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American League team-by-team notebook -- Thursday, August 23, 2012

The SportsXchange

Baltimore: The Orioles sent out invoices to season-ticket holders for playoff tickets. The team hasn't surpassed the .500 mark since making its last playoff appearance in 1997. The Orioles rank 23rd in average attendance at 25,782. ... RHP Tommy Hunter gave up three home runs Wednesday at Texas, bringing his big-league-leading total to 32 allowed this year. He's nearing the club record of 35 homers allowed, which is shared by Robin Roberts (1963), Scott McGregor (1986), Sidney Ponson (1999) and Jeremy Guthrie (2009).

Boston: DH David Ortiz, out since July 17 due to a strained right Achilles tendon, hopes to be back in the lineup tonight when the Red Sox open a series against the Royals. Ortiz said he is 90 percent recovered. ... LHP Felix Doubront (knee) will come off the disabled list to start Sunday. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka (upper back muscle) will pitch Monday, but it's uncertain if he'll start that day for Class AAA Pawtucket (R.I.) or for Boston, manager Bobby Valentine said.

Chicago: Manager Robin Ventura said he would continue alternating Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko at first base. Konerko is 7-for-23 (.304) with three homers in a six-game hitting streak; Dunn is 3-for-17 (.176) with two homers in his past five games. ... RHP Jake Peavy, on the numerous empty seats for the series against the Yankees this week: "It's disappointing, I can tell you that. It's disappointing when you come home in late August, playing another first-place team, a team you could potentially play in the playoffs. If you have 20,000 people here, that's not something you are excited about."

Cleveland: OF Shelley Duncan struggled during the nine-game road trip that concluded Wednesday in Seattle. Duncan hit a grand slam Aug. 17 in Oakland, but he was hitless in his other 14 at-bats on the trip. He is 4-for-40 this month. ... RH closer Chris Perez has appeared just once in the Indians' last eight games, all losses, and that outing began with Cleveland trailing by seven runs. Perez's last save, his 32nd of the season, came on Aug. 13.

Detroit: 3B Miguel Cabrera left the game in the first inning due to right ankle soreness. Cabrera pulled up grimacing as he rounded first base after flying out to end the top of the first. The team announced that Cabrera was day-to-day. ... RHP Doug Fister will miss his scheduled start Saturday due to a strained right groin muscle. LHP Drew Smyly, 4-3 with a 4.42 ERA in 15 starts for the Tigers earlier this season, will be called up to pitch against the Angels. ... RH reliever Al Alburquerque was recalled from a rehab assignment, reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and optioned to Class AAA Toledo (Ohio). He is coming back from December surgery to tighten a loose bone at the tip of his right elbow.

Kansas City: LHP Bruce Chen swears he likes pitching at Fenway Park, where he will start Friday. His numbers there, however, reflect a different story. In 11 career games (five starts) at Boston, Chen is 1-3 with a 7.00 ERA. ... CF Lorenzo Cain is hitting .347 (25-for-72) with three home runs and 15 RBI in the 20 games he's played in which the Royals have won. In 22 losses, Cain is hitting .169 (13-for-77) with one home run and six RBI.

Los Angeles: 1B Albert Pujols, who left Wednesday's game with tightness in his right calf, didn't start the series finale at Boston. He underwent an MRI and said he was day-to-day. ... With his win Wednesday in Boston, RHP Jered Weaver has 98 victories and a 3.24 ERA through the first 200 games of his career. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only one active pitcher had better numbers after the first 200 games of his career. Rangers RHP Roy Oswalt had 104 wins and a 3.07 ERA through his first 200 games (with the Astros).

Minnesota: CF Denard Span was back in action for the first time since he hurt his collarbone Aug. 12. The Twins went 2-7 with the leadoff man sidelined. ... LF Josh Willingham was a late lineup scratch due to neck stiffness. ... RHP Kyle Gibson, who had Tommy John surgery last September, is scheduled to start Saturday for Class AAA Rochester (N.Y.). He compiled a 2.49 ERA in a combined 11 games (nine starts) for the Twins' rookie-level Gulf Coast League affiliate and for high-A Fort Myers (Fla.) this season.

New York: RHP Ivan Nova was placed on the disabled list with inflammation in his right rotator cuff. Nova, who felt tightness in his shoulder in the sixth inning of his Tuesday start, will be treated with medicine and rest. He won't pick up a ball for five days. ... LHP CC Sabathia will return from the DL to start Friday in Cleveland. Sabathia has been out for 15 days with inflammation in his left elbow, but he came through bullpen sessions Saturday and Tuesday without any problems.

Oakland: RHP Tyson Ross was recalled from Class AAA for his fourth major league stint of the season, and he started the series opener against Tampa Bay. Ross took the roster spot (and rotation spot) of RHP Bartolo Colon, who received a 50-game suspension Wednesday. ... By beating the Twins on Wednesday, rookie LHP Tommy Milone tied Colon for the club lead in wins with 10. Milone was 0-3 with a 7.50 ERA in his previous four starts before allowing one run on two hits in eight innings against Minnesota.

Seattle: CF Franklin Gutierrez worked out a little Wednesday for the major league training staff, then was scheduled to return to his rehab assignment with Class AAA Tacoma (Wash.). He has been out since late June due to post-concussion symptoms. ... The Mariners have won their past 11 games against AL Central teams. Today they start a road trip that features three games in Chicago against the White Sox and four games in Minnesota.

Tampa Bay: LF Desmond Jennings and 1B Carlos Pena were out of the starting lineup. Manager Joe Maddon said he intends to rest many of his regulars at some point during the weekend series against the A's. ... C Jose Lobaton hit his second career homer Wednesday, and he was treated to ice cream in the dugout by DH Luke Scott, who also served it up after Lobaton's first blast in Baltimore on July 25. "I was looking forward to the ice cream," Lobaton said.

Texas: C Mike Napoli is targeting Sept. 1 for his return from the disabled list. Napoli, out since Aug. 11 due to a left quadriceps strain, will go on a rehab assignment before rejoining the Rangers. ... RH reliever Koji Uehara had no residual soreness after his one-inning outing for Class AAA Round Rock (Texas) on Tuesday, and he'll pitch for the same team Friday. If that goes well, he will be activated Sunday. Uehara has been out since June 10 due to a strained right lat muscle.

Toronto: RF Jose Bautista (wrist) moved his rehab assignment to Class AA (Manchester) New Hampshire, where he was joined by 1B Adam Lind (back). They batted first and second, respectively. Bautista is expected to be back in the major league lineup Friday at Baltimore. Lind could rejoin the Blue Jays for the series at Yankee Stadium that opens Monday. ... 1B David Cooper sat out Thursday after aggravating an upper back injury diving back into first base Wednesday. He might be out another day or two, manager John Farrell said.
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