Iwamura returns sooner than expected
Rays second baseman is back for stretch run toward playoffs
Akinori Iwamura proved that season-ending injuries aren't always season-ending.
Iwamura returned to the Rays lineup on Saturday at second base, only three months removed from suffering a torn ACL, an injury he was told would end his 2009 campaign.
In his first game back, Iwamura went 1-for-2 with two walks and two runs scored against the Tigers and then added his first home run of the year on Sunday.
"He swung the bat well, ran and moved well," manager Joe Maddon told the Tampa Tribune. "He wasn't challenged defensively, but he seemed OK. In talking to him before the game, he seemed confident. I don't think there was any mental hesitation with the injury."
Iwamura suffered the knee injury on May 24 against Florida.
Lackey proud to join Century Club with Angels: John Lackey became just the fifth pitcher in Angels history to reach 100 wins, as he pitched eight innings in the Angels' 9-1 win over the A's on Sunday. Lackey stands with Chuck Finley, Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana and Mike Witt in the Century Club for the Angels.
"It's a big deal," Lackey told the Los Angeles Times. "The list is pretty short of guys who have done it in this uniform. Those are some pretty big names. It's cool to be in the same sentence with those guys.
"I'm a distant fifth," Lackey, who grew up in Texas, answered when asked where he would be in a rotation made up of the 100-game winners. "Where I come from, you're not allowed to say Nolan and your name in the same sentence."
Strop ready to make an impact: The Rangers hope to use rookie right-hander Pedro Strop -- a former shortstop who missed most of the 2008 season with a stress fracture in his elbow -- in pressure situations as they chase the American League wild card berth.
After starting the season slowly at Triple-A Oklahoma City, he was sent to Double-A Frisco. While at Frisco, he found his groove on the mound and didn't allow a run in his final 10 outings.
"When I got to Oklahoma, I'd never played at that level," Strop told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I was trying to get my rhythm, but I couldn't find it, and I was kind of lost. But I got sent down to Frisco and started to relax, and I got my confidence back."
Bobblehead, birthday all add up for Wainwright: Adam Wainwright is now the Major League leader in wins, picking up his 16th victory of the season on Sunday -- his 28th birthday and Adam Wainwright Bobblehead Day. He felt extra incentive to perform well and didn't consider losing an option.
"I can't do that to the family and to the team and to the fans," he told MLB.com with a smile afterward. "It was a big win."
Scott ready to flip some waffles with new glove: In Baltimore, Luke Scott is still doing his best to learn to play first base, and says he's becoming more comfortable.
"It's just getting comfortable, the repetition," Scott told MLB.com. "It's footwork, the speed of the game, your hands. It's being yourself and trying. You always play better when you have more repetition at something. Things are more relaxed, and you're not rushing everything."
The first thing he's trying to get used to is the new leather on his hand.
"Being an outfielder, I had a decent-sized mitt. But this is different," Scott said. "It's a waffle-flipper. Look at how big this thing is."
Coghlan's hit parade a Marlins record: Chris Coghlan set a Marlins record on Sunday when he recorded his 46th basehit of the month. It is the most hits by an NL rookie in one month since Wally Moon hit 52 in July of 1954.
"I'm trying to stick to my approach," Coghlan told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I've been fortunate to hit the ball hard, and, when I don't, some of them are falling. ... All that stuff is individual. Right now, we're trying to get to the playoffs and win games. That's the big picture and what we're focusing on, not how many hits I get."
Blum back in action after nerve test, MRI: After missing several games with pain in his right arm, Geoff Blum joined the Astros on Saturday in Arizona. Blum underwent a nerve test on Friday in Houston and had an MRI done on his shoulder on Thursday. The tests didn't reveal any significant problems.
"The good news is where they thought it was impinged it's not, so it will heal relatively quickly, hopefully," Blum told the Houston Chronicle. "But they also found another herniated disk [C-7] a little bit further down, which is kind of interesting. I talked to the doctors, and they said, 'If you can handle it, you can play.' I want to play, so here I am."
Hart begins comeback after appendectomy: Corey Hart hopes to start a Minor League rehabilitation assignment by the weekend. The Milwaukee right fielder has been disabled since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Aug. 2 in San Diego.
Hart has been doing running and fielding drills and has added batting practice recently.
"It's tough when you go all that time without doing anything," Hart told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "My legs aren't as heavy as they were a few days ago. It's like coming to Spring Training without doing anything before getting there.
"I've just got to work out all the kinks and soreness. My stomach is still a little sore [from the appendectomy], but I'm feeling better every day. That's a good sign."
Hart will likely head to Double-A Huntsville for his rehab assignment.
Mitre's gem ends after comebacker hits arm: The only thing that went wrong for Sergio Mitre on Saturday was the very end of his start. The Yankee threw 6 1/3 scoreless innings against the White Sox, allowing only one hit as he retired the first 13 hitters he faced.
But with one out in the seventh inning, Mitre was struck on the right forearm by a comebacker, forcing him to leave the game.
"Geno [trainer Gene Monahan] knew it was going to be pretty sore pretty quickly," Joe Girardi told the New York Daily News in explaining the decision to yank Mitre. "The last thing we want him to do is hurt himself. There is some concern [about Mitre missing his next start]. He got hit pretty hard. We'll see how he is and keep our fingers crossed."
Fox plays his hunch with grand slam: Jake Fox hit a big grand slam on Saturday, helping the Cubs post an 11-4 win over the New York Mets. It was learned after the game that Fox predicted he would come up big.
"Fox told me before the ballgame, 'I've got your back today, Skip,'" Cubs manager Lou Piniella told MLB.com. "A couple at-bats into it, I was wondering. He caught up in a hurry."
Carrasco brings arsenal to Major League debut: Carlos Carrasco is set to make his Major League debut on Tuesday night, taking the mound against the Detroit Tigers. He posted a 5-1 record and 3.19 ERA at Triple-A Columbus since coming to the Indians from the Phillies organization.
"I saw him last Friday night," John Mirabelli, Indians director of scouting, told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "He was aggressive. He touched 95 and was pitching at 92 mph to 94 mph in the seventh.
"It's the third time I've seen him in the last 12 months. I think he's made some strides. He showed consistency with his slider and pitched inside with his fastball. I was impressed. He's got four pitches. He's got the weapons. He looked pretty close to being a Major League-ready pitcher."
Greinke throws a one-hitter: Zack Greinke was on his game on Sunday, tossing a one-hitter against Seattle in the Royals' 3-0 victory.
"Things just kind of flowed well," Greinke told the Kansas City Star. "A lot of balls were hit at people early on. Later on, I started to pitch better. [Shortstop Yuniesky] Betancourt made a couple of nice plays to help out."
Johnson could see bullpen in return: "It's happened before," Johnson told the San Francisco Chronicle of relieving after his left shoulder was examined by team doctors on Sunday, "but that was in '95 in the playoffs and in 2001 [in the World Series]. I never envisioned myself being a reliever because it was never a job I wanted to do. I wanted to pitch seven, eight innings, but, at this point in my career, the shoulder is not able to tolerate that."
Hampton opts for surgeries: Mike Hampton will miss the rest of the season after opting to have surgeries on his left shoulder and both of his knees. Hampton tried plasma replacement therapy and rest for his shoulder, but that wasn't enough to get him back on the mound.
"Everything that we tried, my shoulder hasn't responded to," Hampton told the Houston Chronicle. "I just told them that I'll start looking for my options while they get my MRI results. I'll talk to Dr. [David] Altchek in New York to see what my options are and kind of go from there."
Altchek, the Mets' medical director, has performed three of Hampton's previous six surgeries, including two on his elbow and one on his knee.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.