Morning Jolt: Race for Bell heats up

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Monday, July 11

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Competition for Bell heats up

Coming out of the All-Star break, teams will begin to line up as buyers and sellers. The reliever market is heating up, and the prize appears to be Heath Bell. The Padres??? closer could wind up in different scenarios, though not necessarily as a closer. The Yankees are sniffing around, given the losses of setup men Rafael Soriano and Joba Chamberlain, and elbow issues that have cropped up with Mariano Rivera. According to one major league source, the Rays are also interested, and able to offer a good package of young players. But the Rays have to determine over the next two weeks whether they have enough firepower to seriously compete with the Red Sox and Yankees for a playoff spot. The Rangers, Diamondbacks, and Phillies are also monitoring Bell. (The Boston Globe)Comment

Plax headed to Oakland?

Teams lined up not long ago to take themselves out of the running for Plaxico Burress, though there will likely be interest. Expect the Raiders to be one of the teams in the [Burress] derby. The team needs a veteran wide receiver, especially one with size. There are questions about how much the club can offer the former Giants star who was in jail the past two years, but if they can fit him under the cap, Oakland could make Burress one of their top free-agent targets. (Pro Football Weekly)Comment

Fitzgerald mulls playing for Vikes

Larry Fitzgerald has gained additional attention in the Twin Cities for his local workouts, which has led to the inevitable question. Fitzergald, though, said he is not thinking about leaving Arizona. "I try to put it like this," he said. "I have one more year left on my deal, my job is to try to help the Arizona Cardinals win a championship and that's my focus. I would like to play there. I've enjoyed my seven years there. If they want to keep me they're going to have the first option to keep me." ... [Asked if he ever thinks about playing for the Vikings, Fitzgerald said:] "I'm good at just coming home and being able just to blend in and just being a regular guy. I kind of like that. So if it happened, it would obviously be a childhood dream come true, but if it doesn't then I won't lose any sleep over it." (Star Tribune)Comment

Must-See Photo

Abby Wambach heads in a game-tying goal in the finals seconds of extra time Sunday to send the U.S. into a penalty-kick duel with Brazil in the Women's World Cup quarterfinals. (AP)

Must-See Video

Participating in the Running of the Bulls is crazy enough, doing so sans clothes is, well ...

SI Vault: More Nolan Ryan

This Day in Sports

  • 1985 -- Nolan Ryan becomes the first pitcher to strike out 4,000 batters when whiffs the Mets' Danny Heep
  • 1950 -- The NL tops the AL 4-3 in 14 innings, the first time baseball's mideseason showcase went to extra innings
  • 1914 -- Babe Ruth beats the Indians 4-3 in nhis debut as a pitcher for the Red Sox