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American League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, August 13, 2012

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Baltimore: LH reliever J.C. Romero is back with the Orioles organization after he was acquired from the Indians organization in exchange for minor league IF Carlos Rojas. After he was released by the Cardinals in May, Romero spent time with Baltimore's Class AAA Norfolk (Va.) affiliate but opted out of his minor league deal when he wasn't called up last month. He'll join the major league bullpen Tuesday. ... IF/OF Ryan Flaherty is scheduled to begin a rehab assignment this week with Class AAA Norfolk (Va.). He went on the disabled list last week due to a bacterial infection.

Boston: RH reliever Andrew Bailey will come off the disabled list before Tuesday's game, according to the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. Bailey, out since having right thumb surgery at the end of spring training, made six rehab appearances for three Red Sox farm teams, allowing one run while striking out 10 in 6 1/3 innings. ... RH reliever Clayton Mortensen got a rare chance to bat in the ninth inning Sunday with the Red Sox leading by 13 runs. Mortensen struck out in the first non-interleague at-bat for a Red Sox pitcher since Hipolito Pichardo struck out at Seattle on July 31, 2000.

Chicago: 1B/DH Paul Konerko, on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion he sustained last week, was cleared to resume physical activities Tuesday. "He's progressing. It just has to run its course," manager Robin Ventura said. ... Tyler Flowers was behind the plate with Adam Dunn playing first base and regular C A.J. Pierzynski serving as the DH. "You're rolling the dice a little bit," said Ventura, who won't have a third catcher until rosters expand next month.

Cleveland: When the team headed to Anaheim, RHP Josh Tomlin stayed behind to have his right elbow examined by team doctors. Tomlin said his elbow has been bothering him on and off all season. After going 12-7 with a 4.25 ERA last year, Tomlin is 5-8 with a 6.36 ERA this year, and he was recently moved from the rotation to the bullpen. ... 2B Jason Kipnis missed his fifth consecutive start due to a stiff neck. In his previous three games, Kipnis had scored five runs despite going 1-for-8.

Detroit: RH reliever Brayan Villarreal was scheduled to have his right elbow checked after he told pitching coach Jeff Jones it felt weak in the middle of his Sunday appearance. Villarreal was wild in his Saturday and Sunday outings. "He's gotten out of kilter right now for some reason," manager Jim Leyland said. ... With 55 strikeouts through the weekend, 1B Prince Fielder was on pace to fan 77 times this season. His career low for a full season is the 106 strikeouts he had last year.

Kansas City: The Royals open a six-game homestand Tuesday, but that might not be good news. Through the weekend, Kansas City had the worst home record in the AL (21-32). "We can be successful at home, too. We just have to play better, and we're playing pretty good now," manager Ned Yost said. ... Left-hander Tim Collins led AL relievers with 74 strikeouts through Sunday. He was averaging 11.68 strikeouts per nine innings, which ranked second among AL pitchers (minimum 40 innings). RH reliever Greg Holland was first at 12.02 K's per nine innings.

Los Angeles: 1B Albert Pujols went 1-for-23 as the Angels lost series to the A's and Mariners last week. Through the weekend, Pujols had batted .345 with a .415 on-base percentage, a .655 slugging percentage, 18 home runs and 57 RBI in Angels wins, but just .204/.258/.356 with six home runs and 19 RBI in losses. ... LH reliever Scott Downs threw off a mound before Sunday's game, his first bullpen session since going on the disabled list two weeks ago with a shoulder strain. He will have to repeat the throwing session at least a few more times but likely will not go on a rehab assignment before returning.

Minnesota: 3B Trevor Plouffe, who had been out since July 21 due to a sore right thumb, came off the disabled list and immediately rejoined the starting lineup. 2B Tsuyoshi Nishioka was optioned to Class AAA Rochester (N.Y.) after a miserable three-game stint with the Twins. He went 0-for-12 and committed three errors. ... RH closer Matt Capps (right rotator cuff irritation) is hoping to begin a throwing program Wednesday. "Barring something drastic or something new, I've got full intentions of pitching in September," he said.

New York: RH closer Mariano Rivera threw off flat ground, making progress in his rehab from a torn ACL in his right knee. However, manager Joe Girardi said he was 99.9 percent sure Rivera would not make it back this year. ... RHP Derek Lowe, who signed with the Yankees after he was released by the Indians, joined his new team. He is expected to pitch in long relief. Lowe went 8-10 with a 5.52 ERA in 21 starts for the Indians. He takes the roster spot of RH reliever Ryota Igarashi, who was optioned to Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre (Moosic, Pa.) after a one-day stay in the majors.

Oakland: 3B/C Josh Donaldson was held out of Sunday's game with Class AAA Sacramento (West Sacramento, Calif.) as a precaution in the event he's needed at the big-league level, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Donaldson opened the season as Oakland's third baseman. Current 3B Brandon Inge returned to Oakland on Monday for an MRI on his injured right shoulder. ... RHP Brandon McCarthy, who came off the disabled list to start Friday, will pitch again Wednesday. Manager Bob Melvin said the team wants to keep routine-oriented McCarthy on track, which means seven days between starts for rookie RHP Dan Straily, now pushed back to Thursday.

Seattle: 1B Mike Carp, removed from Sunday's game in the sixth inning due to discomfort in his left hip, was out of the lineup for the opener against the Rays. Chone Figgins entered the lineup at third base, with Kyle Seager going from third to second and Dustin Ackley moving from second to first. ... C Miguel Olivo has been losing playing time to John Jaso and Jesus Montero, but Olivo has been hitting when given the chance. In seven starts since July 26, he's 9-for-29 (.310).

Tampa Bay: DH Evan Longoria, who had started six games (all wins) in six days after coming off the disabled list, was held out of the starting lineup for the opener at Seattle. Longoria had gone 6-for-23 (.261) with four RBI since returning from a hamstring injury. ... IF/OF Ben Zobrist started at shortstop for the fourth time in five games. Manager Joe Maddon praised Zobrist repeatedly for how he handled the position, which Zobrist hadn't played since 2009 before he started there Thursday.

Texas: C Geovany Soto will start most of the time with Mike Napoli on the disabled list, but Luis Martinez will start Tuesday and get some playing time, according to manager Ron Washington. LHP Matt Harrison is Tuesday's starter, and he pitched to Martinez during spring training, Washington said. ... IF/DH Michael Young took some grounders at shortstop before the game, and Washington said he could use Young there sometime this weekend at Toronto to give SS Elvis Andrus a game as the designated hitter. Young played shortstop at Boston on Aug. 6, his second appearance at the position since 2008.

Toronto: SS Yunel Escobar was back in the starting lineup for the series opener against the White Sox. He didn't play Sunday against the Yankees due to a sore left elbow after being hit by pitches twice Saturday. ... RHP Brandon Morrow (strained left side muscle) is scheduled to make his fourth rehab start tonight, when he will pitch for Class AA (Manchester) New Hampshire. Manager John Farrell said Morrow is likely to make one more minor league start after tonight before rejoining the major league rotation.
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