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American League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, Aug. 6, 2012

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Baltimore: DH Jim Thome, sidelined due to a herniated neck disk, is aiming for a mid-September return to action. Thome, who received an epidural injection last week, said he would be unable to participate in baseball activities for 30 days. ... Nate McLouth became the 11th player to start in left field for the Orioles when he manned the position last weekend. He followed Xavier Avery, Endy Chavez, Steve Pearce, Nolan Reimold, Chris Davis, Steve Tolleson, Ryan Flaherty, Lew Ford, Bill Hall and Wilson Betemit.

Boston: Team owner John Henry gave manager Bobby Valentine a vote of confidence in an e-mail to beat writers. "To blame Bobby Valentine for the Red Sox being .500 at this point in the season is simply wrong. A lot has been written about injuries to key players this year. The impact of that on the Sox this year should not be discounted," Henry wrote. ... RH closer Andrew Bailey, who gave up one run in one rehab inning Sunday for Class AA Portland (Maine), will pitch Wednesday and Thursday for Class AAA Pawtucket (R.I.). Bailey, out since having right thumb surgery this spring, might be able to return in mid-August.

Chicago: LHP Francisco Liriano was forced to leave Sunday's game following the fifth inning, shortly after a grounder struck his right leg, and he was still sore Monday. Manager Robin Ventura said the rotation is not set beyond the Kansas City series, so the date of Liriano's next start is uncertain. ... LHP John Danks underwent left shoulder surgery, and he is expected to be ready for the start of spring training. Danks, who last pitched May 19, finishes the year 3-4 with a 5.70 ERA in nine starts.

Cleveland: DH Travis Hafner was not in the starting lineup due to lower back soreness. The same ailment kept him out Saturday before he went 3-for-5 with a homer Sunday. "It's a day or two thing," manager Manny Acta said. ... The Indians claimed RHP Fabio Martinez off outright waivers from the Angels and optioned him to high-A Carolina (Zebulon, N.C.). Martinez, 22, missed almost all of last season with arm problems. He was 0-5 with a 10.72 ERA in eight starts this season for high-A Inland Empire (San Bernardino, Calif.).

Detroit: IF Danny Worth, recalled from Class AAA Toledo (Ohio) for the fifth time Sunday, was optioned back for a fifth time after the game. The move cleared a roster spot for the arrival of IF/OF Jeff Baker, acquired from the Cubs on Sunday for two players to be named. ... C Gerald Laird put the Tigers in a precarious position when he was ejected from Sunday's game. C Alex Avila entered in the third inning, but the team was without an emergency third catcher, as UT Don Kelly, was designated for assignment Friday and his predecessor, UT Ryan Raburn, was placed on the disabled list Sunday.

Kansas City: LH reliever Francisley Bueno was recalled from Class AAA to fill the bullpen spot of LH reliever Jose Mijares, who was traded to the Giants. In 35 games for Omaha (Papillion, Neb.), Bueno was 1-4 with six saves and a 2.75 ERA. In two stints earlier this season with Kansas City, Bueno had a 3.86 ERA in three appearances. ... 3B Tony Abreu got the start in his first major league game since he played for Arizona in 2010. Abreu arrived as the Pacific Coast League player of the week, having hit .458 with two home runs and 12 RBI in six games for Omaha last week.

Los Angeles: IF Andrew Romine was optioned to Class AAA Salt Lake (Salt Lake City) to clear a roster spot for SS Erick Aybar, who came off the disabled list and rejoined the starting lineup. Aybar was out the minimum 15 days with a fractured big right toe. Romine went 0-for-6 in his latest call-up. ... IF Macier Izturis did well while filling in for Aybar. In his past eight games (seven starts) through the weekend, Izturis hit .382 (13-for-34).

Minnesota: IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka, a bust in his first major league season in 2011, is getting a second chance. He was recalled from Rochester (N.Y.) for his first big-league game since Sept. 9. Nishioka, who hit .245 in 84 games in Class AAA this season, will play second base, according to manager Ron Gardenhire. ... RHP Cole De Vries (2-2, 3.81 ERA in 10 starts) knows he is pitching to impress the Twins and others. "I would love to be a Minnesota Twin for the rest of my career, but if that doesn't work, it's also audition time for every other team," he said.

New York: CF Curtis Granderson was back in the leadoff spot for the fourth consecutive game. Manager Joe Girardi said Granderson's .349 on-base percentage against right-handers -- which ranked third on the team behind 2B Robinson Cano and 3B Eric Chavez -- was the primary reason for the new wrinkle in the lineup. ... Ichiro Suzuki had started eight games in right field and four in left field for the Yankees before serving as the designated hitter Monday. "We're in the midst of 20 (games) in a row," Girardi said.

Oakland: OF Yoenis Cespedes missed a game with sprained right wrist Saturday, played Sunday, then was not in the lineup Monday for the series opener against the Angels. Through the weekend, the A's were 46-29 with Cespedes in the lineup, 12-21 without him. ... RH closer Ryan Cook had blown four of his past five save opportunities through Sunday, and manager Bob Melvin said the team was monitoring the closer spot. Melvin said the A's like to support younger players, but "hypothetically," if a young player were struggling, a brief change might be in order.

Seattle: 1B Mike Carp was in the starting lineup after arriving in Baltimore shortly before game time. He had left the team after Saturday's game for the birth of his daughter in California. ... RHP Erasmo Ramirez was activated from the disabled list and optioned to Class AAA Tacoma (Wash.), where he had been rehabbing. He had been out since July 1 due to a right elbow flexor strain. "He's got to earn his way back up here, it's as simple as that," manager Eric Wedge said. "Our starting pitching up here has been pretty good."

Tampa Bay: IF Will Rhymes was optioned to Class AAA Durham (N.C.), clearing a roster spot for the expected return of 3B Evan Longoria (partially torn left hamstring) from the disabled list Tuesday. Rhymes went 0-for-3 in his latest big-league stint, which lasted three days. ... RHP Jeff Niemann is scheduled to begin a four-start rehab assignment Wednesday with high-A Charlotte (Port Charlotte, Fla.), working with a 45-pitch limit. Niemann, out since mid-May with a broken right leg, is on schedule for a late-August return.

Texas: RH reliever Roy Oswalt needed only 30 pitches to throw two perfect innings Sunday, but he refused to pitch a third inning. Manager Ron Washington admitted to being perplexed after the game, but Monday he said the issue was forgotten. "(If) a player tells me he can't go, that's it. It ends right there," Washington said. ... SS Elvis Andrus left Sunday's game with a sore right shoulder, and he was out of the lineup the next day. Michael Young made his first start at shortstop since Sept. 27, 2001, and just his second appearance at the position since 2008.

Toronto: 1B Adam Lind, sidelined due to mid-back tightness, has begun baseball-related activity, but there is no timetable for his return. Lind was in an 0-for-8 drought when he went on the disabled list July 30, retroactive to July 26. ... 3B Brett Lawrie (ribcage tightness) and CF Colby Rasmus (right groin tightness) are expected to be available for Tuesday's game after they sat out Saturday and Sunday. Manager John Farrell said he believed both would be ready after the team's off day.
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