Fractured right middle finger KOs Jennings

Updated: July 23, 2005, 12:35 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Colorado Rockies: Right-hander Jason Jennings will miss the rest of the season with a fractured right middle finger, yet another injury for a last-place team already struggling to find reliable starters.

Jennings (6-9, 5.02 ERA) hadn't missed a start to injury since joining the team in late 2001. He was hurt Wednesday in Washington not on the mound, but trying to break up a double play at second base.

Jennings was 16-8 with a 4.52 ERA as the NL Rookie of the Year in 2002. Since then, Jennings, 27, has been as consistent a pitcher as the very inconsistent Rockies have had, going 49-43 with them, and manager Clint Hurdle could not hide his disappointment at the news. Only Jennings and left-handed rookie Jeff Francis (8-7) have been in his rotation all season.

"That's not what we put in for, but that's what we got," Hurdle said Friday. "He was hurt trying to make a baseball play -- he plays the game hard. ... It was tough initially to swallow, but one of the things we're focused upon now is moving forward."

Kansas City Royals: Mike Sweeney, the Kansas City Royals' lone All-Star, was hit in the left hand by a pitch in the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday night. X-rays taken Friday night detected only a bruise, and Sweeney is listed as day-to-day.

Sweeney, the Royals' designated hitter, was hit by right-hander Pete Walker.

Ironically, Sweeney arrived late at Kauffman Stadium because he was coming from the hospital. His wife, Shara, gave birth a daughter, the couple's second child, on Friday morning.

Sweeney went on the disabled list in mid-June after he injured his left wrist in a collision at first base with Jayson Werth of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He returned on July 1, but was hit by Aaron Sele's pitch in the same wrist on July 6.

Sweeney, who has been unable to play first base because of the tender wrist since coming off the disabled list, leads the Royals with a .305 average, 13 home runs, 23 doubles and 49 RBIs.

Baltimore Orioles: Baltimore manager Lee Mazzilli was to serve his one-game suspension Friday night when the Orioles played Tampa Bay and reliever Steve Kline began serving a four-game suspension after his appeal was rejected by Major League Baseball.

Mazzilli was disciplined after he threw a tray of bubble gum onto the field following his ejection from a 4-2 win over Colorado on June 19. He was originally given a two-game suspension.

Mazzilli argued that a ball hit by Chris Gomez that was called foul should have been ruled a home run. It was Mazzilli's first ejection since he took over as the Orioles' manager before last season.

Kline was suspended after being ejected following a balk call June 27, when he angrily protested the decision by plate umpire Marty Foster. Mazzilli went on the field, standing between Foster and the charging Kline.

"I thought they would take a couple days off," Kline said. He will be eligible to return for Tuesday's game against Texas.

"You would have liked to have zero games, but you abide by the ruling and go with it," Mazzilli said.

Texas Rangers: Kevin Gryboski was shocked when he found out he had been traded from a team that has gotten back into first place to one slipping away from the top of its division.

Gryboski, who had a 2.95 ERA in 31 outings for the Atlanta Braves this season, joined the Texas Rangers on Friday, a day after being traded for a low-minors starter.

"I was shocked and so were 24 other guys on our team. We had just tied for the NL East lead, then to get called and told I was traded was kind of shocking," Gryboski said. "It was very tough, but I'm a Ranger now and want to help this team."

The Rangers were eight games back in the AL West going into their game Friday night against Oakland, which overtook Texas for second place this week. Atlanta was tied with Washington at the top of the NL East.

Right-hander James Baldwin, a starter-reliever claimed on waivers from Baltimore, is expected to join the Rangers on Saturday. Baldwin will likely be a starter, especially when Kenny Rogers eventually serves his suspension for shoving two TV cameramen.

Washington Nationals: Barry Larkin said he'll take "at least two weeks" to decide if he's returning to the field, The Washington Post reported.

"I've got to try to get myself in shape," Larkin told the paper by phone Thursday. "I'm not worried about my wind, but as far as being in baseball shape, I'd have to get my timing, my hands, to the level I'd need them to be."

Larkin, a special assistant to the Nationals, is being wooed by general manager Jim Bowden to take over at shortstop for the rest of the season.

Asked if he is considering returning because he is itching to play or because of Bowden's calls, Larkin responded to the paper: "It's because Jim's calling me. He feels like I could help. But before I commit to anything, I want to make sure I could help."

Toronto Blue Jays-Detroit Tigers: The Blue Jays traded infielder John McDonald to the Detroit Tigers on Friday in exchange for a player to be named later.

McDonald hit .290 with 12 RBI in 37 games. The backup infielder started 27 games this season, 25 at shortstop and two at second base.

Acquired by Toronto from Cleveland last December, McDonald hit a career .239 in 322 games with four home runs and 45 RBIs while playing for the Blue Jays and Indians.

The Blue Jays needed to make room for rookie infielder Aaron Hill, who is hitting .326 as Corey Koskie's replacement at third. Koskie is recovering from a broken right thumb and ligament tear, and is expected to return to the Blue Jays soon.

Polanco down: The Tigers made several moves, including placing infielder Placido Polanco on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring tendon.

Polanco, whom the Tigers acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies last month, was batting .324 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 27 games with Detroit. His move was retroactive to July 12.

Also, the Tigers recalled outfielder Curtis Granderson from Triple-A Toledo of the International League and designated pitcher Doug Creek for assignment.

Troy's future: Closer Troy Percival said if he can perform "everyday living" functions -- and not have pain from his arm when he sleeps -- he intends to skip surgery and return in 2006, the Detroit Free Press reported. Everyday functions involve anything, he said, "where I have to actually straighten it all the way out."

If he can't pass his own everyday test, Percival said he'd have surgery, which would sideline him for 10 to 12 months.

Percival, 35, was asked if he intends to retire after next year, when his contract ends. "I'll think about that in the spring, when I see how this thing responds, if I'm able to throw again," he told the paper.

The Tigers transferred Percival to the 60-day disabled list. He was placed on the 15-day DL on July 14, retroactive to July 10, with a partial tear of the right flexor pronator muscle mass.

Tampa Bay Devil Rays: The Devil Rays optioned struggling right-hander Lance Carter to Triple-A Durham.

Carter, an AL All-Star in 2003, was 1-2 with a 5.16 ERA in 35 games this season.

"He wasn't happy ... I didn't expect him to be," Tampa Bay manager Lou Piniella said. "It wasn't an easy decision."

Jesus Colome, reinstated from 15-day disabled list, will take Carter's spot in the bullpen. Colome went on the DL June 12 with a right shoulder injury.

Tampa Bay also optioned backup catcher Kevin Cash to Durham and called up catcher Pete Laforest from the Bulls. Laforest hit .270 with 21 homers and 52 RBI in 70 games with Durham.

Philadelphia Phillies: Right-hander Cory Lidle left the team for an undetermined amount of time, the Philadelphia Daily News reported.

The team said Lidle's absence was necessary for "personal reasons."

"I think he's dealing with some issues. It's tough when you're distracted," pitching coach Rich Dubee told the paper. "Cory's had this going on for a while now. I think it's more than he's been dealing with other issues."

Lidle didn't talk to the media after Thursday's game, but the paper reports eight-year veteran was noticeably upset. Lidle is expected back for Monday's start in Houston.

New York Yankees: Starter Carl Pavano threw 45 pitches during a three-inning simulated game Friday in his second session against hitters since being sidelined with right shoulder tendinitis.

Pavano hasn't pitched since June 27 at Baltimore. He experienced more soreness than normal in the days following that outing, so he was put on the 15-day disabled list July 7.

The Yankees are hopeful Pavano will rejoin the rotation next week. One potential return date is July 30 against the Los Angeles Angels.

Pavano is 4-6 with a 4.77 ERA this season and doesn't have a win since May 22. He threw two 20-pitch simulated innings Monday.

Relief help? Reliever Ramiro Mendoza said he is scheduled to resume playing catch Monday after his throwing program was shutdown this week because of mild tendinitis in his right elbow. The right-hander, who had shoulder surgery in January, threw batting practice for the second time since getting hurt last Monday.

Mendoza went 2-1 with a 3.52 ERA in 27 games during an injury-marred season last year with Boston. He signed with the Red Sox before the 2003 season after spending 10 years in the Yankees' organization, including four World Series championship teams from 1996-2000.

Yankees minor leaguer suspended: Major League Baseball suspended infielder Deivi Mendez for 30 games Friday for violating the minor league drug policy.

The 22-year-old Mendez is under contract with the Yankees. The suspension is effective immediately.

He is the 81st minor league player penalized for violations of the minor league drug program.

In three minor league seasons, Mendez batted .232. He was most recently acquired by the Trenton Thunder from Columbus in May.

Information from The Associated Press and SportsTicker was used in this report.

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