Larkin would replace Guzman for the year

Updated: July 19, 2005, 11:18 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Washington Nationals: With Cristian Guzman struggling mightily at the plate, Nationals general manager Jim Bowden has placed a call to the retired Barry Larkin to help fill the void.

Larkin, a Nationals special assistant and 12-time All-Star, had been asked to assist Guzman at the plate twice this season, but it was no help.

"I wouldn't keep calling if I didn't think there was a chance [to lure Larkin out of retirement]," Bowden told the Washington Times. "Would I like to see him put [a uniform] on and help us out the last two or three months? Yeah."

Guzman and hobbled third baseman Vinny Castilla were dropped from the starting lineup Tuesday night as manager Frank Robinson tried to spark his struggling team.

Robinson made the changes a day after what he called his team's worst game of the season, a 5-4 loss to the Colorado Rockies, owners of the NL's poorest record. It was Washington's ninth defeat in 12 games.

On Tuesday, only two position players were in spots in the batting order they already had occupied this season.

"It's not a threat. It's just unacceptable. We can't continue to play like that. If we do, we'll put somebody else out there," Robinson said. "Let's stop that right now. Let's not make that the norm."

Oakland Athletics: Designated hitter Erubiel Durazo will undergo season-ending surgery on his left elbow, and is expected to be sidelined an additional nine to 12 months.

The procedure, known as Tommy John surgery, will be performed on Friday by Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum in Los Angeles. Durazo underwent an MRI that revealed the damage, which was initially diagnosed as tendinitis.

Durazo, 30, has been out of the lineup since May 25. He was hitting .237 with four homers and 16 RBI in 41 games before going on the disabled list for the seventh time in his career. Last season, his second with the A's, he had 22 homers, 88 RBI and a career-best .321 average -- the fifth-highest ever by a DH with a minimum of 500 at-bats.

Durazo played four seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks, including 2001 when they won the World Series.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Catcher Kelly Stinnett was placed on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday, a day after scoring the winning run in the 11th inning against Florida.

The Diamondbacks recalled Koyie Hill from Triple-A Tucson to replace him.

Stinnett singled in the 11th inning and scored on Quinton McCracken's triple. He had strained a tendon in his left wrist on a checked swing in the eighth.

Hand specialist Dr. Donald Sheridan examined Stinnett and said he should rest at least five days -- too long for the club to go with only Chris Snyder behind the plate.

Hill got the nod to start Tuesday night's game against the Marlins, catching ace Javier Vazquez, because Snyder was ill.

Hill, who had played only 16 major league games before this year, was impressive enough in spring training to be the opening-day catcher. But the 26-year-old switch-hitter slumped early, batting .212 (11-for-52) in 23 games before he was optioned to Tucson on May 28. Hill, who had one extra-base hit before his demotion, had seven doubles, a triple and four homers in 36 games at Triple-A.

Chicago Cubs: The Cubs optioned outfielder Ben Grieve to Triple-A Iowa on Tuesday to make room for outfielder Jody Gerut.

Grieve went 5-for-14 with one RBI in two stints with the Cubs, appearing in 17 games with one start. He was called up on July 15 when Adam Greenberg went on the disabled list with a concussion.

The Cubs acquired Gerut from the Cleveland Indians on Monday night for minor-league outfielder Jason Dubois. Gerut joined the Cubs in Cincinnati for the second game of their series.

Cincinnati Reds: Outfielder Jason Romano refused an outright assignment to the minor leagues and elected to become a free agent.

Romano hit .267 with a homer and three RBI in 19 games for Cincinnati before he was sent to the minors over the All-Star break.

The Reds claimed Romano off waivers last year from Tampa Bay. He hit .154 with a homer and three RBI in 22 games before tearing his right hamstring in July.

Colorado Rockies: The Rockies activated outfielder Matt Holliday from the 15-day disabled list.

The 25-year-old Holliday missed 33 games after fracturing his right pinky on June 8. At the time of the injury, he was hitting .291 with four homers and 23 RBI in 54 games.

Holliday is coming off an encouraging rehabilitation assignment in which he batted .538 (14-for-26) with six RBI in seven games with Double-A Tulsa of the Texas League.

Last season, Holliday batted .290 with 14 homers and 57 RBI to finish fifth in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

In a related move, Colorado optioned outfielder Ryan Spilborghs to Triple-A Colorado Springs of the Pacific Coast League. The 25-year-old Spilborghs went 2-for-4 with an RBI in Saturday's 7-6 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Chacon not bothered by trade talk: Rockies right-hander Shawn Chacon is well aware he's the subject of trade rumors. He tried to put that aside during his start against the Washington Nationals on Tuesday night.

"It is hard to put it out of your mind," Chacon said after losing 4-0. "It is hard not to think about it."

He dropped to 1-6 despite giving up two runs and seven hits over seven innings. He struck out five and walked two in what might have been his final appearance for Colorado.

"There is nothing I can control," Chacon said. "I just go about my business. I am sure they will let me know."

The Giants, Padres, Rangers and Devil Rays are interested in Chacon, according to a report in the Denver Post.

The pitcher was drafted by the Rockies in 1996 and has played his entire major-league career for the club, making his debut in 2001.

His career record is 24-44.

Florida Marlins: The Marlins placed right-hander Nate Bump on the 15-day disabled list and recalled right-hander Travis Smith from Triple-A Albuquerque to take his place in the bullpen.

Bump, who was 0-3 with a 4.03 ERA in 31 games, has inflammation in his throwing shoulder. The move was retroactive to Sunday.

The Marlins used five relievers in Monday night's 8-7, 11-inning loss to Arizona.

"We need some bullpen guys. We're pretty thin in that area," manager Jack McKeon said.

Smith, 32, may fit the bill for long relief.

He made his major league debut with Milwaukee in 1998, but didn't get back to the majors again until 2002, when he started 10 of 12 games with St. Louis. He played in Korea in 2003 and caught on with Atlanta for 16 games -- four starts -- last season.

The Marlins signed him as a free agent in November.

Smith was 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA in 11 games before he was optioned on June 24. Albuquerque used him in the rotation, where he was 3-4 with a 5.44 ERA in eight starts.

Los Angeles Dodgers: Los Angeles activated left-hander Wilson Alvarez from the disabled list and sent outfielder Jason Grabowski to Triple-A Las Vegas.

Alvarez has made two starts and eight relief appearances this year, and is 1-3 with a 5.79 ERA. His stint on the disabled was his second this year caused by tendinitis in his shoulder.

Alvarez, a 14-year veteran, pitched a no-hitter for the White Sox in 1991. He is in his third season with the Dodgers.

Grabowski hit .163 in 104 at-bats this season.

New York Yankees: Outfielder Ruben Sierra was put on the 15-day disabled list with a left hamstring injury sustained on a go-ahead hit the night before.

Sierra injured his left hamstring while running to first base on his two-run single in the eighth inning Monday night that gave the Yankees a wild 11-10 victory over the Texas Rangers.

While Sierra said he felt better Tuesday, the Yankees put him on the DL for the second time this season. Infielder Andy Phillips was recalled from Triple-A Columbus.

"I feel much better. So let's see how quick I can come back," Sierra said before the Yankees announced the move.

Sierra missed 24 games after going on the disabled list in April for a partial tear in the biceps muscle in his right arm.

The Yankees also activated right-hander Felix Rodriguez from the disabled list and sent left-hander Darrell May outright to Columbus.

St. Louis Cardinals: Scott Rolen was back in the lineup on Tuesday, a day after strength tests showed no significant problems in his surgically repaired left shoulder.

Manager Tony La Russa said he'd use Rolen as often as the All-Star third baseman's health would allow. Rolen has not gotten full range of motion back, especially at the plate, but La Russa said he's seen positive signs since Rolen skipped the All-Star Game to take a break that covered four days.

Rolen, 1-for-26 slump, had an RBI double Sunday off Roger Clemens.

"If you look at Saturday and Sunday it looks like his timing is pretty good," La Russa said. "We're just going to make an intelligent decision."

Catcher Yadier Molina, on the 15-day disabled list with a broken left hand after being by a pitch on July 7, probably is two or more weeks from returning. St. Louis had hoped he would be back by this weekend.

"That's why when he first got hit we were all scared to death," La Russa said. "There's a lot of bones in that area and usually if you get there you miss time. So, it's longer."

Texas Rangers: The Rangers recalled left-hander C.J. Wilson from Double A Frisco and optioned outfielder Jason Botts to Triple-A Oklahoma.

Wilson started three games and made three relief appearances for the Rangers before being sent back to the minors July 7. He was 0-2 with an 8.78 ERA.

Botts was recalled Sunday, but didn't appear in a game for the Rangers.

Wilson is expected to be available for long relief and could be a starting option when left-hander Kenny Rogers serves his suspension for shoving two cameramen last month.

The appeal of Rogers' 20-game suspension is expected to be heard Friday, the day after he's scheduled to start against Oakland. Manager Buck Showalter said he expects the All-Star to be available for the start Thursday night.

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