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Trade Deadline: Astros reportedly seek top pitching prospect for Hunter Pence

07.27.11 at 12:04 pm ET
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Teams that wish to acquire Astros outfielder Hunter Pence will need to give up a top pitching prospect, according to SI.com’s Jon Heyman via Twitter.

Heyman also added that the Phillies are “trying hard” to get a deal done for Pence and that most people believe that in the end Pence will not be traded and stay with the Astros.

According to a tweet from FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Phillies are the most aggressive on Pence, while the Red Sox have also inquired but have had trouble finding a match. Rosenthal writes the Braves are not currently involved in negotiations.

Pence is currently hitting .308 with 11 home run and 62 RBIs.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Hunter Pence,

Trade Deadline: White Sox, Blue Jays, Cardinals reportedly complete trades involving Edwin Jackson

07.27.11 at 11:59 am ET
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The White Sox and Blue Jays have agreed to a deal that sends starting pitcher Edwin Jackson and third baseman Mark Teahen to the Blue Jays for relief pitcher Jason Frasor and starting pitcher Zach Stewart, according to a tweet from FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal.

SI.com’s Jon Heyman tweets that Jackson will be flipped from the Blue Jays to the Cardinals in exchange for outfielder Colby Rasmus.

Jackson is 7-7 with a 3.92 ERA. Teahen is hitting .203 with three home runs and 11 RBIs.

Frasor is in his eighth big league season, all of which have been with the Blue Jays, and is 2-1 with a 2.98 ERA in 2011. Stewart has started three games this season for the Blue Jays and is 0-1 with an ERA of 4.86.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Colby Rasmus, edwin jackson, Jason Frasor

Trade Deadline: Mets ‘making progress’ with Giants, Rangers on Carlos Beltran

07.27.11 at 11:25 am ET
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The Mets are making progress in their negotiations with the Rangers and Giants in a deal for outfielder Carlos Beltran, tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney. He also adds that the Braves are now involved in discussions involving the outfielder.

Braves catcher Bryan McCann suffered a strained left oblique muscle in Tuesday night’s game and will be placed on the 15-day disabled list, which could make the Braves in the market to add a power hitter to their lineup. McCann is hitting .306 with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs. Beltran is batting .289 with 15 home runs and 66 RBIs.

Olney also tweets that the Indians are out of the running to trade for Beltran: Sources: Indians walked away from their Beltran talks convinced that the player’s agent, Scott Boras, is controlling the process.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Bryan McCann, carlos beltran,

Wednesday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: John Lackey vs. Bruce Chen

07.27.11 at 11:12 am ET
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With the series tied 1-1, the Red Sox and Royals will play for the upper hand in a four-game set Wednesday night at Fenway Park, with two veteran pitchers taking the mound. A slowly improving John Lackey will start for the Red Sox and try to build on his 4.57 July ERA, his best month so far this season. The Royals will turn to Bruce Chen, who’s been a bright spot in Kansas City’s struggling rotation, which ranks 27th or worse in ERA, quality starts and batting average against.

Lackey (8-8, 6.28 ERA) started the month of July with a putrid performance, allowing seven runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Blue Jays, but he’s steadily improved over his last three starts. Since July 9, he’s 3-0 with a 1.95 ERA, including an impressive seven-inning, one-run start against the Mariners in his last outing. Granted, the Mariners rank 30th in the majors in runs, batting average and on-base percentage, but the win brought Lackey’s record back to .500, a confidence boost for any pitcher.

The Royals have had their typical struggles this season, although most of their issues have come from the pitching staff. At the plate, Kansas City ranks 11th in runs scored, fifth in batting average, and ninth in on-base percentage. Lackey hasn’t faced a top-10 offense since July 4 against the Blue Jays, when he gave up those seven runs.

The Red Sox have home field advantage Wednesday night, but Lackey has looked more comfortable on the road this season. In nine starts at Fenway, he’s 5-4 with a 6.75 ERA, allowing opponents to hit .301 off him. Still, two of his three consecutive wins have come in Boston.

Aside from Melky Cabrera, not many of the Royals hitters have substantial experience against the Boston starter. In 32 career plate appearances, Cabrera is hitting .379 with three doubles and an RBI. Billy Butler has seen Lackey eight times and has three hits and an RBI. In seven plate appearances, Alex Gordon is 2-for-6 with two strikeouts. As a team, the Royals are hitting .327 vs. Lackey with three walks and 12 strikeouts.

The Royals rotation has been a bit of a mess this season, but Chen (5-3, 3.30 ERA) is having one of the best seasons of his 12-year career. He’s started just 12 games but has managed to stay relatively consistent in spite of his sporadic schedule. Dating back to April 3, the Royals won six of Chen’s first seven starts while he posted a 3.59 ERA. After two losses in June, the 34-year-old has returned to form this month, going 2-1 with a 2.84 ERA.

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Read More: Bruce Chen, john lackey, Red Sox, royals

Trade Deadline: Blue Jays reportedly interested in Wandy Rodriguez

07.27.11 at 11:09 am ET
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The Blue Jays reportedly are seeking pitching help, as FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal links the Blue Jays to being interested in three pitchers: Padres closer Heath Bell, Rockies starter Ubaldo Jimenez and Astros left-handed starter Wandy Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is 6-7 with a 3.60 ERA this season. He has struggled in the month of July as he has an ERA of 6.00 this month. American League teams worry about how his performance would translate to their league.

Bell, an eight-year veteran, has 29 saves this season. The Phillies are also a team interested in the closer. Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets that Philadelphia is being “aggressive” in going after Bell.

Jimenez has a record of 6-9 and a 4.20 ERA this season and is reportedly also receiving interest from the Reds, Red Sox and Yankees.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Heath Bell, ubaldo jimenez, Wandy Rodriguez

Jerry Remy on D&C: ‘The key is getting [Clay] Buchholz back’

07.27.11 at 9:52 am ET
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NESN color commentator Jerry Remy checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show Wednesday morning for his weekly interview about the Red Sox and discussed what he expects at Sunday’s trade deadline from a Red Sox standpoint. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

With the trade deadline coming up Sunday, Remy said he does not think the Red Sox need to make a deal.

‘€œIt wouldn’€™t bother me if they didn’€™t do anything because I think they have enough here to do what they want to do,” Remy said. “A lot of it depends on Clay Buchholz, obviously, and it sounds and looks like he is on his way back to where we want him, which is in the starting rotation. If they didn’€™t do anything, do they have enough? I think they do. They can cover right field. I think [Josh] Reddick has played very well and I think [Darnell] McDonald can play against left-handers. Who knows if J.D. [Drew] has a month in him when he comes back? You just don’€™t know.

“If they do nothing, I am comfortable with that, but my guess is they will do what they do all the time. They are out there looking right now, but I don’€™t think they will give up the house to get something because they are pretty good and playing pretty good and I think they have enough right here to go where they want to go.”

Remy added that he is confident the Red Sox are working the phones and doing their due diligence.

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Read More: carlos beltran, Clay Buchholz, J.D Drew, Jon Lester

Trade Deadline: Red Sox reportedly called Rockies on Ubaldo Jimenez

07.27.11 at 9:43 am ET
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The Red Sox reportedly called the Rockies on Tuesday about the availability of starter Ubaldo Jimenez, according to Thomas Harding of MLB.com. The Yankees and Reds also made calls to the Rockies, and Harding reports things “are moving further along” with the Reds.

According to Harding, the Rockies have asked for starting pitchers Travis Wood and Homer Bailey from the Reds as well as a top prospect from the Reds’ farm system. The Rockies will not come down on their asking price no matter what team is making the offer.

Earlier in the week a source told FoxSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi that the chances of Jimenez being traded have improved to “around a 50/50 chance.” He also added that the Tigers and Rangers are also teams that have shown interest in the right-hander.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, ubaldo jimenez,

Trade Deadline: Twins reportedly to become sellers after 14-run loss

07.27.11 at 6:39 am ET
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In recent weeks, the Twins were reportedly torn between trading veterans at the deadline or hanging on to their talent for a playoff push. According to The Sporting News, Monday night’s 20-6 loss to the Rangers has made that decision much easier, and the Twins will now look to sell.

The blowout loss dropped the Twins to 15-16 over their past 31 games, and seven games behind the Tigers in the AL Central. At 47-55 entering Tuesday, the Twins are 14 games out of the AL wild card race.

The Twins reportedly have been asked about outfielder Michael Cuddyer (who pitched the eighth inning in Monday night’s loss), outfielder Denard Span and pitcher Kevin Slowey.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Denard Span, Michael Cuddyer,

Control issues plague Andrew Miller in a new way

07.27.11 at 12:47 am ET
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When Red Sox starting pitcher Andrew Miller was called up from Triple-A Pawtucket a little more than a month ago, the scouting report on him was that he had been almost unhittable at times in the International League ‘€” in fact, he had held hitters to just one hit in three different starts that lasted longer than five innings ‘€” but that he also had control issues that could grow once he hit the majors.

Through Miller’€™s first three starts, he had managed to mask these accuracy problems as he kept his walk totals below three in each while maintaining a solid 3.06 ERA. But in every start since those first three, Miller’€™s walks had grown from four to five to six in his last start against Baltimore, during which he managed to not allow a run over 5 2/3 innings despite the numerous free passes. During those next three outings, Miller saw his ERA grow to 4.65.

Following the Red Sox’ 13-9 win over the Royals on Tuesday, during which Miller walked only two in 3 2/3 innings but allowed seven runs (five earned) on a season-high nine hits, the southpaw admitted that control was again a factor, although in a different fashion than before.

Miller again showed an inability to throw strikes early in counts. In fact, 13 of the first pitches he threw to the 22 batters he faced were called balls. In the fourth, he started down in the count to Alex Gordon (1-0) and Billy Butler (2-1) before each hit a home run.

This time, instead of his inaccuracies leading to balls off the plate, they led to pitches where Miller tried to force a strike well within the strike zone, which made for easy hitting on the part of the Royals hitters.

‘€œI felt like I just seemed to dig myself a hole for every at-bat,’€ Miller said. ‘€œTrying to come back from 2-0 and 3-1 turns into a lot of hits and long innings. That’€™s what you’€™re trying to avoid.’€

Red Sox manager Terry Francona thought the issue came down to one particular pitch in the lefty’€™s repertoire.

‘€œHe didn’€™t locate his fastball very well,’€ the skipper said. ‘€œThrew some good changeups, but he just missed. Then, he didn’€™t follow [catcher Jason Varitek‘€™s] glove very much. Velocity was good. Came out of his hand really nice. Actually stayed in his delivery pretty well. Just didn’€™t throw the ball where he wanted to.’€ Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: andrew miller,

Closing Time: Red Sox offense proves it’s as easy as 3-4-5

07.26.11 at 11:02 pm ET
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They are considered the faces of the organization. Two old, one new. But Tuesday night, they were the heart and soul of the order.

Adrian Gonzalez, Dustin Pedroia and David Ortiz ‘€“ the Red Sox 3-4-5 hitters Tuesday in that order ‘€“ were a combined 10-for-13 at the plate with nine RBI in Boston’€™s big 13-9 win over Kansas City in the second game of a three-game set between the two teams.

Although they will be grouped together for their efforts, the individual efforts of the three Soxeteers cannot be ignored. Pedroia went 4-for-5 and finished just a home run away from the cycle in his third game as the cleanup hitter. Ortiz set a career-high by smacking three doubles around the park Tuesday night. Gonzalez, who was 2-for-3 with two RBI, showed once and for all that he is well over his post-All Star break slump.

Combined with the other eight Red Sox who saw playing time Tuesday ‘€“ all of whom reached base at least once ‘€“ the trio kept both KC starter Danny Duffy and the rest of the Royals pitching staff from ever feeling too comfortable, forcing the visiting squad to turn to outfielder Mitch Maier to pitch the eighth inning.

What cannot be ignored, though, was the poor showing by Red Sox starting pitcher Andrew Miller. The lefty lasted just 3 2/3 innings while allowing seven runs (five earned) on nine hits and two walks while only striking out one. Although he didn’€™t receive a loss for his efforts, Miller’€™s ERA sunk to a not-good 5.45 following the effort.

Here’€™s what else went right and wrong in the Red Sox win:

WHAT WENT RIGHT

–Ortiz’€™s five RBI were a season-high and the most he’€™s accrued in a single game since he tallied six way back on Aug. 12, 2008 in a 19-17 win over the Rangers. His four hits also were a new season-high and gave him three straight multi-hit games to raise his average back over .300 to .304.

–Maybe it’€™s time for a lineup change? OK now that that joke is past us, consider Pedroia’€™s stats when hitting out of the cleanup spot in his career following his 4-for-5 showing Tuesday night. The stout second baseman is hitting .558 (19-for-34) with 10 extra-base hits (five doubles, one triple, four home runs). Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, andrew miller, David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia
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