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American League notebook -- Monday, July 2, 2012

The SportsXchange

Baltimore: LHP Dontrelle Willis, who was pitching for Class AAA Norfolk (Va.), has retired, the Orioles announced. Willis, 30, was the 2003 National League Rookie of the Year for the Marlins. His career went downhill after he was traded to the Tigers in December 2007. He was 0-3 with an 8.53 ERA in four games (one start) for Norfolk this year. ... RHP Steve Johnson, a 24-year-old Baltimore native, was recalled from Norfolk, where he was 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA in 14 games (nine starts). The son of former Orioles RHP Dave Johnson, Steve Johnson will pitch out of the bullpen.

Boston: CF Jacoby Ellsbury (partial right shoulder dislocation) homered Monday on his rehab assignment with the Red Sox's rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate. Through three rehab games, he is 2-for-6 with four walks and two strikeouts. He is likely to move up to Class AA Portland (Maine) this week. ... LF Carl Crawford (left wrist surgery, left elbow strain) made the move from the GCL to Portland. He went 3-for-14 (.214) with five walks in four strikeouts in five rookie-level rehab games. Both Ellsbury and Crawford might be ready to be activated after the All-Star break.

Chicago: LHP Chris Sale is scheduled to start Tuesday against Texas and then Sunday against Toronto. The latter assignment would prevent him from pitching for the AL All-Star team. ... RH reliever Jesse Crain is scheduled to throw bullpen session Tuesday to test his tight right shoulder. He hasn't pitched since June 23, and if Tuesday's workout doesn't go well, he could go on the disabled list.

Cleveland: DH Travis Hafner (right knee surgery) was expected to be activated off the disabled list, but instead he spent another day on a rehab assignment with Columbus (Ohio), which was rained out Sunday. He was 1-for-6 through two games for the Class AAA club. Manager Manny Acta said he expects Hafner to be activated sometime this week. ... C Lou Marson, who has been getting increased playing time, has found his stroke. In his past 17 starts, he has hit .389 (21-for-54), raising his average from .100 to .286.

Detroit: Rookie OF Quintin Berry said he got back to his Perrysburg, Ohio, apartment at 11:30 p.m. Sunday, woke up at 9 a.m. and began helping his wife move their stuff to an apartment the Tigers helped him find in Troy, Mich. Berry had been commuting to Comerica Park when the Tigers were at home. ... 3B Miguel Cabrera is the first Tiger to twice reach 100 hits, 15 home runs and 60 RBI prior to the All-Star break. He also did so in 2000. The others to accomplish the feat: Hank Greenberg (1935), Al Kaline (1955), Norm Cash (1961), Willie Horton (1970) and Magglio Ordonez (2006).

Kansas City: RHP Vin Mazzaro is scheduled to make a spot start Tuesday in Toronto. Mazzaro, on seven days' rest, threw 25 pitches in 2 1/3 scoreless innings Saturday at Minnesota. Manager Ned Yost called it "a little polish-up" for Mazzaro. ... Pitching coach Dave Eiland likely will rejoin the Royals on Tuesday. Eiland left the club Saturday to be with mother, June, who died Sunday.

Los Angeles: OF Mike Trout was scratched from the lineup due to a jammed right pinkie finger. Trout was hurt on a slide into second base on a first-inning double Sunday. He played the rest of the game -- and hit a home run. He took batting practice Monday but was still having difficulty gripping a bat. The injury is not considered serious. ... RHP Jerome Williams (breathing difficulties) did not fare well Sunday in his first rehab start for Class AAA Salt Lake (Salt Lake City). He allowed six runs (five earned) in two-plus innings. He was knocked out of the game after taking a line drive off his right arm in third inning.

Minnesota: RH closer Matt Capps is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week with high-A Fort Myers (Fla.), which would put him in line to return after the All-Star break. Capps has been out since June 24 due to right shoulder inflammation. ... RHP P.J. Walters gave up three runs on five hits in four innings Sunday during a rehab start for Class AAA Rochester (N.Y.). He is expected to pitch for the same team Friday. He's been on the disabled list since June 14 because of right shoulder inflammation.

New York: RH reliever Cory Wade, who had allowed 13 runs on 17 hits in 5 1/3 innings over his past six appearances, was optioned to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Moosic, Pa.). The slump elevated Wade's ERA from 2.63 to 5.79. The move cleared a roster spot for the arrival of RH reliever Chad Qualls, acquired Sunday from the Phillies for a player to be named or cash. ... RH closer Mariano Rivera, who underwent surgery June 12 to repair a torn ACL, attended Old-Timers' Day festivities Sunday and reiterated that he plans to pitch again next season -- for the Yankees, not the Old-Timers.

Oakland: Manager Bob Melvin, on whether Yoenis Cespedes could return to center field with Coco Crisp moving to left: "I don't even want to go down that road. This is where we are right now." Cespedes served as the designed hitter Monday. ... 1B Brandon Moss hit eight homers in his first 21 games with the A's. Only Dave Kingman had more homers (10) in his first 21 games with Oakland. Moss homered seven times in his first 13 games, and Sunday's homer was his first in eight games. Of Moss' first 16 hits, 11 went for extra bases.

Seattle: C Mike Zunino, the third overall pick in last month's draft, was in Seattle and was getting close to finalizing a deal with the Mariners, according to the Seattle Times. Last week, Zunino won the Johnny Bench Award as the nation's top collegiate catcher. He led the University of Florida this season with a .322 average, 19 homers and 67 RBI. ... RHP Kevin Millwood, who came out of his last start with a reoccurrence of his groin pain from early June, missed his Monday start. He should, however, be ready to pitch Friday in Oakland.

Tampa Bay: RHP Jeremy Hellickson (bruised right shin) was encouraged by a Monday bullpen session, and he plans to make his scheduled Thursday start at Cleveland. Hellickson spent 15 days on the disabled list due to right shoulder fatigue. He returned to the rotation Saturday but left in the third inning after being hit by a line drive. ... OF Matt Joyce (side muscle strain) and OF Sam Fuld (right wrist surgery) might start rehab assignments this week, manager Joe Maddon said. According to Maddon, Joyce might be able to return this weekend, while Fuld probably is three weeks from returning.

Texas: TV broadcaster Dave Barnett is taking an indefinite leave of absence, he said in a statement released by the team. He has been off Rangers telecasts since the June 18 game, when he briefly launched into an nonsensical description that he said might have been caused by a migraine headache. ... 1B/C Mike Napoli has struck out in 12 consecutive games, fanning 21 times in 48 plate appearances during that span. Nine of the strikeouts came with runners in scoring position. He's 0-for-13 with men in scoring position the past two weeks.

Toronto: RHP Brandon Morrow, who came out of his June 11 start with a strained left side muscle, is gradually coming back. "He's in a throwing program, but there is a loose framework to it because the main goal is just to keep his arm moving," manager John Farrell said. ... LHP Aaron Laffey has no decisions and a 1.50 ERA over two starts, June 26 at Boston and Sunday against the Angels. "Just keeping the ball down for the most part," he said. "I'm in a pretty good groove now."
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