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American League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, October 1, 2012

The SportsXchange

Baltimore: RF Nick Markakis hoped to have the pins removed from his surgically repaired left thumb Monday, but the procedure was pushed back until early next week. He said he's probably at least three weeks away from being able to return to action. ... RHP Jason Hammel threw a five-inning simulated game in Sarasota, Fla., putting him in line for a possible return to the rotation this weekend. Hammel has been out since Sept. 11 due to a sore right knee.

Boston: 2B Dustin Pedroia was out of the lineup with an injury manager Bobby Valentine declined to disclose, saying he didn't want to give away "secrets" to the "enemy." Pedroia also wouldn't specify his injury, but the Boston Herald and Boston Globe reported he was getting X-rays on his left ring finger. ... CF Jacoby Ellsbury, back two games after missing six with an undisclosed injury, didn't start. Valentine said he sat the left-handed hitter because Yankees LHP CC Sabathia was on the mound.

Chicago: CF Alejandro De Aza missed a third consecutive start, shelved due to flu-like symptoms. Dewayne Wise again started in center field. ... 1B/DH Paul Konerko said just before spring training that even if the White Sox didn't make the playoffs in 2012, the season could be a success. He's standing behind that statement. "There are things that went on this year that just can't be denied as far as positives," Konerko said.

Cleveland: RF Shin-Soo Choo was one of just two major league players with at least 40 doubles, 15 home runs, 20 stolen bases and 60 RBI through Sunday. The other was Texas 2B Ian Kinsler. The only other players in Indians history besides Choo to reach those plateaus in a single season are 2B Roberto Alomar (1999 and 2000) and CF Grady Sizemore (2006). ... RHP Justin Masterson, who makes his final start of the season Tuesday, is 4-7 with a 6.85 ERA in 12 starts since July 28. He is 0-3 with a 6.55 ERA in his past four starts.

Detroit: 1B Prince Fielder doesn't mind being overshadowed by 3B Miguel Cabrera. "This is his team," Fielder said after hitting a game-winning, home run Sunday to reach 30 homers for the sixth consecutive season. "I'm here to help him." ... A late-season slump might affect the Tigers' decision about the $6 million option on SS Jhonny Peralta's contract for 2013. Peralta had hit .139 (5-for-36) with two RBI in his past 10 games through Sunday.

Kansas City: 1B Eric Hosmer did not start the series opener against the Tigers after having his right shoulder re-examined. A MRI over the weekend detected a small rotator cuff tear. Hosmer has not played since Thursday, when he hurt the shoulder diving for a ball in Detroit. ... SS Alcides Escobar, who sat out the weekend series at Cleveland with a bruised shoulder, returned to the lineup. Also, 3B Mike Moustakas, who left Sunday's game with a slight groin strain, was back in the lineup.

Los Angeles: RF Torii Hunter is nearly certain to finish with a .300-plus average for the first time in his career. At age 37, Hunter would be the oldest player since Baltimore's Bob Boyd in 1957 to have his first .300 season. Boyd was a veteran of the Negro Leagues. ... SS Erick Aybar was out of the starting lineup due to a right quadriceps injury. He was hurt during the second game of Sunday's doubleheader at Texas.

Minnesota: LF Josh Willingham, out since Sept. 24 because of a shoulder sprain, remains doubtful to play in any of the remaining games. "He's better, but he's not good enough to put out there," GM Terry Ryan said. ... With RHP Samuel Deduno unavailable due to left eye inflammation, RHP Anthony Swarzak will start Tuesday at Toronto. In four starts earlier this season, Swarzak went 0-4 with an 8.35 ERA.

New York: RHP David Phelps will start Tuesday's game against the Red Sox in place of RHP Ivan Nova, who had two poor outings in his last two starts. Phelps is 2-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 10 starts this season, averaging more than five innings in those outings. ... 1B Mark Teixeira returned to the lineup for the first time since Sept. 8, having missed the past 20 games with a strained left calf. Teixeira worked out for the past week in Tampa, taking at-bats in two intrasquad games and a simulated game.

Oakland: LHP Brett Anderson threw off a mound, a key step in his recovery from a side muscle strain that has kept him out since Sept. 19. He hopes to available to start Friday in the postseason. ... LH reliever Sean Doolittle worked a scoreless inning Sunday, striking out one. That gave the rookie, who converted from first base to pitcher last fall, 57 strikeouts in 44 1/3 innings. He had walked just 10.

Seattle: CF Franklin Gutierrez did not start the series opener against the Angels due to a groin injury. He was hurt during Sunday's game in Oakland and left in the third inning. ... 2B Dustin Ackley got Sunday's start off, but he was back in the lineup Monday. "I've been so proud of the way he's been able to come out and play here every day and fight through his first full big-league season," manager Eric Wedge said. "He's been much more consistent in the second half, although it doesn't always show in his numbers."

Tampa Bay: RH closer Fernando Rodney worked a scoreless inning Sunday, lowering his ERA to 0.6136. That exactly matched Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley's 1990 mark for the lowest by a reliever (minimum 50 innings) in major league history. ... C Jose Molina came on to play defense in the ninth inning Sunday, his first action since leaving the Set. 25 game with a right quad strain. Since Molina got hurt, Jose Lobaton and Chris Gimenez have each started three games behind the plate.

Texas: Adrian Beltre, who aggravated his strained left shoulder and had to leave the second game of Sunday's doubleheader, was back in the lineup Monday as the designated hitter. Michael Young, who exited Sunday's nightcap due to a left Achilles tendon injury, started Monday at third base. ... The Rangers' final regular-season home attendance was 3.46 million, an average of 42,720. Both figures are franchise records.

Toronto: DH/1B Edwin Encarnacion was not in the starting lineup for the series opener against Minnesota. He came out of Sunday's game in the seventh inning with tightness in his left upper trapezius muscle. ... RHP Carlos Villanueva will not make his scheduled start Tuesday. Rookie RHP Chad Jenkins will face the Twins. Over his final two starts, Villanueva allowed 13 runs in seven innings. "Obviously, it's not the way I wanted to finish," he said.
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