It's difficult to keep veteran infielder Craig Counsell limited to a utility role when he's batting .297 with a .350 on-base percentage.
04/30/2008 1:04 PM ET
Counsell forcing way into lineup
Brewers utility man proving to be more than that
So Milwaukee manager Ned Yost is trying to fit Counsell into the starting lineup with some regularity at third base, shortstop or second base.
"I just want to make sure I keep him playing at least two times a week," Yost told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "I want to get him four at-bats two times a week to keep him going."
Gomez could challenge Twins' steals record: Center fielder Carlos Gomez already has 10 stolen bases this year, putting him on pace to challenge the Twins' record of 62 stolen bases, set by Chuck Knoblauch in 1997. With that type of speed, Gomez is making things happen not only on the basepaths, but at the plate as well.
"The umpire was asking me about him in Texas," first base coach Jerry White told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "And I said, 'Yeah, he's beating out bunts that no other human can beat. And sure enough, he put one down. They had a chance to get him, and all of a sudden that extra gear -- vooom! -- and there's just no chance."
No sophomore slump for Pedroia: Unlike some of 2007's other top rookies, Dustin Pedroia is off to a great start in 2008 with the Red Sox. While Milwaukee's Ryan Braun and Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki are struggling at the plate, Pedroia was hitting .324 with one home run and 13 RBIs entering Tuesday night's game.
The reigning American League Rookie of the Year is avoiding a sophomore slump at the moment, perhaps getting it out of the way last April when he struggled during his first month in the big leagues.
"I just love him," teammate Alex Cora told the Boston Herald. "I love to listen to him to see what he has to say today. It's like he's the little brother I never had, because I'm the youngest. I finally got somebody I can beat up a little bit, someone I can tell to shut the freak up when I have to. I love that."
Smoltz willing to help out in relief: As expected, John Smoltz went on the disabled list due to inflammation in his rotator cuff and biceps tendon on Tuesday. But in an unexpected move, Smoltz indicated a willingness to return to the bullpen when activated from the DL. Smoltz has been ordered to go 5-7 days without picking up a ball. He was placed on the 15-day DL but could be out up to a month.
"Yes, right now I'm sitting at ground zero, taking it day by day, looking at every option to help this team get to the playoffs and end my career the way I'd like to end it," Smoltz told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Dellucci in familiar spot as leadoff batter: When regular leadoff hitter Grady Sizemore missed a couple of games this week with an ankle sprain, the Indians turned to David Dellucci to fill in, and it's a role with which Dellucci is quite familiar.
"That's where I hit in '05 for the Rangers," Dellucci told the Akron Beacon Journal. "It's nothing different for me. I take the same approach as any other time. My goal as an offensive player is to get a pitch I can drive. I'm trying to get on base the best way I can, whether I'm the leadoff hitter or not. So I want to be selective, but not to the point where I get myself in the hole."
McCrory sees dream realized with promotion: Following his game Monday night with Triple-A Norfolk, Tides pitching coach Larry McCall gave reliever Bob McCrory the news he'd been waiting to hear -- he was heading to Baltimore.
"I couldn't quit shaking there for a bit," McCrory, 25, told The Baltimore Sun. "It's something you dream of your whole life, and it finally came true."
Werth happy to see daily lineup: Jayson Werth was going to be a platoon player this season for the Phillies, but his production of late -- along with Shane Victorino's injury -- has gotten him into the starting lineup in 15 of the past 16 games. After a hit on Tuesday night, he's batting .289 this season.
"It's definitely a lot easier to play when you know you are going to be in the lineup day in and day out," Werth, who turns 29 next month, told the Philadelphia Daily News. "I think I've proven that I can play every day and that I want to play every day. I'm here to help the club any way I can. If that's being a part-time, platoon bench player or if that's playing every day, so be it -- it's out of my control."
Konerko reaches 10-and-5 milestone: Paul Konerko is officially a 10-and-5 player, meaning he's been in the Major Leagues for 10 seasons and at least the last five have come with the same club. With the 10-and-5 distinction, Konerko now has the right to veto any trade at any time.
"Just the fact you get 10 years in, for every player that comes in, that's the big goal," Konerko told the Chicago Tribune.
Matsui moves into leadoff position: Kaz Matsui has moved into the leadoff spot for the Astros, batting there for the third straight game on Tuesday night. Manager Cecil Cooper had a simple explanation for moving Matsui, who had been hitting second since coming off the disabled list, to the top spot in the order.
"I like Matsui's game -- period," punctuated Cooper to the Houston Chronicle. "He makes the pitcher work. He's not one of those one-, two-pitch out guys. If you take all his at-bats and total them out, he makes the guys throw strikes. We saw that when we played against him last year."
Rolen returns from DL with some pop: Since getting settled after returning to the lineup from the disabled list, Scott Rolen has been one of the Blue Jays' top hitters. He's reached base in six of his 13 at-bats with a home run and three RBIs entering Tuesday night.
"When you look at him out there, you feel good," Jays manager John Gibbons told the The Toronto Star after Rolen clubbed his first home run as a Jay in a 5-2 win Sunday over Kansas City. "He plays the game the right way. He's dangerous. He can beat you with the bat and with the glove. And he's got that toughness that we need."
Scherzer called in to shore up bullpen: With the Arizona bullpen throwing a lot of innings, the Diamondbacks recalled Max Scherzer from Triple-A on Sunday. Though a projected starter, Scherzer will be used out of the bullpen in long relief for now.
"There are a lot of issues, but right now the most compelling issue is we need him in the big leagues," general manager Josh Byrnes told The Arizona Republic. "We just have a tired bullpen. There's a little more short-term urgency than there has been."
Posada lands on DL for first time: For the first time in his career, Jorge Posada is on the disabled list, due to a lingering shoulder injury. Posada flew to Birmingham, Ala., on Monday to be examined by Dr. James Andrews. Posada strained his right shoulder during the first week in April and a date for his return to the lineup is unknown.
Manager Joe Girardi hopes Posada will be able to return after his two-week stay on the disabled list, though he knows his catcher could be out longer. Posada has been on the active roster every day of his career since being called up from the Minors in September of 1996. Not seeing him on the bench or in the lineup is a strange site.
"You can go into anyone's shoulder, and you'll probably find some inflammation," Girardi told the New York Daily News. "I'm not a doctor, so I'm not going to make believe I know what's wrong. I really believe it will be much of the same."
Posada also scheduled examinations with two other highly-regarded orthopedic surgeons to get their opinions.
Zimmerman gets untracked with homer, double: Ryan Zimmerman showed signs of breaking out of a slow start on Tuesday night. He homered to left-center and doubled to right, leading Washington to a 6-3 win over Atlanta.
"He's our best player," center fielder Lastings Milledge told The Washington Post, "so he's going to be the guy who's being counted on every time, whether he's hitting .200 or whether he's hitting .340. They're not going to give in to his average and look at his numbers. They got to respect him whether he's struggling or whether he's doing good."
Lieberthal to retire with Phillies: Catcher Mike Lieberthal announced after last season that he'd not be returning for the 2008 campaign. After 13 seasons with the Phillies and one with the Dodgers, Lieberthal has a career batting average of .275 with 150 home runs. On June 1, he'll once more be a member of the Phillies -- ever so briefly -- so that the can retire with the team with whom he spent most of his career.
"Philadelphia has always been a second home to me, so I'm really looking forward to this," Lieberthal said in the Philadelphia Daily News. "I spent half my life there and still follow the team closely on television."
Flu behind him, Haren on top of his game: Earlier this season, the flu bug went around the Arizona clubhouse. One of the players affected was pitcher Dan Haren. Though he was still effective while feeling under the weather, going 3-1 with a 3.03 ERA, Haren finally had his strength back Monday night, allowing him to go through his normal routine. The result was an outing in which he allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings and collected an RBI double at the plate as Arizona defeated the Houston Astros, 5-3.
"It wasn't necessarily the best results I've had, numbers-wise, but definitely the best stuff I've had all year," Haren told the East Valley Tribune. "The flu's been going around the team, and I got the flu early on, which was pretty nasty. Lost some weight and stuff, and I'm just now getting back to my normal routine of throwing and lifting. I'm finally getting back to normal."
-- Red Line Editorial