A's Brad Ziegler all zeroes no more
Rookie reliever gives up first earned run on Thursday
Brad Ziegler finally gave up his first earned run of his career.
The 28-year-old righthander, who joined Oakland on May 31, started his Major League career with 39 scoreless innings -- a feat accomplished only by Al Benton of the Indians in 1949 -- before B.J. Upton doubled home Akinori Iwamura in the ninth inning on Thursday.
"I could have gone scoreless the whole year long and not won the Cy Young Award," Ziegler told The San Francisco Chronicle, trying to put the streak in perspective.
Carl Crawford undergoes surgery: Carl Crawford could be out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing surgery on Thursday to repair a tendon in his right hand. Crawford will need six to eight weeks to recover.
"If every single thing went extremely well, I'd say that there is a chance he could play in a regular-season game," Rays executive VP Andrew Friedman told The St. Petersburg Times. "There's just such a small window that I wouldn't say it's likely, but there is definitely a chance."
Byrd riding a hot streak: Marlon Byrd started the season 0-for-17, but his fortunes have changed. He's started 47 of the past 52 games after coming off the disabled list and batted .462 in August to boost his average to .293.
"When I came back from the DL, I was hitting the ball, but a lot of balls were going right at people," Byrd told The Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I just kept making minor adjustments trying to get better and waiting for the ball to fall. Now I'm just having good at-bats."
"It's finally paying off," manager Ron Washington said. "He just keeps punching out knocks. He's hot."
Manny gives locks a trim: Manny Ramirez got about an inch of his dreadlocks chopped off but was hesitant to cut more because it took so long to grow.
"If I come back next year, it'll be shorter," Ramirez told The Los Angeles Times.
The slugger has been telling manager Joe Torre "It's the hair!" whenever he gets a hit.
Wigginton hitting as leadoff man: Ty Wigginton has four hits as the Astros' leadoff hitter the past two games.
"It's not like I'm going to go out there and change an approach or anything like that," he told The Houston Chronicle. "I'm going to go out there with the same approach I normally do against a lefty, and I think that's what [manager Cecil Cooper] would want me to do. He's not going to want me to do anything different. Obviously, he's put me there for a reason. I'll continue doing what I'm doing."
Wigginton entered Wednesday night hitting .333 against left-handed pitchers with a .444 on-base percentage.
Chris Young finds success vs. lefties: Chris Young is moving up in the batting order when the D-backs face left-handers to help fill the void left by Orlando Hudson's season-ending wrist injury. He's hitting .295 this year against southpaws.
"I'd like to hit him higher, period," manager Bob Melvin told The East Valley Tribune. "With Orlando [Hudson] gone, I need somebody up top who can run a little bit."
Byrd erases memories: Paul Byrd finds himself in a playoff run with the club that knocked his former team, the Indians, out of the postseason last year.
"I want to be counted on," he told The Boston Globe. "The alternative of that is taking the mound when games don't count, and you're not in anything. And that's not fun at all. So I love the pressure.
"I wasn't a big Red Sox fan in the offseason," Byrd joked. "[I was] up, 3-1, and had a chance to win [the ALCS]. So I had to work through some forgiveness issues there, and it took about five minutes, because I couldn't wait to get over here, put on this jersey and have a chance to make the playoffs."
Carpenter gets good report on muscle strain: The pain Chris Carpenter felt in his latest start last Sunday at Wrigley Field was apparently nothing more than a mild muscle strain on the back side of his right shoulder.
"[It's nothing more], which is the best-case scenario," Carpenter told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "I definitely felt good after leaving [the doctor's office] because I wasn't sure what it was going to be. You don't know how severe, you don't want it to have anything to do with the [rotator] cuff, because that's bad news."
Guthrie continues dazzling run: Jeremy Guthrie continues to pitch like an ace. In his outing on Wednesday night against the Cleveland Indians, Guthrie gave up just one run and four hits in seven innings.
That's four straight starts in which he's given up just one earned run. In his last eight games, Guthrie is 5-1 with a 2.20 ERA.
"The way he's pitching right now, I can't imagine he's nervous pitching against anybody," outfielder Nick Markakis told The Baltimore Sun. "With the way he's throwing, we feel like we have a chance to win every game."
Maholm having "breakout" season: Paul Maholm has gone six or more innings in 18 straight starts with an 8-7 record and a 3.69 ERA for his efforts.
"He's coming into his own," catcher Ryan Doumit told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "He's a stud. I'm glad he's on our team. I wouldn't want to face him. You just look at those six-inning starts alone, and you see that consistency. That's a stud."
Edmonds putting doubts to rest: Since coming to the Chicago Cubs, Jim Edmonds has hit 16 home runs, driven in 47 runs and given his usual all-out effort in center field.
"It's a remarkable performance, and let's hope it continues for the rest of the year," manager Lou Piniella told MLB.com.
"I'm just trying to do anything I can to keep going and prove I can play," Edmonds said. "It's nice I can contribute. You never know when this game is going to bite you. You try to think about that day, and you can worry about the future and past when the season is over."
Aurilia now serving as mentor to youngsters: Veteran Rich Aurilia has taken on the role of mentor to the 19 rookies, 14 of them making their big league debuts, who have been on the Giants roster this season.
Aurilia recalled getting advice from Matt Williams and Robbie Thompson when he broke into the Majors.
"Mostly what not to do," Aurilia told The San Francisco Chronicle of what he learned from the veterans when he first came up. "Matt and Robby took care of me and told me how to conduct myself as a professional. I was fortunate to have those guys take a liking to me."
Teixeira not afraid to wait for his pitch: Mark Teixeira has a reputation for watching a couple of pitches before taking his first hack.
"Yeah, but don't give away my secrets," Teixeira told The Los Angeles Times. "If I don't know a pitcher, I'm not going to swing at the first pitch in the first couple at-bats so I can see what he's going to throw me."
Kinney plans for a September return: After nearly two years of setbacks, Josh Kinney says that he's about ready to go on a rehab assignment.
"I have full intentions of being with the club within a few weeks," Kinney told The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "We'll see how my elbow feels. I plan on pitching in September for the club, if they need me, if they want me."
Wright like a kid in a candy store with new tote: Astros closer Jose Valverde has given rookie reliever Wesley Wright a "My Little Pony" backpack for transporting snacks to the bullpen.
"I've been taking goodies out there," he told The Houston Chronicle. "I started with a bag and then a cooler. Now I have a backpack. At home, it's been [packed with] Red Bulls and water. On the road, it's been [filled] with Twinkies, Starbursts, Snickers and Skittles."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.