American League team-by-team notebook -- Monday, August 20, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange


Baltimore: DH Jim Thome (neck) has gone from resting at home in Chicago to resuming his rehab at the club's minor league facility in Sarasota, Fla. Thome, who would need only a few at-bats to prepare himself, is eyeing an early September return. ... SS J.J. Hardy was out of the lineup, partly to give him a rest but also because he went into Monday 2-for-27 against Rangers starter Ryan Dempster.

Boston: LF Carl Crawford is scheduled to undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow Thursday, the team announced. Crawford played in just 31 games for the Red Sox this year because of the elbow problem. ... Pitching coach Bob McClure was fired, and Randy Niemann was named to the fill the role for the rest of the season. The Red Sox rank 11th in the league with a 4.30 ERA. McClure, 60, was named Boston's pitching coach last December after serving as the Royals' pitching coach for six seasons.

Chicago: LHP Chris Sale's innings count is being watched closely by the White Sox, but, unlike Washington RHP Stephen Strasburg, Sale isn't coming off major surgery -- he merely is in his first year as a starter after converting from being a reliever. "I'm not worried about innings or (that it's) getting late in the year or anything like that," Sale said. ... Manager Robin Ventura would like to give some of his banged-up players a day off before the team's off day Thursday but is limited because the Sox are carrying 13 pitchers. "Just have to gut it out," he said.

Cleveland: RHP Justin Masterson has given up six or more runs in seven of his 27 starts this season, including Sunday in Oakland, when he gave up seven runs in 5 2/3 innings in a 7-0 loss. "He pitched behind in the count a lot, and when he can't command the ball inside to left-handers, he has issues with them. That's what happened today," said manager Manny Acta. ... C Lou Marson had thrown out just 9 percent (5 of 55) of attempted base stealers this season through Sunday. Last year Marson threw out 33.3 percent, and in 2010 he threw out an American League-best 33.8 percent.

Detroit: RHP Max Scherzer, 4-1 in seven starts since the All-Star break, has added a slider to the changeup and fastball he uses against left-handed hitters. "I feel if I'm able to incorporate a third pitch to left-hand batters, it gives me another pitch to help slow them down and help keep them off my fastball," he said. ... RH reliever Luke Putkonen worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings Sunday in his first outing since being recalled. Only two of his six outings were scoreless in his first trial with the Tigers. "I'm a little more comfortable," he said.

Kansas City: 3B Mike Moustakas went into Monday with 19 home runs, the most by a Royals third baseman since Dean Palmer in 1998. Palmer hit 26 of his 34 home runs that year as a third baseman. Moustakas has passed Mark Teahen, who hit 18 home runs in 2006, all as a third baseman. ... RH closer Greg Holland got his fifth save in six opportunities Sunday. He has assumed the closer's role since the July 31 trade of RH closer Jonathan Broxton to the Reds.

Los Angeles: 1B Albert Pujols' home runs in back-to-back games over the weekend gave him 14 since the All-Star break, the most in the majors through Sunday, and 473 in his career. That ties him with Carlos Delgado for 30th on baseball's all-time list. He needs just two more to tie Hall of Famers Stan Musial and Willie Stargell for 28th place. ... OF Mark Trumbo is batting .212 (24 for 113) with only three extra-base hits (all home runs) and 10 RBI in his last 29 games. In that time, Trumbo's season batting average has dropped from .311 to .284 and his slugging percentage from .634 to .543.

Minnesota: RHP Nick Blackburn and IF Tsuyoshi Nishioka were sent outright to Class AAA Rochester (N.Y.). Blackburn went 4-9 with a 7.39 ERA in 98 2/3 innings, spanning 19 starts. Nishioka has been a bust for the Twins since signing as a free agent before the 2011 season and was 0-for-12 in three games this year. ... RHP Carl Pavano, out since June 2 because of shoulder pain, is scheduled to start for high-A Fort Myers (Fla.) tonight. The Twins want him to throw four innings or 60 pitches.

New York: RHP Michael Pineda was arrested for driving under the influence in Tampa, Fla., and was released on $500 bond, a police spokesperson told MLB.com. Pineda, 23, has been rehabbing in Tampa after having surgery in April to repair a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. ... 2B Robinson Cano stopped an 0-for-16 slump with a fifth-inning single Sunday night, which also prevented him from matching a career worst of going five consecutive games without a hit on May 5-9, 2005.

Oakland: LHP Brett Anderson (Tommy John surgery) was activated from the 60-day DL after completing his 30-day rehab assignment and is scheduled to make his first start in more than 30 months tonight. RHP Dan Straily was optioned to Class AAA Sacramento (West Sacramento, Calif.), and C Anthony Recker was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. ... Fourteen of OF Coco Crisp's last 23 hits through Sunday were for extra bases.

Seattle: OF Michael Saunders hit his career-high 11th home run of the season Sunday. Manager Eric Wedge said he thinks Saunders is "just scratching the surface" of what he can become. ... RH reliever Carter Capps went into Monday with five walks in the first four innings of his major league career. Capps, who throws in the upper 90s and has a lot of movement with his arms and legs during his delivery, has not benefited from several calls as umpires get used to his motion.

Tampa Bay: DH Evan Longoria was out of the lineup after playing in 12 of the Rays' 13 games since coming off the disabled list Aug. 7, after a three-month absence caused by a left hamstring injury. The Rays are in the midst of playing 19 consecutive days. ... RHP Jeff Niemann, completing recovery from his mid-May broken leg, made the third of four scheduled rehab starts on Sunday for Class AAA Durham (N.C.), allowing 12 hits (though only four runs) in 4 1/3 innings while throwing 76 pitches. He is targeted for a late August return.

Texas: RHP Ryan Dempster was reinstated from the restricted list to start Monday's game, and OF Leonys Martin was sent down to Class AAA Round Rock (Texas). ... LHP Matt Harrison has gone at least eight innings seven times this season. In the last nine years, the only other Rangers pitcher to go at least eight innings seven times in a season was Cliff Lee in 2010. "He's been our best pitcher all year long," manager Ron Washington said.

Toronto: 1B Adam Lind (back), 3B Brett Lawrie (ribs) and RF Jose Bautista (left wrist) all are on course to return soon from the disabled list. Lind is expected to begin a rehab assignment this week. "It's going to take three or four games to get some game repetition and game speed back," manager John Farrell said. ... SS Yunel Escobar has six hits in his last 41 at-bats (.146). In his last 20 games he has just one extra-base hit.