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American League team-by-team notebook -- Thursday, August 16, 2012

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Baltimore: IF Wilson Betemit (right wrist) was placed on the disabled list, and 1B Joe Mahoney was called up from Class AAA Norfolk (Va.), where he was hitting .263 with nine homers and 53 RBI. Betemit lost the third base job when top prospect Manny Machado was called up last week. ... LHP Brian Matusz will begin pitching out of the bullpen at Norfolk. The Orioles hope to have Matusz back in Baltimore as a reliever when rosters expand next month. Matusz is open to the idea, manager Buck Showalter said. Matusz has made 68 appearances in the majors, all as a starter.

Boston: President Larry Lucchino said in a radio interview that manager Bobby Valentine will finish the season as the team's manager. Lucchino claimed the Yahoo Sports report that a coup attempt by the players -- in the form of a July meeting with Red Sox management -- was "exaggerated and inaccurate." ... RH reliever Pedro Beato was acquired from the Mets to complete the trade that sent C Kelly Shoppach to New York on Tuesday. Beato was optioned to Class AAA Pawtucket (R.I.), and RH reliever Scott Atchison was moved from the 15-day to 60-day disabled list to create room on the 40-man roster.

Chicago: 1B Paul Konerko (concussion) is on schedule to come off the disabled list and return to the lineup tonight. Konerko, who has been working out at an indoor facility in Chicago, will likely be used as the DH initially. ... RH reliever Brian Bruney underwent season-ending surgery to repair the labrum in his left hip. He has been on the disabled list since June 29.

Cleveland: The Indians have 70 home runs from left-handed hitters, the most in the major leagues through Wednesday. OF Shin-Soo Choo, a left-handed hitter, leads the Indians with 14. ... RH closer Chris Perez has 32 saves this year, bringing his total as a member of the Indians to 92. That ranks fifth on the club's all-time list, two behind Mike Jackson (94). The Indians' leader in career saves is Bob Wickman with 139.

Detroit: RHP Justin Verlander can retake the major league strikeout lead tonight. Verlander has 174 strikeouts this season but was passed by teammate Max Scherzer, who fanned 10 Wednesday to boost his total to 178. ... RH reliever Al Alburquerque appears to be getting closer to returning. Alburquerque, who had surgery to stabilize the tip of his right elbow last December, struck out five in 2 2/3 scoreless innings Wednesday night on a rehab assignment with Class AAA Toledo (Ohio). That reduced his ERA to 3.18 in 5 2/3 innings.

Kansas City: LF Alex Gordon, who had hit .334 with a .398 on-base percentage since returning to the leadoff spot on May 27, was moved to the third slot. He will likely bat third the rest of the season. "We felt the time was right to go ahead and put Alex in that spot and ride it out for the remainder of the year," manager Ned Yost said. ... SS Alcides Escobar swiped two bases Wednesday, bringing his season total to 22. It was his fourth career game with multiple steals. His previous one was July 29 at Seattle.

Los Angeles: Tuesday and Wednesday were the first time since July 6-7 that the Angels had starters go seven or more innings in back-to-back games. It was actually the fourth consecutive game in which the Angels starter pitched into the seventh inning. Angels starters had done that just 14 times in the previous 39 games. ... OF Mike Trout was leading the AL through Wednesday in batting (.340) and stolen bases (38). Only two players in the last 63 years have led a league in both of those categories as rookies -- Jackie Robinson in 1949 (.342, 37) and Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 (.350, 56).

Minnesota: C Joe Mauer told the St. Paul Pioneer Press he is frustrated with the team's record, saying he signed an eight-year, $184 million contract in March 2010 because he thought the team could win the way it did in the 2000s. "I signed here to win and obviously to play for my hometown team," he said. "I wouldn't have signed here if I didn't think we could win." ... 1B Justin Morneau is hitting .364 with three homers and 11 RBI in August and has a .419 on-base percentage. After missing much of 2011 because of injuries, he is hitting .276 with 16 homers and 58 RBI for the year.

New York: 2B Robinson Cano (stiff neck) did not start for the second straight game, but he pinch-hit in the eighth inning and walked, then played the field for the final inning. He is expected back in the lineup tonight. ... RF Nick Swisher has had at least one run scored and one RBI in each of his last five games, a career high. It's the longest such streak by a Yankee since 3B Alex Rodriguez had a six-game stretch Aug. 30-Sept. 4, 2008. Over his last 10 games, Swisher is hitting .326 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

Oakland: OF Josh Reddick was back in the lineup after missing the previous night's game because of complications from a tooth extraction performed Monday. Reddick said he will need an implant this offseason, but in the meantime, he won't wear the mouthguard that has become a signature for him this season. He was the DH so he could continue to ice his mouth between at-bats. ... OF Yoenis Cespedes had gone 14 games without an extra-base hit through Wednesday. The team's record with him in the lineup was 49-33. Without him, it was 12-33.

Seattle: CF Michael Saunders has just two hits in his last 42 at-bats since Aug. 2. At that point Saunders was hitting .260. He's down to .237. ... RH reliever Stephen Pryor gave up a run in his first big-league appearance but hasn't given up a run since. In 9 1/3 innings, he has allowed seven hits, struck out 13 and walked only three. As a result, he's getting better opportunities.

Tampa Bay: The Rays could only praise the performance by Mariners RHP Felix Hernandez in his perfect game Wednesday. "Sometimes you've got to tip your cap," DH Evan Longoria said. "As hitters we don't say that very often, but he was pretty good." ... RHP Jeff Niemann is scheduled to move up to Class AAA Durham (N.C.) after coming through his rehab start with high-A Charlotte (Port Charlotte, Fla.) with no trouble. With two Class AAA starts, Niemann should be set for a late August return from his mid-May broken leg.

Texas: 2B Ian Kinsler and RF Nelson Cruz both were out of the lineup, but merely to rest them. Cruz came in late as a pinch hitter and stayed in the game on defense. Kinsler has not had a three-game stretch this season in which he has failed to reach base. ... RH reliever Koji Uehara is scheduled to throw 30 pitches on Saturday at Class AA Frisco (Texas). If that goes well, he'll start a rehab assignment on Tuesday geared toward getting him ready to rejoin the club on Aug. 26.

Toronto: RF Jose Bautista (left wrist) is progressing quickly after he resumed hitting drills this week following a three-day break. The next step is to take live batting practice on the field Saturday and Sunday and possibly begin a rehab assignment Monday. ... 3B Brett Lawrie (strained right side) could begin a rehab assignment this weekend. If that goes well, he could rejoin the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
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