Tigers, White Sox, Twins poised to do battle down the stretch
Other than a one-day, half-game hiccup in late June, the Twins have ruled the American League Central since the season's second week, residing in first place from April 12 through July 4. But now that they've fallen to third place behind both the Tigers and the White Sox, the Twins may have the added incentive they need to go out and land a staff ace such as Seattle's Cliff Lee.
They could certainly use his help. Since the start of June the Twins are just 14-19, during which time their starters' ERA has jumped from 4.01 in April and May to 5.00 in June and July. With the team's increased revenue thanks to Target Field, not to mention the reported insurance policy the club had on injured closer Joe Nathan and his $11.25 million contract, the Twins probably have the money to land a big name at the deadline. And with talented (though slumping) catching prospect Wilson Ramos being blocked at the major-league level by Joe Mauer, Minnesota could be a good match with Seattle on a trade for the lefty ace.
The Tigers and White Sox won't remain idle -- and some reports suggest Chicago is heavily interested in Washington's Adam Dunn -- but the challenge of supplanting the Twins as AL Central champs will much greater if Lee lands in the Twin Cities.
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|less than pleased and, ergo, the next day Cano withdrew from the Derby. Turns out the team withdrew for him, initially, as Cano learned of his exit from the Derby when teammate Javier Vazquez showed him an online news story. |
Coming off a sweep of the A's in Oakland, the Yankees travel to Seattle for a four-game series where they'll try to protect their No. 1 ranking leading into the All-Star break.
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|owes its official hat outfitter, New Era, a lot of money.|
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|Peter Gammons' Twitter account said as much while one Rays beat writer isn't so sure of the rumor's validity. Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times suggested that Gammons, who is now employed by NESN, the Red Sox' own television station, could have made the rumor up in order to distract Upton. That hardly seems likely, but Upton was just 1-for-8 in the Rays' series this week with the Red Sox, which Tampa Bay swept.|
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|thought he had been traded. Instead, the news was that Infante had made the NL All-Star team, which even Infante himself didn't believe at first. His selection -- despite one home run, three steals, nine walks and too few at bats to qualify for the batting title -- appears to have been the result of NL manager Charlie Manuel's literal interpretation of a need for a multi-position utility player. Making matters worse is that Manuel already had that player in Infante's teammate Martin Prado, who has played every position except catcher and center field in his career. Prado's starting the All-Star Game but could have returned under a new re-entry rule. (Even the sponsor of Infante's own Baseball-Reference.com page disparages the pick.)|
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|U.S. Senator John Kerry -- avoided serious injury Tuesday night. He left the game early with what he described as a "cramp" in his ankle but was back in the lineup the next day. Had Youkilis, who has played 22 games in the outfield during his career, gone on the disabled list, the Red Sox could have filled a DL-only roster that might win a few divisions in baseball: Catcher: Jason Varitek; First base: Victor Martinez; Second base: Dustin Pedroia; Shortstop: Jed Lowrie; Third base: Mike Lowell; Outfield: Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeremy Hermida, Youkilis; Starters: Josh Beckett, Clay Buchholz; Reliever-Manny Delcarmen.|
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