and see how Frankie progresses."
• The Washington Nationals now have 10 wins, five saves, and 10 blown saves. Lefty Joe Beimel(notes) got the closing assignment on Tuesday, retired the first two hitters he faced, and then … well, he succumbed to the fate of so many other Nats relivers. The game ended when Beimel served up a three-run walk-off homer to Pablo Sandoval(notes). (Video here. Note the announcer's comment: "He can't take anything close now, it's 2-and-2." As if Sandoval is ever thinking "take.") The 55 percent owned Joel Hanrahan(notes) could soon reclaim the ninth inning in Washington, not that he'll have earned it.
• Brad Lidge(notes) picked up a messy save against the Dodgers, allowing three hits and an earned run in the ninth. He hasn't worked a clean frame since April 11, and he's allowed at least one run in his last four appearances. Lidge has been dealing with knee inflammation and his velocity is not quite where it's been in the past (93.0 mph average fastball). Still, he just told the Philadelphia Daily News that he's feeling much better.
"No one wants to give up runs or whatever, but I actually do feel really good right now, probably the best I've felt this year even before my knee was bothering me," Lidge said.
Here's Charlie Manuel:
"[Lidge] needs work. He's not sharp yet. His command is not real good. His stuff is just now starting to get back where it should be."
• No suspension for Bobby Jenks(notes), just a fine. But that doesn't mean he's any less insane. Rangers manager Ron Washington had it right when he said, "Take care of business, but don't talk about it."
• George Sherrill(notes) earned his sixth non-blown save of the year, pitching a hitless (though not walkless) ninth inning, and facing the heart of the Rays order. That's four straight scoreless frames for Sherrill. All he needed was the vote of no-confidence from his manager.
• Let's start with the good news regarding Matt LaPorta(notes): He got a start at first base against White Sox left-hander Clayton Richard(notes), and he went 1-for-3 with a run scored. There's a push to get him a few more plate appearances:
LaPorta's absence from the lineup the last four games has drawn the ire of fans itching to get a good look at the Tribe's top prospect, who was promoted to the big leagues on May 2 and has notched just 13 at-bats since.
In addition to being available in the corner outfield, LaPorta has been taking grounders at first base.
"We're trying to give him regular work over there," Wedge said. "I just want it to be an option for us. We can still DH [Ryan] Garko or throw Garko in the outfield."
Here's the bad news: LaPorta grounded into a double play in the fifth inning and committed an error in the seventh, leading to an unearned run. Lefty Mark Buehrle(notes) starts for Chicago on Wednesday, though, so look for LaPorta in the lineup again. Travis Hafner's(notes) rehab assignment could begin Friday, so the clock is ticking.
• Matt Capps(notes) (elbow) made his first appearance since May 4, and he quickly loaded the bases in a non-save situation in the ninth. He gave up a single to Colby Rasmus(notes), then a pair of walks. But Capps followed up that nonsense by striking out Tyler Greene(notes) and Jason LaRue(notes), then coaxing a fly-out from Shane Robinson(notes).
• The safest play in fantasy sports is to start Ubaldo Jimenez(notes) on nights that I'm responsible for this column. We said it last time, and we're saying it again. Jimenez beat the Astros tonight, allowing just one run and striking out four over seven innings. He throws a million miles an hour and he clearly impressed Lance Berkman(notes):
“I don’t think people realize the movement [Jimenez] has,” said Berkman, who returned to the lineup Tuesday after missing three games with a sore left wrist. “It makes it tough when you’re facing a guy like that. I know his ERA isn’t great, but he’s the kind of guy that can absolutely dominate and he did tonight.”
• As Scott mentioned earlier today, BJ Ryan(notes) will return soon, but not as the Jays' closer. That's maybe not a huge surprise, since Ryan's DL stay was basically a demotion disguised as an injury.
• Joey Votto(notes) has battled the flu lately, and he left tonight's game in Arizona due to dizziness. "I think it was the dry heat," said Brandon Phillips(notes).
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