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Trade Deadline: Cardinals to acquire Rafael Furcal 07.30.11 at 11:05 pm ET
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According to multiple reports, the Cardinals are on the verge of acquiring shortstop Rafael Furcal for a minor league outfielder and cash. The deal could not be completed until Furcal waived his 10-5 rights (10 years in the major leagues, five years with the same team), which allows a player the right to veto any trade. According to a tweet from SI.com’s Jon Heyman,

Furcal has accepted the trade to St. Louis. The 33-year-old Furcal was hitting just .197 in 37 games, and is in the final year of his contract (although there is a club option for $12 million for ’12).

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Trade deadline: Rich Harden to Red Sox? 07.30.11 at 9:40 pm ET
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According to a tweet from ESPN’s Jayson Stark, the Red Sox are close to trading for Oakland starter Rich Harden.

The 29-year-old has a 4.30 ERA this season, the ninth of a career that has been slowed by injuries. He has had sub-3.00 ERAs in three different seasons, though he has never reached 200 innings in a single season. Harden has made five starts for Oakland this season, the most recent of which had him giving up two earned runs over six innings. He is 2-1 on the season.

According to MLB.com’s Ian Browne, Pawtucket first baseman Lars Anderson is involved in the deal.

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Trade Deadline: Ubaldo Jimenez reportedly close to being traded Indians 07.30.11 at 7:25 pm ET
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According to a tweet from Troy Renck of the Denver Post, the Indians are in “serious talks” with the Rockies regarding a deal that would send pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez to Cleveland in exchange for pitching prospect Drew Pomeranz, pitcher Alex White and second base prospect Jason Kipnis. Renck notes that the Indians’ push is “not just talk” and “has a real chance of happening.”

Renck suggested that Jimenez “could be scratched any minute” from his start Saturday against the Padres, with the New York Post’s Joel Sherman later tweeting that the pitcher was indeed scratched, though Jimenez ended up starting the game. He allowed four earned runs in the first and was hugged by teammates in the dugout after the inning, with Renck reporting that right-hander Joe Gardner was also going to Colorado in the trade.

The Red Sox and Yankees were among other teams to reportedly have an interest in Jimenez, who is 6-9 with a 4.20 ERA this season.

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Trade Deadline: Rangers get Koji Uehara from Orioles 07.30.11 at 5:49 pm ET
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According to the Baltimore Sun, the Rangers have acquired reliever Koji Uehara from the Orioles in exchange for infielder Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter.

SI’s Jon Heyman is reporting that the Rangers will get $2 million from the Orioles in the deal as well to make up for Uehara’s salary.

The 36-year-old Uehara has a 1.72 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in 47 innings of work this season. Davis has 24 homers in the minors this season to go with a .368 average. He has hit .250 in 77 major league plate appearances. Hunter has a 2.93 ERA in eight major league games this season. The Indianapolis native was a supplemental first-round pick in the 2007 draft.

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Trade deadline: Red Sox reportedly after Carlos Quentin, Matt Thornton 07.30.11 at 1:40 pm ET
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The Red Sox are reportedly interested in bringing a couple White Sox aboard, as USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweeted Saturday that the Sox are “pushing hard” for outfielder Carlos Quentin and left-handed pitcher Matt Thornton.

According to the tweet from Nightengale, the White Sox would have to be “overwhelmed with prospects” in order for a deal to be consummated.

Quentin, 28, is hitting .261/.352/.507 with 20 homers and 62 RBIs. Thornton has a 3.28 ERA and 1.60 WHIP out of the bullpen for Chicago.

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Trade Deadline: Red Sox, A’s reportedly discussed deal for Rich Harden and Josh Willingham 07.30.11 at 12:35 pm ET
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According to Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via twitter), the Red Sox and Athletics had conversations about a deal that would send both pitcher Rich Harden and outfielder Josh Willingham to Boston. It was not clear what prospects the A’s were seeking in such a deal, and Olney noted that it was “unclear whether [the deal] has a pulse now.”

Harden has made five starts this year, all in July, going 2-1 with a 4.30 ERA, 30 strikeouts and 10 walks in 29 1/3 innings. He has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, but when he is healthy, he has consistently produced excellent results, striking out more than a batter an inning. He worked for a number of years with current Sox pitching coach Curt Young while both were with Oakland.

Willingham is hitting .248 with a .334 OBP, .455 slugging mark and .790 OPS along with 15 homers while playing left field and DH-ing for the A’s. He has put up significant power numbers in 106 plate appearances against lefties this year, hitting .239/.340/.511/.850 with seven homers.

Both Harden and Willingham would be eligible for free agency after the season.

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Red Sox vs. Royals Live Blog, July 26 07.26.11 at 7:14 pm ET
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For all the latest news, analysis and updates from Fenway Park, join the WEEI.com live blog!

Red Sox vs. Royals

Closing Time: John Lackey, Red Sox turn it on against Mariners 07.22.11 at 10:05 pm ET
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John Lackey continues to lower is ERA, and heighten expectations.

The Red Sox starter turned in another strong outing, this time allowing just one run on eight hits, striking out two and not walking a batter over seven innings. The result was a 7-4 Red Sox win over the Mariners Friday night at Fenway Park.

The Sox got to Seattle ace Felix Hernandez, knocking him out with one out in the seventh inning after an Adrian Gonzalez bases-loaded single plated both Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Jacoby Ellsbury. It was only the second time in Hernandez’ last 13 starts he hasn’t made it through seven innings, with the 11 Red Sox hits marking the second-most allowed by the right this season.

Lackey has now allowed three or fewer runs in four of his last five starts, allowing six runs over 27 innings (2.oo ERA) for those games. He has now lowered his ERA from 8.01 to 6.28 since returning from the 15-day disabled list June 5.

Here is what went right (and wrong) in the Red Sox win …

WHAT WENT RIGHT

– Ellsbury continued his power surge, launching his 16th home run over the visitors’ bullpen in the third inning to give the Red Sox the lead. The homer was the outfielder’s seventh of the month, tying him with Jose Bautista and Aramis Ramirez for most in the majors during that span.

Dustin Pedroia kept his good times rolling, extending his career-high hit streak to 19 games, tying the mark for the longest stretch in the American League this season. He would finish with his 12th three-hit game of the season, boosting Pedroia’s baatting average to .299. The second baseman also claimed his 19th stolen base of the season in 22 attempts, leaving him one shy of his career-high.

– The RBI single by Kevin Youkilis in the first inning made the third baseman six for his last 10 with runners in scoring position and two outs. The hit this time scored Dustin Pedroia and knotted the game at 1-1. Youkilis would knock in two more (one via an error) with a one-out single in the seventh, plating Pedroia and Gonzalez.

Daniel Bard made it through another appearance without giving up a run, this time coming in to retire the final out in Seattle’s half of the eighth inning. He now has gone 22 games without surrendering a run, a stretch that includes 23 innings. It tied Calvin Schiraldi’s streak from 1986 that saw him pitch 23 flawless straight innings from July 20 -August 17.

WHAT WENT WRONG

– Lackey failed to get a three-up, three-down first inning for his 18th straight start, this time allowing a run via a Dustin Ackley single. Of the 123 pitches in big league baseball with 15 or more starts this season, Lackey is the only one who has yet to claim a 1-2-3 first inning.

Franklin Morales suffered through his worst outing since coming back from the disabled list, allowing a three-run homer to Mike Carp in the eighth inning. Prior to the homer, the lefty had thrown 6 1/3 scoreless innings over eight games, giving up just one hit and a walk dating back to his June 28 activation from the DL.

– The Red Sox grounded into four double-plays, with David Ortiz, Marco Scutaro, Carl Crawford and Youkilis all succumbing to the twin-killings.

Daniel Bard on The Big Show: I’m not ‘locked into any one role’ 07.22.11 at 4:27 pm ET
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Red Sox reliever Daniel Bard said that he was open to any role that might present itself in the future, whether it’s closing, starting or continuing as the team’s set-up man, when he joined The Big Show on Friday with Michael Holley and Rob Bradford who was sitting in for Glenn Ordway.

“I’m a pitcher. I don’t see myself as locked into any one role,” Bard said. “Right now I’m a middle reliever, I’m just going to be the best one I can be. If that means pitching in a different role down the road, whether that’s pitching the ninth inning or pitching the first inning, I’m open to it.”

Jonathan Papalbon’s impending free agency promises to have an impact on Bard’s future one way or the other. If Papelbon leaves, Bard would likely assume the closer’s role. But if he stays, Bard was asked if he would consider converting back into a starting pitcher.

“I’ll address that situation if it comes next year. It’s too tough, too many factors that are out of my control to really say right now how I would feel,” Bard said. “I’m thinking about this year. I’m just thinking about right now. That’s not much of answer for you.”

Listen to the whole interview on The Big Show audio on demand page. Here are more highlights from the conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Trade Deadline: Giants’ pursuit of Carlos Beltran slowing down? 07.21.11 at 12:35 pm ET
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According to a report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, the Giants have a hit a sang in their pursuit of Carlos Beltran. The Giants, according to Martino, are now willing to assume most of the $6 million owed to Beltran for the rest of the season but will not give up a top prospect in exchange for the outfielder. The Mets are willing to pay the remainder of Beltran’s salary but want an elite prospect in return.

Beltran leads the National League with 30 doubles and 47 extra-base hits. He also ranks in the top 10 in walks, OBP, RBI and OPS.

Read More: 2011 Trade Deadline, carlos beltran, Giants, Mets
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