American League notebook -- Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

Baltimore: LHP Zach Britton threw four scoreless innings Tuesday during his second start in extended spring training, and he is due to pitch there again Monday. Britton, on the disabled list all season due to a left shoulder impingement, might be able to rejoin the Orioles in late May or early June. ... LF Xavier Avery started for the fourth consecutive game to open his major league career. After hitting ninth Tuesday, Avery was back in the leadoff spot for the series opener at Kansas City.

Boston: DH David Ortiz hit his eighth homer in the second inning Tuesday, but all anyone wanted to talk about afterward was his bunt single in the fifth. Facing Seattle LH reliever Charlie Furbush, Ortiz dropped a bunt down the third base line against the shift. "I never see the ball coming out of that guy anyway," Ortiz said. ... RHP Josh Beckett's seven shutout innings Tuesday capped a stellar turn through the five-man rotation. The starters compiled a 1.57 ERA in the five games, and not coincidentally, the Red Sox won all five.

Chicago: Coach Kevin Hickey, a pregame instructor for the White Sox since 2004 who pitched for the team from 1981-83, died at Rush University Medical Center. He was 56. No cause of death was announced. Hickey also pitched for Baltimore from 1989-91. "Kevin did the absolute most with every single opportunity he received and earned every bit of his success," former White Sox GM Roland Hemond said in a statement. .. 1B/DH Paul Konerko isn't thrilled that the White Sox are playing their cross-town rivals this weekend. He believes the annual series with the Cubs should be held in the summer when the fans can appreciate baseball a bit more and there's more at stake in the standings.

Cleveland: RHP Josh Tomlin, who went on the disabled list last weekend due to a sore right wrist, is scheduled to undergo a second MRI exam Thursday. He said surgery has not yet been discussed an option, but that his discomfort remained even though he's been wearing a brace. ... 3B Jack Hannahan underwent an MRI exam on his back, but the results weren't immediately known. Hannahan sat out his third consecutive start.

Detroit: RH closer Jose Valverde is day-to-day due to a lower back strain. Valverde had to come out of Tuesday's game at Chicago with two outs and two on in the ninth because his back tightened up. ... LH reliever Daniel Schlereth was told surgery isn't necessary for his sore left shoulder. Schlereth was examined in Denver by specialist Tom Noonan and was advised to treat the ailment with rest. "The doctor said it could be two or three weeks or two or three months," Schlereth said.

Kansas City: The Royals promoted two highly regarded prospects, RHP Jake Odorizzi and OF Wil Myers, from Class AA Northwest Arkansas (Springdale, Ark.) to Class AAA Omaha (Papillion, Neb.). Odorizzi, 22, was 4-2 with a 3.32 ERA in seven Class AA starts, while Myers, 21, hit .343 with 13 homers and 30 RBI in 35 games. ... The team had yet to announce long-term rotation replacements for injured LHPs Jonathan Sanchez and Danny Duffy. RHP Vin Mazzaro got a win Tuesday in a spot start at Texas, his first major league victory since June 12, 2011.

Los Angeles: RHP Ervin Santana pitched 7 2/3 shutout innings Tuesday, continuing his career-long dominance of the A's. Santana is 14-4 with a 2.05 ERA against Oakland. That is the most victories and the lowest ERA he has against any team he has faced more than once. ... Through Tuesday's 4-0 win over the A's, the Angels were 1-17 in games when they had scored three runs or fewer, 15-4 when they had score at least four. Since the start of the 2011 season, the Angels had gone 84-21 (.800) when scoring four runs or more, 18-76 (.191) when scoring three or fewer.

Minnesota: CF Denard Span was scratched from the starting lineup due to right hamstring tightness. He was replaced in center field and the leadoff spot by Erik Komatsu. Span missed Tuesday's game due to the same issue, and he is listed as day-to-day. ... Jamey Carroll made his first 27 starts this season at shortstop, then made seven starts at second base. He's started each of the past two days at third base, a position he hadn't played at all since 2010.

New York: RHP Ivan Nova didn't throw his regularly scheduled bullpen session, but he tested his injured right ankle by running and reported no problems. Manager Joe Girardi wouldn't commit to Nova for Saturday's game against the Reds, but Nova believes he'll be able to make his scheduled start. ... SS Derek Jeter, who had played every inning this season, was out of the starting lineup. Manager Joe Girardi had planned to give most of his veterans at least one game off during the Yankees' current 16-day stretch without an off day.

Oakland: RH reliever Andrew Carignan was optioned to Class AAA Sacramento (West Sacramento, Calif.) to clear a spot on the roster for newly acquired LH reliever Travis Blackley. Carignan made seven appearances over two stints with Oakland, going 1-1 with a 7.11 ERA. ... 3B Brandon Inge missed his fourth consecutive start due to a groin strain, and he is day-to-day. Inge hit four homers in a five-game span last week, driving in 16 runs in the process.

Seattle: CF Michael Saunders, who hadn't hit higher than sixth in the batting order all season, manned the No. 2 spot for the series opener at Cleveland. "I'm not turning into a guy who's going to see 10 pitches," he told the Seattle Times. "I'm going to stay with my approach." Saunders entered the game hitting .182 with a .250 on-base percentage this month. ... 3B Alex Liddi has started mostly against left-handed pitching, but he can expect to start against right-handers down the line. "I do want to get him in there," manager Eric Wedge said. "I will find a way to get him in there more."

Tampa Bay: The Rays acquired OF Rich Thompson from the Phillies in exchange for OF Kyle Hudson. Thompson, 33, has six games of big-league experience, going 0-for-1 for the Royals in 2004. He was hitting .307 with seven steals in 29 games this season in Class AAA. The Rays cleared a spot for him on the 25-man roster by placing OF Brandon Guyer (left shoulder strain) on the disabled list retroactive to Sunday. Hudson, 25, was hitting .291 in Class AAA. ... 3B Evan Longoria said he felt good after taking batting practice, but he has yet to resume running, the Tampa Bay Times reported. Longoria has been out since May 1 due to a partially torn left hamstring. ... 1B Ryan Garko, who last played in the majors in 2010 for Texas, signed a minor league deal with the Rays, and he will join Class AA Montgomery (Ala.). Garko, 31, had hit .450 with four homers and 16 RBI in 16 games this season for Long Island (Central Islip, N.Y.) of the independent Atlantic League.

Texas: SS Elvis Andrus saw his 32-game streak of reaching base safely die in a most unpleasant way. Andrus pinch-hit with two outs in the ninth Tuesday, and he grounded out to end the game and the Rangers' 7-4 loss to the Royals. ... Radio broadcaster Eric Nadel, who has worked with the club for 34 years, was announced as the 15th member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame. Nadel will be inducted Aug. 11. Nadel, who turned 61 on Wednesday, has been a finalist for the Ford C. Frick Award the last two years. The award honors a broadcaster at the annual National Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

Toronto: 3B Brett Lawrie has appealed his four-game suspension for actions that included throwing his batting helmet after plate umpire Bill Miller called him out on strikes in the ninth inning Tuesday. The helmet bounced and hit Miller on the hip. Lawrie said his defense "in a nutshell is just I didn't mean to hit him." ... SS Yunel Escobar was out of the starting lineup, with Omar Vizquel starting at short for the second time this season. Manager John Farrell said he wanted to use as many left-handed bats as he could against Yankees RHP Hiroki Kuroda. Vizquel is a switch hitter.

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