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  1. Daily Dose: Carpenter healthy and thriving

    Jul 6, 2009, 12:53 AM EDT

    Some time on the disabled list has kept Chris Carpenter off the NL leaderboards and All-Star team, but the St. Louis right-hander is pitching as well as ever in his comeback from significant elbow and shoulder injuries. Carpenter tossed seven innings of one-run ball Sunday afternoon to beat the Reds while improving to 6-3 with…

  2. Francona: Good manager, poor prankster

    Jul 5, 2009, 7:26 PM EDT

    Boston Red Sox manager Terry Francona tried to pull a prank on veteran pitcher Tim Wakefield on Sunday. The 42-year-old pitcher had just been named an All-Star for the first time in his 17-year career, but Francona called him into his office as if to deliver bad news. As Wakefield described it … “It was…

  3. Quick hits: Phils sweep Mets out of town

    Jul 5, 2009, 6:43 PM EDT

    – The Phillies completed a three-game sweep of the Mets on Sunday as Joe Blanton outdueled Johan Santana with seven shutout innings. The stumbling Mets are now four games back of the first-place Phils. – After being snubbed for an All-Star selection, Mark Reynolds connected for his 24th home run against the Rockies. While he…

  4. Five to keep an eye on

    Jul 5, 2009, 5:02 PM EDT

    Okay, so we’ve taken a look at some first-half standouts and disappointments, now on to some players to watch for the second-half. Howie Kendrick: I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that Kendrick will hit better than .231 in the second half. He did nothing but rake after being demoted to Triple-A Salt…

  5. All-Star rosters announced

    Jul 5, 2009, 3:00 PM EDT

    The rosters for the 80th Midsummer Classic were just released. Here’s a breakdown of the two squads. National League: Starters: Yadier Molina, Albert Pujols, Chase Utley, Hanley Ramirez, David Wright, Ryan Braun, Raul Ibanez, Carlos Beltran Reserves: Brian McCann, Prince Fielder, Adrian Gonzalez, Ryan Howard, Orlando Hudson, Freddy Sanchez, Miguel Tejada, Ryan Zimmerman, Brad Hawpe,…

  6. Potent quotables: Lincecum wants starting nod

    Jul 5, 2009, 11:56 AM EDT

    It would mean a lot — the hard work paid off. If I do happen to start, it will make up for the fact I didn’t even make it to the field last year.” – Tim Lincecum, who missed last year’s All-Star game due to illness, would love to start for the National League this…

  7. Quick hits: Wang departs early

    Jul 4, 2009, 6:32 PM EDT

    – Chien-Ming Wang left Saturday’s start against the Blue Jays due to a sprained right shoulder. While his line didn’t show it, Wang was in the midst of his best start of the season, inducing 10 groundballs and throwing 45 of 66 pitches for strikes. He is scheduled for an MRI later today. Update: Wang…

  8. Five Breakthrough First Half Performers

    Jul 4, 2009, 2:17 PM EDT

    This Fourth of July weekend I’ll take stock of a few breakout performers and duds of the first half and possible breakthrough performers for the second half. First, five breakthrough stars of the first half: Edwin Jackson: Doesn’t It feel like we have been talking about this guy forever? Blessed with a mid-90s fastball and…

  9. Potent quotables: Manny's return

    Jul 4, 2009, 1:00 PM EDT

    “I need a couple more games under my belt. It’s going to take time.” – Manny Ramirez, a little rusty after serving a 50-game suspension. He was 0-for-3 with a walk in his return to the lineup on Friday against the Padres. “He broke Stan Musial’s career record? I’ll go bow to his feet here…

  10. Friday's quick hits – Sheets doubtful for 2009

    Jul 3, 2009, 5:27 PM EDT

    – According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, teams interested in free agent Ben Sheets have learned that he won’t be ready to pitch this year after surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon. When Sheets had the procedure in Feburary, the hope was that he’d be ready to pitch in August. However, he obviously isn’t progressing…

  11. What we're watching – King Felix vs. Wakefield

    Jul 3, 2009, 4:41 PM EDT

    – Actually, we’re probably not going to tune in, but surely many will be watching Manny Ramirez’s return from a 50-game suspension tonight against the Padres. The disgraced slugger went 3-for-10 with a homer and three walks in five minor league games. – Zack Greinke, Kevin Slowey and Tim Wakefield are all possibilities to become…

  12. Billy Butler and the best young hitters in baseball

    Jul 3, 2009, 2:52 PM EDT

    Zack Greinke has obviously been the big story for the Royals this year, but Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star notes that Billy Butler is at least giving fans a second reason for optimism while the team tries to avoid losing 90-plus games for the eighth time in a dozen seasons: Billy Butler, barely…

  13. Juan Pierre fits just fine on the Dodgers' bench

    Jul 3, 2009, 1:20 PM EDT

    Earlier this week an SI.com article about Manny Ramirez’s return from suspension included the following headline: “With Manny coming back, red-hot Pierre forced to grin and bear it.” That would have been true a month ago, when Juan Pierre hit .425 in his first 20 games filling in. However, he batted .244 with a .299…

  14. Link-O-Rama: Mets sign Ugueth Urbina's son

    Jul 3, 2009, 11:55 AM EDT

    * Included among the many international signings yesterday was the Mets inking Ugueth Urbina’s son, 16-year-old left-hander Juan Urbina. The elder Urbina was a two-time All-Star who ranks 30th on the all-time list with 237 career saves, and is now serving a 14-year prison term after being convicted of attempting to murder two people with…

  15. The Indians are on their way to 100 losses

    Jul 3, 2009, 10:58 AM EDT

    The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Starting Blocks blog notes that, if the Indians lose tonight, they will have exactly 50 losses at the exact halfway point of the season. Starting Blocks uses that possibility as a springboard for discussing the Indians’ previous 100-loss teams. Lots of fun stuff in there: 1971, 60-102 Nobody wanted to see…

  16. Francoeur for the All-Star Game

    Jul 3, 2009, 10:31 AM EDT

    I’ve known Sports Illustrated’s Tim Marchman — in that way that people know each other on the Internet — for a year or two now. And I thought we were friends and everything. So why he’s trying to raise my blood pressure and force me into having a heart attack I don’t know, but he’s…

  17. Out of people he can anger here, Scott Boras looks to Japan

    Jul 3, 2009, 10:03 AM EDT

    Scott Boras is considering something unique with Stephen Strasburg: This summer, Boras has another high-profile client, San Diego State pitcher Stephen Strasburg, for whom he would love nothing more than to blow apart baseball’s draft system, allowing Strasburg to be compensated in line with his talent–his asking price is believed to be around $50 million–as…

  18. The Rangers are the General Motors of baseball

    Jul 3, 2009, 9:32 AM EDT

    The Rangers are the General Motors of baseball: Major League Baseball has provided the Texas Rangers access to a reported $15 million from the central fund to help assure a stable environment for the financially-strapped franchise, controlled by majority owner Tom Hicks . . . . . . “Tom is the control person, and there…

  19. The L.A. Times really wants you to hate Manny Ramirez

    Jul 3, 2009, 9:01 AM EDT

    You may not have noticed this given how little coverage it has gotten, but Manny Ramirez is coming back tonight. If you think that means that the media’s hand-wringing and sanctimony about all of this is about to end, well, you’re just not familiar with the media’s work: I’ve never asked Dodger fans for a…

  20. Baseball to raise ALS awareness

    Jul 3, 2009, 8:28 AM EDT

    Baseball will remember Lou Gehrig tomorrow with a nice gesture: Major League Baseball will honor the 70th anniversary of Gehrig’s farewell at 15 games on Saturday, when his speech will be read during the seventh-inning stretch. “It’s an honor to pay tribute to this American legend,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in initiating the leaguewide celebration.…

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