American League notebook -- April 25, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Baltimore: RHP Jason Berken was recalled from Class AAA Norfolk (Va.), replacing 2B Robert Andino on the active roster. Andino went on paternity leave, and he headed to Miami for the birth of his third child. Berken, who was slowed this spring due to a hamstring injury, had a 0.60 ERA through three starts for Norfolk. He will serve as a reliever for Baltimore. ... RH closer Jim Johnson was still undergoing tests to determine the cause of his illness, according to manager Buck Showalter. ... LF Nolan Reimold was out of the lineup for the fourth consecutive game due to neck spasms. He is day-to-day.

Boston: LF Carl Crawford plans to get a second opinion from Dr. James Andrews to determine if his elbow injury is more severe than a strain, manager Bobby Valentine said. Crawford spent Tuesday in Boston, having his elbow rechecked. He began the season on the disabled list after having arthroscopic left wrist surgery in January. ... RHP Aaron Cook, 33, has a May 1 opt-out clause in his minor league contract. "When it comes time to make a decision, I'll make a decision," said Cook, who is 3-0 with a 1.33 ERA in four starts covering 27 innings for Class AAA Pawtucket (R.I.).

Chicago: DH Paul Konerko's game-tying homer in the ninth inning was the 400th home run of his career. He's the 48th player to reach the milestone. Konerko's homer total ranks eight among active players, counting suspended Oakland OF Manny Ramirez. ... 1B Adam Dunn went 1-for-2 against left-handers in the series finale at Oakland, making him 2-for-20 vs. lefties this season. "Obviously I'm doing something against them that's not working," Dunn said Tuesday. "I feel fine in the box, but when I do get a pitch to hit, I miss it. Probably pulling off a little bit against the lefty."

Cleveland: RF Shin-Soo Choo was not in the starting lineup due to a left hamstring injury. "It's just some mild tightness, not a pull," manager Manny Acta said. "Our medical people think it will just be a couple days." ... 1B Matt LaPorta, who lost his job to Casey Kotchman this spring, is making a strong bid for a return to the majors. Through 17 games for Class AAA Columbus (Ohio), LaPorta is hitting .364 with five doubles, five homers, 12 RBI and a .427 on-base percentage. He went 2-for-2 with two walks and two RBI on Wednesday, extending his hitting streak to nine games.

Detroit: LHP Drew Smyly is the first Detroit pitcher since at least 1918 to allow fewer than two runs in each of his first three major league starts (not including pitchers who had relief appearances mixed in). Smyly has no decisions despite a 1.13 ERA. "I wish he was one of several Tigers pitchers with three wins in his first three starts," manager Jim Leyland said. "That's what we're interested in." ... RHP Max Scherzer started out 6-0 last season but is 1-2 after four starts this year. "His stuff is good. His command is not," Leyland said. "The groove is there sometimes, and sometimes it's not."

Kansas City: CF Lorenzo Cain (left groin strain) had a setback Tuesday on his rehab assignment with Class AA Northwest Arkansas (Springdale, Ark.). The preliminary diagnosis from the latest injury was a left hip flexor strain, but he will return to Kansas City for further examination. The Royals had hoped to activate him Friday in Minnesota, but that will be delayed indefinitely. ... LH reliever Tommy Hottovy had his contract purchased from Class AAA Omaha (Papillion, Neb.), where he was 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in seven appearances. RH reliever Jeremy Jeffress, who allowed four hits in one total inning over two appearances for Kansas City, was optioned to Omaha.

Los Angeles: RHP Ervin Santana allowed a career-high four home runs (three leading off innings) in five-plus innings during Tuesday's 5-0 loss to the Rays. Santana has now allowed 10 home runs in his first four starts. He is the first Angels pitcher to give up multiple home runs in each of his first four starts since Don Sutton in 1986. ... 1B Albert Pujols, on his season-opening slump: "I'm going to have 550 more at-bats, 600 more plate appearances. Let's see what's going to happen."

Minnesota: 2B Alexi Casilla was back in the starting lineup after missing consecutive games due to flu-like symptoms. OF/IF Trevor Plouffe replaced him Monday and Tuesday, going a combined 0-for-7. ... SS Jamey Carroll has started all 19 games for the Twins this season. The 38-year-old veteran's strong defense has made it difficult for manager Ron Gardenhire to rest him. "I'm supposed to give him a day off, but I can't afford it. It's hard to take him out right now. He's picking it," Gardenhire said.

New York: RHP Freddy Garcia will start Saturday against the Tigers, and LHP CC Sabathia will follow him Sunday on an extra day's rest. Sabathia's fifth day would have been Saturday, but the Yankees decided to stay on rotation despite an off day Thursday, sending the struggling Garcia (0-1, 9.75 ERA in three starts) back to the mound. ... Although RHP Hiroki Kuroda fell to 1-3 with Tuesday's loss at Texas, he limited the high-powered Rangers offense to two runs on five hits in 6 2/3 innings. "I told him, 'We can do that all year long and we'll be just fine,'" C Russell Martin said.

Oakland: RH reliever Fautino De Los Santos, who had not retired a batter in his past three outings, was optioned to Class AAA Sacramento (West Sacramento, Calif.). De Los Santos, who has thrown as hard as 100 mph, is seen as a potential future closer, but opponents were batting .412 against him. The A's purchased the contract of RH reliever Jim Miller, 29, who had two saves and a 3.00 ERA for Sacramento. ... To clear a spot for the arrival of RHP Jarrod Parker, promoted from Sacramento to start against the White Sox, the A's designated RH reliever Rich Thompson for assignment. Thompson made one scoreless appearance for Oakland after being claimed off waivers from the Angels last week.

Seattle: 3B/1B Alex Liddi started for the fourth time in five games. He had a career-best three hits Tuesday, including his first homer of the season. "He's shortened up his game," manager Eric Wedge said, according to the Seattle Times. "His swing's shorter. He looks better defensively. He's getting a better feel for the basepaths. He's more versatile." ... RH reliever Tom Wilhelmsen gave up a single Tuesday to Detroit 1B Prince Fielder. Before the game, the two talked. They'd lost track of each other since having been teammates in the Milwaukee organization at low-A Beloit (Wis.) in 2003, Wilhelmsen having left pro baseball from 2004-08.

Tampa Bay: 1B Carlos Pena was emotional about reaching the 1,000-hit milestone, which he did with a sixth-inning homer Tuesday. "It's a tale of a dream come true," Pena said. "I'm grateful about getting one hit. I dreamt about getting one hit. So for me to be able to get 1,000, I can't put it into words how special it is for me." ... RH closer Kyle Farnsworth said his sore right elbow continues to feel better, but there is still no timetable for his return. He has been sidelined since the final week of spring training.

Texas: With the Rangers attempting to limit RHP Neftali Feliz's innings in his first season as a starter, they will skip his turn this weekend against Tampa Bay. After RHP Scott Feldman's spot start Wednesday, the rest of the rotation will pitch in order following Thursday's day off. Feliz will start Tuesday at Toronto. ... RH closer Joe Nathan needed just one pitch to pick up the final two outs and earn the save Tuesday. He got Yankees LF Raul Ibanez to ground into a game-ending double play. Nathan is the first major-leaguer to pick up a one-pitch save of more than one-third of an inning since Tampa Bay's Dan Wheeler did it against Minnesota on Aug. 2, 2010.

Toronto: One day after manager John Farrell said DH Edwin Encarnacion had established himself as the cleanup hitter, Encarnacion batted sixth, with 1B Adam Lind returning to the No. 4 spot. LF Eric Thames moved up to No. 5. Lind and Thames are left-handed batters, and Farrell said he made the move because Baltimore started RHP Jason Hammel. ... RH reliever Casey Janssen worked a scoreless eighth inning Tuesday in his first outing in 10 days. "The fact is we've gone with some matchups, and the way (LH reliever) Luis Perez has evolved, I'm not going to say he has supplanted him or replaced other guys, but (Perez) has done one hell of a job for us," Farrell said.

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