The Mets' signing of Gary Sheffield on April 3 following his release from the Tigers is turning out to be one of the better moves of the season.
05/27/2009 1:11 PM ET
Late pickup Sheff powering Mets
Slugger showing the ability to play more than expected
"If I can get a guy like Gary doing what he's doing in clutch situations -- hitting with men on bases the way he's doing -- it can really, really help settle us back a little bit," manager Jerry Manuel told the New York Daily News.
Sheffield's surge at the plate couldn't have come at a better time.
"He's driven in some big runs for us, ran the bases well," Manuel said. "But I did not envision him as a six-out-of-six games player at this point in his career. That's kind of what we're asking of him, because of the kind of day-to-day issues that we have. I didn't plan to play him every game in Boston, but he played. He's been good. He has been a presence in the middle of the lineup, which we lost [with Carlos Delgado's injury]."
Markakis forms foundation: Nick Markakis and his wife, Christina, have announced the formation of The Right Side Foundation, a not-for-profit organization aimed at improving the lives of distressed children throughout the state of Maryland. The announcement comes months after the couple became parents of a son, Taylor.
"I always said I couldn't wait to have a kid," the Baltimore right fielder told MLB.com, "and now that he's here, we want to do so much and get as involved as we can. It's important for me to lead by example on the field, which I try to do every day I go out there, and once the game is over, you want to be able to go out there and help people off the field, as well."
Dunn takes 1,000th hit in stride: Adam Dunn dunked a single into left field in the second inning of Tuesday's game for his 1,000th hit.
"I think, if you play long enough, and you play every day -- 1,000 hits, I don't really want to underplay it, but to me it's not one of those big, significant numbers," Dunn told The Washington Post. "To me, when you start getting to 1,500, 2,000, 2,500 -- those are some pretty big numbers."
Duke finds results after pitching to dummy: When Pittsburgh pitching coach Joe Kerrigan wanted Zach Duke to start throwing inside more often, he placed an inflatable dummy in the batter's box for practice. Duke now has five wins and brings a 2.77 ERA into Wednesday's game against the Cubs.
"It's opened up everything for me," Duke told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. "It's opened up the changeup away, it's opened up my sinker more. I'm getting some called strikes in there and some bad reactions [from hitters]. It's really taken my game back to the level I want it to be at."
Catalanotto avoids bus rides before callup: Frank Catalanotto was prepared for a second time around the Southern League, but he was recalled by Milwaukee after only three games with Double-A Huntsville.
"I played in that league," Catalanotto, who was added to the roster to serve as a left-handed bat on the bench, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "There are some long bus trips. I'm glad I missed that."
Iwamura out for the season after collision: Akinori Iwamura suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, injured his medial collateral ligament and tore ankle ligaments while attempting to turn a double play on Sunday. Iwamura will require surgery and six months to recover.
"We're going to miss him," manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "He was probably playing as well as I've seen him. I mean overall game -- offense, defense, his comfort with us, his baserunning -- everything has gotten better. He was playing at a very high level."
Youkilis gets new look at third base: Despite playing third base just once this season previously, Kevin Youkilis was able to make the move successfully on Sunday.
"We try to give him a little bit of a heads-up," manager Terry Francona told the Boston Globe. "He has a unique way of going over there and making the plays. We're lucky. It's like [Justin] Masterson being a starter and a reliever. Youk can go over there and play a Major League-caliber third and give us a chance to win."
Young plays through ankle sprain: Michael Young has played with broken ring fingers on both hands during his career, so it wasn't a surprise to see him back in the Rangers lineup on Sunday despite a Grade 2 right-ankle sprain. Young suffered the injury on Friday night while trying to get back to first base on a pickoff attempt.
Young received treatment on Saturday, and most of the swelling was gone by Sunday. He was able to get through a series of agility drills before Sunday's game.
"It's definitely good enough," Young told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If I rolled it again, it wouldn't be good. But [a doctor] said, 'It's pretty much on you and whatever you think you can handle.'"
A-Rod sees average on the rise: Alex Rodriguez has seven home runs in his first 16 games since returning to the lineup after opening the season on the disabled list, but he got a huge boost to his batting average on Monday when he went 5-for-5 at the plate to raise his average to .259.
"I still feel like I have a long way to go," Rodriguez told the New York Daily News. "Today was a good day, but I feel like there's a lot of room for improvement."
Beltran's knee forces him out of action: Carlos Beltran had a precautionary MRI on his right knee on Tuesday and will likely be out of the lineup until the weekend.
"That's why I'm gonna have the test [on Tuesday], and we'll see," Beltran told the New York Daily News. "I just want to make sure everything's fine and it's not going to get worse, and if it's not going to get worse, I'm gonna keep playing."
Wieters promoted after hot streak: Top prospect Matt Wieters is set to debut with the Orioles on Friday.
"He's been on quite a streak the last 10 days, and today in Norfolk, he's 4-for-4 with a couple RBIs," Baltimore president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail told MLB.com. "He's made the progress. The power's starting to come, and he's over .300 as we speak. It's time. He's done what he needed to do at that level. We just wanted to make sure we didn't get into a circumstance where he had to go back. We're reasonably comfortable that this is a good time for him, and we're going to give it a shot."
Greinke once again dominant: Zack Greinke pitched his fifth complete game in 10 starts on Tuesday to improve to 8-1 with an 0.84 ERA.
"It was one of those days you have when almost everything's working, and I was like, 'Just keep it right there. They can't do too much with you if you keep it like that,'" Greinke told MLB.com.
The right-hander beat the Tigers, 6-1.
Milton's victory his first in three years: Eric Milton, out of the big leagues for two seasons due to Tommy John surgery, earned his first win in three years with a 7-1 victory over the Rockies. Milton gave up just one run in five innings on Tuesday.
"It's been a long time coming," Milton told the Los Angeles Times. "I had a goal: That was to be back in the big leagues and pitch the way I'm capable of."
Lincecum remains stellar in May: Tim Lincecum is 7-0 lifetime in the month of May and has no intention of taking his foot off the gas pedal.
"It takes some pitchers longer to get ready for the season," Lincecum told the San Francisco Chronicle. "You find the more throws you make, the more everything becomes second nature. I feel I'm getting into a zone right now. My mechanics are coming a little easier."
Hunter continues to run into walls, bounce back: Torii Hunter left Sunday's game early after crashing into a wall. He left the clubhouse early, because he had to go to his grandmother's funeral. Nonetheless, Hunter was back on the field Monday night, even though he arrived at the stadium just five minutes before the Angels started batting practice.
"I actually felt pretty good when I woke up," Hunter told the Los Angeles Times. "I left a couple of text messages for Mike [Scioscia] and [bench coach] Ron Roenicke telling them I better be in the lineup."
"I've been in the game 11 years and have been running into walls my whole career," Hunter said. "If I would have been gun shy, I would have stopped running into walls my first year."
Pudge sprains knee on play at the plate: As expected, Ivan Rodriguez was back in the Astros lineup on Tuesday night after leaving Monday's game with a sprained left knee. Rodriguez hurt the knee while trying to block Adam Rosales at the plate.
"I just felt a little pop in my left knee," Rodriguez told the Houston Chronicle. "I could have continued playing, but [manager Cecil] Cooper didn't want to take any chances. But I'm good -- I got some treatment already."
Ricky Romero makes return from DL: Ricky Romero was 2-0 with a 1.71 ERA in three starts before landing on the disabled list with a sore oblique muscle in April. After three rehab starts in the Minors, Romero made his return for Toronto on Tuesday.
"I just think he needs to get the eye of the tiger back and get back into the Major League setting, and hopefully we get to see the same results that we saw before with him," pitching coach Brad Arnsberg told the Toronto Globe and Mail.
Shouse lands on DL with elbow strain: Brian Shouse has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a left-elbow strain. The Tampa Bay reliever said the elbow "flared up" 10 days ago.
"Everything was going fine again warming up, pitching, did all my stuff afterward," Shouse told the St. Petersburg Times. "And then, as the evening went on, it was just like, 'Something's not right again.' It felt really stiff, throbbing, discomfort, and it kind of moved to a different spot. So we're just going to get it taken care of now so it doesn't just linger on and go from there."
-- Red Line Editorial