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Trade Deadline: Hunter Pence interest growing?

07.28.11 at 4:32 pm ET
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The big winners in the Carlos Beltran trade could end up being, believe it or not, the Astros. Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com is reporting that more teams are showing interest in Houston All-Star outfielder Hunter Pence after the Giants‘ acquisition of Beltran took the biggest right-field name off the market. The Phillies and Braves are among those squads trying to talk to Houston, although Knobler adds that the Astros were telling teams earlier this week that Pence had a better chance of getting traded in the offseason.

Pence is hitting .307 with 11 home runs and 62 RBI this season but as Knobler states, “his value is enhanced by the fact that he won’t be a free agent until after the 2013 season.” With Beltran off the market, the Astros could perhaps coax one of the RF-needy teams into overpaying for the 28-year-old.

UPDATE: ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark tweeted, “Interest in Pence exploding since Beltran trade.” He lists the Red Sox and Reds along with the aforementioned Phillies and Braves as teams who are looking to add the outfielder.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Hunter Pence,

Trade Deadline: Braves ‘hot’ after Carlos Quentin?

07.28.11 at 4:14 pm ET
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The Braves are considered to be one of the teams on the lookout for a new right fielder and after losing the Carlos Beltran sweepstakes, they seem to be sighting their sights instead on White Sox outfielder Carlos Quentin. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweeted that the Braves are “hot” for the right fielder and that the two teams could be a match given Chicago’s interest in Atlanta’s “young arms.”

Quentin was named an All-Star for the second time in his career and is hitting .262 with 20 home runs and 62 RBI this season.

Rosenthal adds in a subsequent tweet that the health of Dayan Viciedo, the player who would presumably take over for Quentin in the South Side, could hold up any trade between the two teams. The 22-year-old is down in Triple-A Charlotte but has not played since Saturday due to a thumb injury.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Atlanta Braves, Carlos Quentin,

Trade Deadline: Felipe Lopez reportedly traded to Brewers

07.28.11 at 3:34 pm ET
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Infielder Felipe Lopez has been traded from the Rays to the Brewers for cash considerations, according to a tweet from Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times. Lopez played in 32 games for Tampa this season, hitting just .216 with two home runs and eight RBI. He could serve as a potential temporary replacement for Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, who was placed on the DL Tuesday with a sprained left ankle.

The 31-year-old Lopez played in four games for the Red Sox last season after being released by the Cardinals in September.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, felipe lopez, Milwaukee Brewers,

Trade Deadline: Rafael Furcal reportedly drawing interest

07.28.11 at 3:17 pm ET
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A few teams are expressing interest in acquiring Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal before the July 31 trade deadline according to reports, despite his career-low .195 batting average and .508 OPS. FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the Brewers are interested in both Furcal and fellow Dodgers infielder Jamey Carroll following news that Milwaukee second baseman Rickie Weeks may be out two to six weeks with a sprained left ankle.

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark also reported that the Giants have called their NL West rivals about Furcal. Giants shortstops rank 29th in the majors with a .213 average and 25th with a .593 OPS.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Milwaukee Brewers, rafael furcal, san francisco giants

Trade Deadline: Rangers reportedly front-runners for Heath Bell

07.28.11 at 3:01 pm ET
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The Rangers bullpen needs help, and that assistance may come via San Diego. ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark is reporting that several teams are predicting that Texas is the front-runner to obtain the services of Padres closer Heath Bell (29 saves, 2.40 ERA, 1.16 WHIP) to improve a relief corps that ranks just 26th in the majors with a 4.48 ERA.

The Rangers are helped in their pursuit of Bell by the fact that many of the teams considered to be buyers this trading season already have an established closer. Texas manager Ron Washington had harsh words for his current closer Neftali Feliz this week, saying he needed to see “more fire” from him.

Stark also mentions that the Rangers are inquiring what it would take to get other San Diego relievers Mike Adams (1.15 ERA, 0.72 WHIP) and Chad Qualls (3.78 ERA, 1.24 WHIP) as well.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Chad Qualls, Heath Bell, Mike Adams

Trade Deadline: Mariners could re-sign Erik Bedard?

07.28.11 at 2:17 pm ET
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Erik Bedard‘s name is quickly becoming one of the hottest on the trading block, despite the fact that he hasn’t thrown a single pitch in the majors since June 27. But there still remains the possibility that the Mariners lefty could stay in Seattle and re-sign with the team after his current deal is up at the end of the season, according to a tweet from SI’s Jon Heyman.

The southpaw is on a one-year deal with the M’s worth $1 million and is eligible to be a free agent this offseason. He is 4-6 with a 3.00 ERA in 2011 but has missed more than a month with a sprained left knee. He has not pitched more than 90 innings in any season since 2007 and missed all of last season while recovering from Tommy John surgery. Bedard will take the hill Friday, a start that will reportedly be well attended from scouts of teams such as the Red Sox and Yankees.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Erik Bedard, Seattle Mariners,

Trade Deadline: Yankees ‘intensifying’ pursuit of Hiroki Kuroda

07.28.11 at 12:49 pm ET
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The Yankees look to be the front-runner to land Hiroki Kuroda if Dodgers right-handed starter were to waive his no-trade clause.

According to a report from FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal, the Yankees “have intensified their pursuit of Kuroda.” He also notes that the Red Sox, Rangers, Indians and Tigers remain in the mix.

When it comes to Kuroda’s no-trade clause, Rosenthal writes, “he is leaving all of his options open, and will weigh each trade possibility on a case-by-case basis.”

Kuroda is 6-13 with a 3.11 ERA this season.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, Hiroki Kuroda,

Thursday’s Red Sox-Royals matchups: Josh Beckett vs. Luke Hochevar

07.28.11 at 12:41 pm ET
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Josh Beckett has been reminding the baseball world that he can still be the ace that was the runner-up in the 2007 American League Cy Young voting. Beckett (9-3, 2.07) has been near-perfect in his two starts since returning from a hyperextended left knee, allowing just one in 15 innings of work. The three-time All-Star struck out 13 batters in that span, while walking just one. In fact, in his last 44 innings, the 31-year-old right-hander has walked just four batters. Thursday, the AL leader in hits per nine innings will look for win No. 10 against the Royals and Luke Hochevar.

Hochavar (6-8, 5.29 ERA) has pitched through the sixth inning just once in his last five starts. The right-hander allowed 19 runs in that span, and amazingly enough, the Royals provided him 47 runs of support and won all five games. Hochevar picked up the win in two of those victories. With Beckett on the mound for Boston, the Royals batter will have a hard time giving their starter a cushion, especially considering Boston’s numbers against the Kansas City starter.

Marco Scutaro is 0-for-6 in his career against Hochevar, but each of the other seven Red Sox batters who have previously faced the 27-year-old, have seen great success. All seven of those batters are hitting at least .333 against Hochevar, five of the seven have on-base percentages of at least .500 and three of the seven have a slugging percentage of at least 1.000. In a combined 63 at-bats, current  Boston batters have 12 extra-base hits, 13 RBIs and 46 total bases.

The Royals do not have similar success against Beckett. Former Yankee Melky Cabrera is the only Kansas City batter with at least a .300 average and an extra-base hit against Beckett. Jeff Francoeur is an abysmal 1-for-13 against the Red Sox starter with five career strikeouts. Billy Butler has been slightly more successful, and enters Thursday’s contest 2-for-13 with six strikeouts. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Boston Red Sox, Josh Beckett, kansas city royals, Luke Hochevar

David Ortiz on M&M: ‘My heart and my blood is with the Red Sox’

07.28.11 at 12:20 pm ET
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Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz joined the Mut & Merloni Show from Fenway Park Thursday prior to the series finale with the Royals. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.

Ortiz is set to become a free-agent after the season and has made it clear that he wants to stay in a Red Sox uniform.

“We’re walking into a crazy situation after the season right here because I know what I am capable of doing and that has been what I am doing,” Ortiz said. “Even having a tough time at some point around here, I know how to feel things out and bounce back and do my thing.

“With my situation right now, I’ve said it all, I don’t need to say it anymore what my feelings are. My heart and my blood is with the Red Sox. I love being around and I have so much fun playing here and that is why is try and give 160% when I am on the field, even off the field. There are things that I can control, and there are some things that I cannot.”

Here are more highlights from the interview, including what could happen in a World Series game in a National League park when there is no designated hitter, on what it is like playing with Adrian Gonzalez and how good Josh Reddick has been:

On possibly not being in a World Series lineup when playing in a NL park:

When you have a guy like Gonzo, yes. I went through the situation in interleague and not playing. Since spring training I was like you know what, I better figure out how to stay compact when it comes down to interleague, when you have a guy like Gonzalez doing what he is doing. He wanted to play in the outfield because he knows how good the lineup is when I am in it. The situation happens, and I understand that you don’t want Gonzo getting injured. Trust me, his mentality is winning. ‘€¦ It affected me a little bit, going through an 11-game stretch and getting nine at bats’€¦ it affects you a little bit.

Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: adrian gonzalez, David Ortiz, josh reddick,

Red Sox vs. Royals Live Blog, July 28

07.28.11 at 12:00 pm ET
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Red Sox All-Star Josh Beckett will carry a 9-3 record and 2.07 ERA to the mound for the finale of a four-game series against the Royals. The Red Sox bats have thumped the Royals for 25 runs in the last two nights, with Kansas City unable to contain the top half of the Red Sox lineup.

The Sox will look to make it three in a row against Royals starter Luke Hochevar, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2006 draft. The right-hander is 6-8 with a 5.29 ERA this year.

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