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American League notebook -- Thursday, April 26, 2012

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Baltimore: RH closer Jim Johnson, hospitalized since Tuesday due to flu-like symptoms and a bacterial infection, hopes to go home today. Manager Buck Showalter said Johnson was still trying to keep down food. ... RHP Joel Pineiro, who signed a minor league deal with the Orioles on April 11, pitched a five-inning simulated game, according to MASNsports.com. The Web site reported that Pineiro next will join Class AAA Norfolk. Pineiro, 33, has pitched in parts of 12 big-league seasons. He went 7-7 with a 5.13 ERA in 27 games (24 starts) last year with the Angels.

Boston: LF Carl Crawford could be sidelined for three months due to a left elbow injury, the Boston Globe reported. Crawford began the season on the disabled list following arthroscopic left wrist surgery, and his rehab was slowed by the elbow ailment. ... LF Cody Ross twisted his left knee on a swing in his first at-bat Wednesday night and left the game after the top of the sixth inning when the Red Sox were leading by six runs. He didn't start Thursday, but manager Bobby Valentine said Ross could be back in the lineup Friday. ... LH reliever Rich Hill, who had Tommy John surgery last June, could be back with the Red Sox as soon as this weekend, Valentine said. Through a combined eight rehab appearances for three Boston farm teams, Hill had a 2.00 ERA with 18 strikeouts in nine innings.

Chicago: Eduardo Escobar made the roster out of spring training because of his versatility. The rookie can play all three infield spots, and he was recently declared the emergency catcher by manager Robin Ventura. "Yeah, that's double secret probation," Ventura said. "I would not like to see that, but if something happened, he'd probably have to be that guy." ... RH reliever Jesse Crain was slowed in spring training by a right side muscle strain, and lately he has been nursing a similar ailment on the left side. Crain, who last pitched April 20, was unavailable during the series at Oakland this week.

Cleveland: OF Grady Sizemore has returned to Cleveland to begin baseball-related activities as he continues his rehab from back surgery. Sizemore underwent the operation at the start of spring training, and he is not expected to be back until early June. ... RHP Josh Tomlin was knocked out by the Royals after allowing four runs on eight hits in 4 2/3 innings. It was just the second time in 41 major league starts that Tomlin failed to pitch at least five innings. "I felt great, but my command wasn't as sharp as it should be," he said.

Detroit: IF Brandon Inge, who was 2-for-20 with one homer and two RBI, was unconditionally released. "I'll have a chance to go play somewhere else, but my heart will always be in Detroit 100 percent," said Inge, who played 12 seasons with the Tigers. Brad Eldred, who was hitting .388 with 13 home runs and 35 RBI for Class AAA Toledo, was called up, and he'll get a chance to be the designated hitter. ... RH reliever Luke Putkonen's contract was purchased from Toledo, where he was 1-0 with a 1.38 ERA in six appearances. RH reliever Thad Weber, 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA over two outings for Detroit, was optioned to Class AAA.

Kansas City: LHP Danny Duffy will miss his Friday start because of tightness in his throwing elbow. He said he wanted to make his start at Minnesota, but the Royals are taking a precautionary route with the hard-throwing 23-year-old. "You don't want to baby him, but it's just crazy to push this," manager Ned Yost said. LHP Everett Teaford will make his first start of the season. ... RHP Felipe Paulino allowed three runs in four innings and struck out eight Wednesday in his first rehab start for Class AA Northwest Arkansas. Paulino, who is on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, could join the big-league pitching staff as early as next week.

Los Angeles: 1B Albert Pujols snapped the longest hitless streak of his career with a sixth-inning single. He had been in an 0-for-21 slump. It was the first time in his career Pujols had gone five consecutive games (in which he had a plate appearance) without a hit. ... OF Mike Trout was batting .419 with hits in 18 of his 19 games for Class AAA Salt Lake through Wednesday, but Angels manager Mike Scioscia said there was nothing imminent about promoting the team's top prospect. Scioscia has been rotating five outfielders -- Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Peter Bourjos, Vernon Wells and Mark Trumbo.

Minnesota: 1B Chris Parmelee, hit in the head by a pitch Wednesday, was examined by team trainers Thursday and was doing well, team spokesman Mike Herman said. Parmalee is considered day-to-day, but the Twins will continue to monitor his status. ... CF Denard Span has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games, batting .367 (22-for-60) in that span. His only hitless game in that stretch came on April 17 at Yankee Stadium, when he was ejected by plate umpire Greg Gibson for arguing balls and strikes in his second plate appearance.

New York: LHP Andy Pettitte allowed four runs (three earned) in five innings Wednesday for Class AA Trenton. Despite the news that RHP Michael Pineda will miss the season due to a shoulder injury, GM Brian Cashman said he would not rush Pettitte back to the majors. Pettitte had been expected to make at least two more minor league starts. ... RHP Phil Hughes is 1-3 with a 7.88 ERA after four starts, but the Yankees will continue pitching him every five days. "He's got to keep working at it. We've got to try to find a way to get it right," manager Joe Girardi said. Hughes said, "I feel good with the stuff that I have. It's just a matter of executing and getting outs and turning this thing around."

Oakland: CF Yoenis Cespedes is 11-for-34 (.324) with 11 RBI over his past nine games. "He's got all the tools. The more he gets comfortable here, the more you guys are going to see Cespedes just take off because his talent is unquestioned," C Kurt Suzuki said. ... LH reliever Sean Doolittle, once a top prospect as a first baseman, earned a quick promotion from high Class A Stockton to Class AA Midland. Doolittle, a pitcher and first baseman at the University of Virginia, resumed pitching last summer while rehabbing from one of several injuries that set him back the past three seasons. At Stockton, Doolittle had an 0.87 ERA while striking out 21 in 10 1/3 innings.

Seattle: LF Chone Figgins "needs to do it" if he's going to continue as the leadoff man, manager Eric Wedge said before Thursday's game. Figgins was 1-for-18 with nine strikeouts in his previous five games, but he singled in his first two at-bats and broke a 4-4 tie with an RBI double in the seventh. It was his first three-hit game since April 7. ... LH reliever Lucas Luetge hasn't allowed an earned run in his first eight big-league appearances (5 1/3 innings) after getting two outs Thursday. He is the first Mariner since RH reliever Mark Lowe in 2006 to begin with at least eight outings with a 0.00 ERA. Lowe went 13 games and 17 2/3 innings before allowing an earned run.

Tampa Bay: Manager Joe Maddon gave his players instructions for the "minimalist" themed weekend road trip to Texas. "One pair of jeans, three shirts, some socks, and those who wear underwear bring underwear. And your toiletries," he said. ... C Jose Lobaton played catch Tuesday for the first time since going on the disabled list retroactive to April 13 due to a sore right shoulder, and he felt good Wednesday. "I didn't feel anything," Lobaton said. He will remain on a limited throwing program before being re-evaluated next week.

Texas: SS Elvis Andrus has played his 51 consecutive error-free games, one shy of Alex Rodriguez's franchise record for a starting shortstop. Rodriguez's streak went 52 games from June 2002 to August 2002. Wayne Tolleson holds the franchise mark for consecutive error-free games by a shortstop, 60, but that was done over a three-year period from 1983-85 as a backup. ... LH reliever Robbie Ross leads the AL with four victories, and he is the first pitcher ever to pick up four relief victories among his first six outings. Ross has all four of the Texas bullpen's wins.

Toronto: RHP Dustin McGowan, on the disabled list all season due to plantar fasciitis in his right foot, has shut down his throwing program after developing shoulder inflammation. An MRI showed no structural damage to his shoulder. Two shoulder surgeries and one knee surgery him kept him out of the major leagues for more than three years before his return late last season. ... LHP Brett Cecil, who began the season in the minors to work on his mechanics, has landed on the disabled list at Class AA New Hampshire due to a groin injury. He was removed from his April 19 start after two-thirds of an inning, and he is 0-2 with 7.30 ERA in three Class AA starts this year.
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