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American League team-by-team notebook -- Wednesday, August 22, 2012

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Baltimore: RHP Jason Hammel is marching closer to a return after throwing 40 pitches in a bullpen session Tuesday. He also fielded groundballs as he continues to recover from an injured right knee suffered a little more than a month ago. ... RH closer Jim Johnson had a save in each of his last seven outings through Tuesday, dating to Aug. 5. He also had worked nine straight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and no walks in that span while striking out six.

Boston: CF Jacoby Ellsbury batted in the No. 3 spot Tuesday night, a departure from his usual role as the leadoff hitter. It marked the first time in his professional career that he had batted third. ... RHP Aaron Cook has lost six of his last eight starts, and it seems his spot in the rotation might be in jeopardy. RHP Daisuke Matsuzaka allowed one hit in seven innings in his latest rehab start Tuesday for Class AAA Pawtucket (R.I.). Asked if the Red Sox will replace Cook with Matsuzaka in the next turn through the rotation, manager Bobby Valentine was noncommittal.

Chicago: 1B Paul Konerko was the DH and Adam Dunn played first base because manager Robin Ventura wants to keep Konerko fresh now that he has returned from his stint on the seven-day disabled list for concussions. Konerko has been playing first base and said there have been no setbacks. ... The White Sox will win the season series against the Yankees this year for the first time since 2003.

Cleveland: 1B Casey Kotchman was 2-for-3 vs. Seattle ace RHP Felix Hernandez Tuesday night. That improved Kotchman's career batting average vs. Hernandez to .346 (9-for-26). ... RHP Roberto Hernandez held Seattle to three hits in six innings Tuesday in his second start since rejoining the Indians. Hernandez was charged with four runs, but two of them scored after he was removed from the game. "He threw well. He gave us a chance to win, especially going against Felix (Hernandez)," manager Manny Acta said.

Detroit: LHP Drew Smyly will be the nominee if RHP Doug Fister (right groin) is unable to make his start Saturday. Smyly was pulled from a start for Class AAA Toledo (Ohio) after one inning Tuesday. ... LH reliever Phil Coke went into Wednesday with a .332 opponents' batting average this season, including a .400 average by right-handed hitters. "He hasn't gotten right-handed hitters out very well this year at all," manager Jim Leyland said. "He's got 40 games to do better. He's important to us."

Kansas City: 3B Mike Moustakas struck out in all four of his at-bats Tuesday, then went 0-for-3 Wednesday -- but at least he didn't strike out. He was 0-for-12 in the series and is 2-for-21 this season against the Rays, although one of his hits was a home run. ... Manager Ned Yost was ejected in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes. With bench coach Chino Cadahia not with the team while taking care of family business, who ran the team for the final inning? "My wife was sitting eight or 10 rows back," Yost quipped.

Los Angeles: OF Peter Bourjos (wrist) was placed on the disabled list, and RHP Garrett Richards was called up from Class AAA Salt Lake (Salt Lake City). ... OF Mike Trout, 21, went into Wednesday needing one more home run and one more stolen base to become the youngest player in MLB history to have a 25-homer, 40-steal season. Astros OF Cesar Cedeno is the only player under the age of 23 to have a 25-40 season under 23 years old. ... 1B C.J. Cron, the Angels' first-round draft pick in 2011, was the first player in the majors or any affiliated minor league to reach 100 RBI this season. He had 121 in 123 games through Tuesday for high-A Inland Empire (San Bernardino, Calif.).

Minnesota: CF Denard Span halted an MRI exam of his clavicle on Tuesday because of his claustrophobia and has decided to proceed with his rehab without it. He immediately took live batting practice for the first time since Aug. 12. "It felt pretty good," he said. Span had an MRI taken of his neck and shoulder on Monday and was ready for one on his clavicle Tuesday, but he couldn't stay in the machine for 35 minutes. X-rays taken the day of the injury were negative. ... When 3B Trevor Plouffe grounded into a 5-4-3 triple play Tuesday, it was the eighth time the Twins have been tripled up in their history. The last one was on Aug. 27, 2007 when former C Mike Redmond grounded into one.

New York: RHP Ivan Nova will miss at least one start because of inflammation in his shoulder and was sent back to New York for tests, manager Joe Girardi said. Nova felt a "grab" in his right shoulder in the sixth inning Tuesday, when he allowed six runs. Nova is 11-7 with a 4.92 ERA with 139 strikeouts in 157 1/3 innings. ... RHP David Phelps will remain in the rotation. He was expected to go back to the bullpen after filling in for LHP CC Sabathia, but the Yankees like what they've seen from him as a starter.

Oakland: RHP Bartolo Colon was suspended for 50 games for violating MLB's drug policy, reportedly for testing positive for synthetic testosterone. Colon, 39, had allowed no more than one run in four of his five previous starts and was 10-9 overall with a 3.43 ERA. The suspension left the A's scrambling for pitching. RHP Dan Straily, the team's top prospect, was sent down Monday and cannot return for 10 days except in the event of an injury that requires a disabled list stint. So the A's will recall RHP Tyson Ross instead. ... IF Cliff Pennington, Oakland's shortstop the last three seasons, made his first start at second base since 2008. Pennington and Adam Rosales are splitting time at second with the acquisition of SS Stephen Drew.

Seattle: RHP Felix Hernandez is 8-0 in his last 13 starts and ranks first in the American League in innings pitches (187 2/3), second in strikeouts (179) and third in ERA (2.54). In the streak he has a 1.53 ERA and hitters are averaging .184 against him. ... C John Jaso has reached base safely in 25 starts dating to the All-Star break. Seattle is 17-8 in those starts, so he continues to get plenty of playing time. Since the break, Jaso is hitting .329 (25-for-76) with three doubles, five homers, 19 RBI and 22 walks.

Tampa Bay: 3B Evan Longoria was back at DH on Wednesday one game after making his first start at third base since coming off the disabled list on Aug. 7. "There's never going to be, at least in my opinion, 100 percent confidence saying, 'I'm ready,' the first day back," Longoria said of playing on defense again. "I definitely have some hesitation, but I think going out there and getting through a game and feeling fine -- and I don't anticipate anything going wrong -- that's what it's going to take for me to get past that step." ... The Rays have lost 1-0 three times in the last month.

Texas: RHP Yu Darvish was scratched from his scheduled start today because of right quadriceps tightness, which he first experienced during a bullpen workout Tuesday. Darvish is expected to move back into the rotation on Tuesday against Tampa Bay. RHP Roy Oswalt will make the start today. ... Manager Ron Washington said new C Geovany Soto is getting "energized" by his new environment, and it is starting to show at the plate. He had a two-run homer Tuesday and was 7-for-19 with five RBI in his last six games.

Toronto: SS Yunel Escobar was placed on the paternity leave list, and RH reliever Chad Beck was recalled from Class AAA Las Vegas. Escobar is expected back Friday. ... RF Jose Bautista (left wrist) and 1B Adam Lind (back) each had six at-bats in a simulated game at Dunedin (Fla.) before going to Class AA (Manchester) New Hampshire to continue their rehab assignments. Bautista is expected to rejoin the Blue Jays on Friday, and Lind is scheduled to play about nine games on his rehab assignment before being assessed.
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