It hasn't been much of a year for Ryan Doumit(notes) – he missed two months with a busted wrist and he hasn't hit much when he's been on the field (.219 for the year, .182 in August). And the lost season may have taken a turn for the worse Friday when he apparently did something to tick off manager John Russell.
Doumit went 0-for-3 at Milwaukee before heading to the showers, and after the game Russell let it be known – somewhat evasively – that he was hot at his starting catcher. Russell said the removal was "between me and Ryan" and he also confirmed that the backstop isn't hurt.
Doumit's in an odd position with the club these days. He's become the longest-tenured Pirate after the summer trading frenzy, and he's been open about his displeasure with the direction of the club. Perhaps some of that frustration is what's come to a head here. Either way, prudent fantasy owners have to move on and look for reliable catching production elsewhere; Doumit's swing clearly isn't right at the moment and it could be a while before Russell gives him a chance to get back in the swing of things.
• Scott Kazmir(notes) is officially the problem of the Angels now; Tampa Bay shipped him west on Friday in exchange for a couple of prospects (LHP Alex Torres, 3B Matt Sweeney) and a player to be named later. Kazmir has pitched better of late but it's hard to put a positive spin on a 5.92 ERA and a 1.54 WHIP. He's had trouble maintaining his velocity through the year, which is one reason why the league is hitting .273 against him. But the Angels saw him hitting the mid-90s during his last turn (when he struck out 10), and that probably had a lot to do with them making the push here.
• Brian Wilson(notes) got a little help from a couple of borderline calls but otherwise his scoreless ninth inning Friday was exactly what his owners wanted to see – good velocity, a couple of strikeouts, a scoreless frame. Not that it was a cruise for Wilson, mind you; Todd Helton(notes) laced a single to open the inning and Brad Hawpe(notes) roped a ball to the warning track in left-center, about 390 feet away. But after the meltdown Wilson offered earlier this week, it was encouraging to see him succeed again.
• Another strong night for John Smoltz(notes) as he reacquaints himself with the National League; he allowed just one run and struck out six in six strong frames against Washington (here's some video). The assignment gets a little easier next week against the Pirates. "We knew he could still pitch when he got released from Boston," said Albert Pujols(notes), who won the game in the ninth with a walk-off homer. "He's been unbelievable."
• Jose Contreras(notes) is starting against the Yankees Saturday by default; the White Sox removed him from the rotation earlier this week then found that they didn't have a logical option to replace him (Jake Peavy(notes) isn't ready yet). Make sure all your primary Yankees are ready to go for batting practice against the struggling Cuban.
• The Twins have apparently made a waiver claim on Rich Harden, which means they have until midday Monday to try to work something out with the Cubs. It's hard to see where the fit is with these teams; Minnesota is 4.5 games out in the AL Central and isn't in the business of emptying the chamber for a rental player. Harden lines up to be a Type A free agent after the year.
• I'd love to stream Ryan Rowland-Smith(notes) on Sunday but he's up against Zack Greinke(notes), a major buzz kill. That's sort of the theme for Sunday's slate, a lot of tricky spots that aren't fully endorseable. I am grabbing Sean West(notes) versus San Diego, though, and I have a hunch on the Brian Matusz(notes)-Justin Masterson matchup, someone is going to pitch well there.
Injury Blog: Marco Scutaro(notes) took a Josh Beckett pitch off the head Friday and will probably be down at least a game or two while the Jays meticulously run some tests. … Russell Branyan(notes) felt a twinge in his back after taking an awkward check swing and headed for the dugout. Don't be surprised if he misses a few days. … Kyle Blanks(notes) knocked another one out of the park (No. 10) but later left the game with a sore right foot. He's being called day-to-day. … Jose Guillen(notes) (knee) is hoping to return for the beginning of September, though that's far from a guarantee. He ran the bases Friday. … When isn't Joe Crede's(notes) back bothering him? He landed on the 15-day disabled list Friday. … Brad Bergesen(notes) (shin) is no sure thing to pitch again this year, and even as the injury isn't related to his upper body, I can't imagine why the Orioles would risk anything with this underrated righty down the stretch. … Daisuke Matsuzaka(notes) will probably stay in the minors for a couple of additional rehab turns before the Red Sox give him a start in the second week of September.
Speed Round: Andrew McCutchen(notes) is worth the price of admission these days; he collected three hits (including a homer) and four RBIs at Milwaukee and should be a $20 or more player at next year's auction table. … Gaby Sanchez(notes) was optioned back to Triple-A, where he'll be able to find some at-bats. The Marlins hardly used Sanchez over his two weeks with the club. … Homer Bailey(notes) was outstanding for the second consecutive start (8 IP, 0 R, 7 K), which only means that he'll tease some of us into trusting him next week – and then he'll get hammered. If you want to talk yourself into this one, be my guest.