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Trade Deadline: Cubs not likely to deal top starting pitchers

07.09.11 at 5:30 pm ET
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With the Cubs reeling and looking to rebuild, starting pitchers Ryan Dempster, Carlos Zambrano, and Matt Garza have been targeted as Chicago’s most valuable trade pieces. However, Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times reports that the Cubs will more than likely hang on to those arms, since the rotation is their most glaring weakness.

While those pitchers may be off limits, general manager Jim Hendry promised to be aggressive as the July 31 trade deadline approaches.

“Everything we try to do will be designed to try to get better moving forward,” he said. “And there won’t be pieces moved that are going to be integral parts of the club a year from now.”

The Cubs are 36-54 entering Saturday.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Carlos Zambrano, cubs, matt garza

Red Sox happy to see Derek Jeter reach 3,000 hit milestone

07.09.11 at 5:24 pm ET
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Derek Jeter reached the 3,000-hit milestone in impressive fashion Saturday, collecting five hits in a 5-4 victory over the Rays. The Yankees shortstop blasted a solo homer in the third inning off David Price for his 3,000th hit.

Jeter joins Wade Boggs as the only players to record their 3,000th hit on a home run.

Though he is the enemy on the field, the Red Sox were very happy for Jeter in discussing his milestone prior to Saturday’s game against the Orioles.

‘€œThat’€™s an unbelievable accomplishment. The numbers speak for themselves,” Red Sox manager Terry Francona said. “I think the other side of it is either as impressive or even more, the way he conducts himself and the way he respects the game.’€

Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis expressed amazement at the fact that Jeter was the first to do it as a member of the Yankees.

“It’s awesome. I’m very happy for him,” Youkilis said. “He’s a great guy, a great player. It’s unbelievable to think that with 3,000 hits, he’s the first Yankee ever to do that [while playing for New York]. If you think of the history of the Yankees, you would think there would be somebody. Guys have had 3,000 hits, but not all with the same team on the Yankees. It’s remarkable.

“It couldn’t happen to a better guy for the game of baseball. He definitely represents baseball well and does a lot of good things. He’s well-deserving of it. To have a home run on it is even cooler.”

Francona has known Jeter for quite some time, and said he was glad to see him become the 28th member of the 3,000-hit club.

“If you like baseball, he’s a lot of what’s good in baseball,” Francona said. “He respects the game, he plays the game right. He makes me proud for the way he goes about his business. I’ve seen him since the fall league and he was 19 years old, he’€™s still the same kid. He always plays the game right, treats people right and tries to beat your brains out.’€

Ryan Hannable contributed to this report.

Read More: David Price, Derek Jeter, Kevin Youkilis, Terry Francona

Side session for Josh Beckett on Sunday

07.09.11 at 5:09 pm ET
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After Red Sox starter Josh Beckett left Friday night’s game with a hyperextended left knee after the fifth inning, manager Terry Francona said Beckett will throw a side session Sunday morning. The team will then reevaluate him and decide how they want to proceed with the right-hander.

Francona said Beckett is scheduled to appear in Tuesday’s All-Star game, but that Sunday could play a role in whether he can or cannot go.

“Obviously, not just for his start going forward with us, but with All-Star ramifications, you don’€™t want to hold up the league. They’ve got their hands full as it is,” Francona said before Saturday night’s game. “If he’€™s OK, he’€™s OK. If he needs to hold off then we will do that also. We respect the All-Star stuff, but we also have an obligation to our team.’€

On the season, Beckett has an 8-3 record and a 2.27 ERA. He has a WHIP of 0.95 and 94 strikeouts.

Read More: Josh Beckett, Terry Francona,

David Ortiz thinks Kevin Gregg is the one who should play the game right

07.09.11 at 5:05 pm ET
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Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz said Saturday that he does not “feel proud” of the eighth-inning altercation between the Sox and Orioles in Friday’s 10-3 Boston win. After hitting a fly ball, Ortiz went after and took a swing at Baltimore pitcher Kevin Gregg for yelling at the DH to run the bases. While Ortiz figures he will be suspended for the incident, he said he doesn’t feel it was his fault.

“I know MLB is going to take some action about it,” Ortiz said. “It’s something that everybody’s aware of. It all depends on what they’re feeling like doing, but I wasn’t the one that started this. I don’t think I was.”

Ortiz said that Gregg, whose throwing inside on him throughout the at-bat led to a previous argument, provoked him with his actions.

“This is a guy that I always face. He never pitches in, so he threw a whole bunch of pitches inside, and I’m pretty sure he was trying to hit me, no question about that,” Ortiz said of Gregg. “After that, I hit the fly ball and he started screaming at me. I ain’t going to take that like a little [kid]. Everybody’s a grown-[up] man here, and you’ve got to be aware of the situation.”

Following the game, Gregg said he yelled at Ortiz because he wanted him to “play the game right.” In looking back at the situation, Ortiz used Gregg’s own logic against him.

“I respect everybody the same,” Ortiz said. “If you’re getting your [butt] kicked, there’s nothing you can do but play better. You can’t be acting stupid out there just because you’re getting beat up. There’s a reason you’re getting beat up. You’re not playing the game the way it’s supposed to be. Play the game the way it’s supposed to be, and you’re not going to get beat up.

“Don’t be blaming it on , ‘Oh, you guys think you’re better than us,’ and this and that,” Ortiz continued. “I have a lot of friends on that ball club. I don’t like to be going through situations like that. It’s just horrible. It’s not like we’re trying to show up nobody. You play the game. We got our [butts] kicked at the beginning of the season. We don’t blame nobody but us. Then we started figuring things out and played better. Nobody is looking over their shoulders at no one. Play the game right, and you will earn respect.”

Ortiz also didn’t see where Gregg had any grounds to tell him what to do in the batters box.

“When has he been a hitter? When was the last time he swung a bat?” Ortiz asked. “He doesn’t know anything about that. When you start situations, you’ve got to be aware of what is coming up next.”

While the DH said he called O’s reliever Brad Bergesen after hitting him with a line drive, he has no plans of talking to Gregg.

“Why should I? It’s over,” Ortiz said. “I put that behind me.”

As for when suspensions get handed out, manager Terry Francona said the league could notify them following the All-Star break.

“It’s a nice thing for the league, I don’t think they want to be talking about what happened last night,” Francona said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we didn’t hear anything until [after the break].”

Read More: Brad Bergesen, David Ortiz, kevin gregg,

Curt Schilling on Mustard & Johnson: Talking David Ortiz fight, Derek Jeter

07.09.11 at 4:53 pm ET
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ESPN analyst Curt Schilling called in to Mustard & Johnson Saturday afternoon to add his two cents on Derek Jeter, Roger Clemens, and last night’s Red Sox-Orioles brawl. You can listen to the full conversation on the Mustard & Johnson audio on demand page.

Schilling’s first order of business was setting the record straight on one of baseball’s unwritten rules. According to the former Red Sox ace, David Ortiz should not have swung on a 3-0 pitch in the ninth inning of Friday’s game, echoing the opinion of Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis.

“The 3-0 swing, that is one of those [unwritten rules] that absolutely exists and the problem is that you don’t know what the rules are from a score perspective,” Schilling said. “When you’re beating somebody 6-0 in the ninth inning with one out, you don’t swing 3-0. I never knew where the line was drawn there. I don’t remember ever having anybody do it to me but it is an unwritten rule. It’s almost like kneeling on the [football] late in the game. There are certain situations where you take your foot off the gas, you’ve got a team beat. You don’t want to embarrass them.

“It’s tough because you don’t want to stop playing the game because that’s when somebody gets a catastrophic injury,” he continued. “But at the same time — I’ll use an example in playing and coaching Summer ball and little league — you’re beating somebody 15-0 and there’s a runner on third, you tell the runner on third, ‘Just stay here unless there’s a hit.’ You don’t run on passed balls. I don’t know where that starts and stops from a maturation standpoint but I know in the big leagues it’s hard to take your foot off the gas and you don’t want people to get hurt when they do it. It’s a challenge.”

Ortiz flied the 3-0 pitch out to center field, and after hearing a few choice words from Orioles pitcher Kevin Gregg, he decided to charge the mound, narrowly missing with a couple of heavy haymakers. Schilling said he wasn’t surprised at Big Papi’s reaction, although he didn’t necessarily support it.

“I knew [Ortiz] wasn’t going to continue running [to first],” said Schilling. “That happened exactly the way you would expect it to happen at that point. He’s [upset] because [Gregg] threw some balls uncomfortably in. The challenge is you’re going to lose him for a period of games … Do you expect guys in the heat of the moment to sit back and go, ‘Well, I might cost my team.’ I would tell you yes. There are points in time when you do bite your tongue and you do turn right instead of turn left. I don’t know if last night was one of them, but the fact of the matter is when that stuff happens you have to trust that you have a pitching staff of guys that can take care of a situation down the road. Especially in the [American League] East. You play each other 19 times. If there’s a problem, I’m going to see enough guys enough times to make sure we’re even. The score’s even at the end of the year.” Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Curt Schilling,

Trade Deadline: Yankees in mix for Joakim Soria

07.09.11 at 4:00 pm ET
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According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Royals are willing to deal closer Joakim Soria before the July 31 trade deadline, and the Yankees are a prime candidate for a potential deal.

The Royals have shown interest in several New York catching prospects, including Jesus Montero, Gary Sanchez, Austin Romine, and J.R. Murphy. The Yankees pursued Soria during last year’s trade deadline, but the Royals were not nearly as interested in New York’s trade pieces. The Rangers could also be a possible destination for the closer because of Texas’ front-end pitching prospects.

Soria is a two-time All-Star, but he’s struggled this season with five blown saves and a 4.14 ERA.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, jesus montero, Joakim Soria, Yankees

Saturday’s Red Sox-Orioles matchups: John Lackey vs. Baltimore

07.09.11 at 3:42 pm ET
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John Lackey has been worse than imaginable in 2011. Coming off a down year in 2010, he was expected to be, at the very least, productive. Lackey (5-8, 7.47) has failed to pitch into the sixth inning in six of his 13 starts this season. Most recently, the 32-year-old managed just 2 1/3 frames against the Blue Jays on July 4, allowing seven runs (all earned) on nine hits. And what’s worse, the Red Sox are stuck with him. With Daisuke Matsuzaka out for the year and Clay Buchholz and Jon Lester on the shelf, manager Terry Francona has no choice, but to send the struggling veteran to the mound every fifth game.

And though it may seem like he was just out there to many of the Fenway Faithful, he will be starting Saturday’s game against the Orioles. Excluding Nick Markakis, Baltimore batters have not seen a lot of success against Lackey. In 80 plate appearances, those players are just 17-for-75 (.227) and have accounted for just two extra base hits (no home runs). Markakis on the other hand is .351 in 37 at-bats against Lackey, with three doubles and two RBIs.

Orioles vs. John Lackey

Nick Markakis (42 plate appearances): .351 BA/.429 OBP/.432 SLG, 3 doubles, 2 RBIs, 5 walks, 9 strikeouts

Adam Jones (28): .222/.214/.296, 1 triple, 1 RBI, 9 strikeouts

Matt Wieters (15): .267/.267/.267, 2 RBIs, 2 strikeouts

Felix Pie (6): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Nolan Reimold (6): .167/.167/.167, 1 strikeout

Mark Reynolds (6): .200/.333/.200, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts

Craig Tatum (6): .250/.500/.250, 2 walks

Robert Andino (4): .500/.500/.500, 1 strikeout

Valdimir Guerrero (3): .500/.667/.500, 1 walk, 1 strikeout

J.J. Hardy (3): .000/.000/.000, 1 strikeout

Derrek Lee (3): .333/.333/.667, 1 double, 1 strikeout

Read More: Boston Red Sox, john lackey,
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