USA TODAY US Edition
American League notes
Mark Reynolds won’t be coming off third base anytime soon despite his defensive struggles there. His defense was a focal point with coaches and instructors in spring training. Reynolds is also hitting .176 (3-for-17) with no homers and two RBI. . . . Class AAA Norfolk (Va.) LHP Dontrelle Willis was placed on the seven-day disabled list after leaving Wednesday’s game becasue of a strained left forearm. In three relief appearances for Norfolk, the former major league All-star is 0-2 with a 4.91 ERA.
3B Kevin Youkilis is 2-for-20 through five games, but he rejected the suggestion that his slow start was related to missing most of the final month of 2011 with assorted injuries, including a sports hernia that required offseason surgery. Hitting coach Dave Magadan attributed the early struggles to Youkilis’ work in reverting to the mechanics he used in 2008. Magadan said the changes involved Youkilis’ stance, hand path and other elements of his swing. . . . LH reliever Rich Hill will continue his rehab by pitching today for high-a Salem (Va.). His first stop en route back from Tommy John surgery performed in June was low-a Greenville (S.C.), where he allowed one run and struck out five over two one-inning appearances.
First-year manager Robin Ventura drilled fundamentals during spring training, and he has continued that into the regular season. The White Sox took infield practice before the first game of the Cleveland series, and the outfielders were involved, too. “I like doing it when we first get to a city,” Ventura said. “I’ve always felt it was necessary.” . . . When RH Jake Peavy starts the home opener today against Detroit, he will be the sixth White Sox pitcher to start a home opener in the last 10 years. Starters are 7-1 with a 3.62 ERA and 42 strikeouts over that time.
Free agent OF Johnny Damon agreed to one-year, $1.25 million contract with the Indians, according to multiple news media reports. He could make another $1.4 million in incentives. Damon, 38, played 150 games for Tampa Bay last season, batting .261 with a .326 on-base percentage, 16 home runs and 73 RBI. He could boost an of-
fense that is hitting .176, lowest in the majors. However, he spent the last two seasons primarily as a designated hitter, and the Indians have a left-handed-hitting DH,
Travis Hafner. . . . 3B Jack Hannahan, who won the starting job this spring largely because of his defense, has a team-high two errors. Hanna
han and 1B Casey Kotchman, another superior defensive player, made errors in Wednesday’s 10-6 loss to the White Sox. “That’s rare, but they
are human,” Indians manager Man
ny Acta said. “They are going to make some.”
OF Clete Thomas was designated for assignment to clear a
roster spot for LHP Drew Smyly, who made his major league debut. “We just felt, with the spot we’re in right now, we have an extra outfielder,” GM Dave Dombrowski said. “Don
Kelly and Ryan Raburn can go to the outfield.”
CF Lorenzo Cain was placed on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left groin. He was hurt Tuesday in Oakland while banging into the wall after making a long running catch. “Let him get 100% in the next two weeks and go out on a rehab for two or three days, let him go get some at-bats and be right back in the lineup,” manager
Ned Yost said. OF Jarrod Dyson, who was hitting .364 with two doubles and a triple in seven games for Class AAA Omaha (Papillion, Neb.), was recalled.
LH reliever Scott Downs hurt his right ankle in the series finale at Minnesota. He was injured covering first base when Twins CF Denard Span stepped on his ankle. X-rays showed no breaks, but Downs was scheduled to have an MRI today in New York.
SS Jamey Carroll’s 0-for-13 skid to start the season was hard on his son, Cole. A video of the 4-year-old crying about his father’s slump made the rounds in the clubhouse Wednesday before Carroll went 2-for-4 with the game-winning RBI. “Hopefully there’s a 4-year-old who will wake up pretty happy tomorrow,” Carroll said.
New York: 1B Mark Teixeira, 2B
Robinson Cano and 3B Alex Rodriguez are hitting a combined .211 (16-for-76) with no home runs and one RBI. “We’re going to produce a lot more than we showed the first six games,” Teixeira said. “None of our numbers are going to wow anybody right now, but we have a lot of confidence that we’re going to do a lot of damage.”
OF-DH Jonny Gomes has had the last two walk-off hit-bypitches in the majors. He was hit with the bases loaded in the 12th inning Wednesday by Kansas City’s Jonathan Broxton to end the game, and on Aug. 21 he was hit by Brad Lidge to end Washington’s victory vs. Philadelphia. “You can hit me four times if we win. It doesn’t bother me much,” Gomes said.
After leaving spring training to open the season in Tokyo, going back to Arizona for a week, then spending a week in Oakland and Texas, the Mariners finally play their home opener today against the Athletics. “I’ve just got to remember how to get home,” manager Eric Wedge said. “It’s been 21⁄ months.”
2 Tampa Bay:
C Jose Lobaton exited after the fifth inning because of pain behind his right shoulder, but he didn’t think the ailment was serious. He said he didn’t know if he’d be out for a few days or for a week. Lobaton is expected to be examined today in Boston.
RH closer Joe Nathan began the season with 107 save chances when pitching without a day of rest, and he had converted 102 of them (95.3%), tops among active relievers. But in both of the Rangers’ defeats this season, the opponent has scored the winning run in the ninth inning. Both times, Nathan was the losing pitcher while appearing for the second consecutive day.
Since going 3-for-4 with
a homer on opening day, RF Jose
Bautista is 1-for-19 (.053) with no RBI. “He’s struggled to find his tim
ing,” manager John Farrell said. “We’ve all been accustomed to seeing Jose just continue to hit balls in the seats, but there were times last year, and I’m sure the year before, where he goes through some stretches where his timing is off a little bit.”