Abreu improves Yanks' playoff chances

Originally Published: July 30, 2006
ESPN.com

BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

The big news of the day was the Yankees' acquisition of Phillies right fielder Bobby Abreu (New York sent four minor leaguers to Philadelphia). Abreu, who has 198 career home runs, joins Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and company in pinstripes, trying to fill an outfield hole created by injuries to Gary Sheffield and Hideki Matsui. The question now is what impact Abreu will have on the AL playoff race.

Abreu hit 18 homers in 89 games before the 2005 All-Star Game in Detroit, where he hit a record 41 bombs to win the Home Run Derby. Since taking the Derby title, Abreu has only hit 14 jacks in 171 games and is currently homerless in his last 132 at-bats.

The major-league record for most homers by a player traded during the season is 24, by Mark McGwire in 1997, when he was traded from the A's to the Cardinals. Even with Big Mac's help, the Cardinals did not make the playoffs.

MOST HR AFTER CHANGING TEAMS*
Players Trade HRs
'97 Mark McGwire OAK to STL 24
'04 Carlos Beltran KC to HOU 23^
'04 Richard Hidalgo HOU to NYM 21
'00 David Justice CLE to NYY 20
*Min. 50 games played before trade
^Made playoffs

ELIAS SAYS
• Phillies second baseman Chase Utley extended his hitting streak to 31 games. It's the first time that any team has ever had players with 30-game hitting streaks in consecutive seasons (Jimmy Rollins hit safely in his final 36 games in 2005). Prior to that, the team with shortest span between players posting single-season hitting streaks of at least 30 games was the St. Louis Browns, with streaks by George Sisler in 1922 (41 games) and 1925 (34).

• The Diamondbacks rallied for a 7-6 victory at Houston after Roger Clemens handed a 5-1 lead to the Astros bullpen. It was the fifth time in his career that relievers blew a win for Clemens in a game in which his team led by at least four runs at the time of his departure.

• David Ortiz drove in a pair of runs in a losing effort against the Angels, increasing his season total to 101. Over the last five seasons (2002-2006), only two other players reached the 100-RBI mark by the end of July: Carlos Delgado (Blue Jays) and Preston Wilson (Rockies), both in 2003.

More from Elias Says

RUMOR CENTRAL
Five-horse race for Soriano
Alfonso Soriano According to ESPN.com's Jayson Stark, two new teams are making a late run at Alfonso Soriano: the Red Sox and Marlins.

Although the Sox are not interested in unloading their supply of young, electric arms, never say never. And no team has more bright pitching prospects than Florida.

Meanwhile, the Nats continue to talk to the Astros, Angels and Twins. But the Dodgers have faded from the trade radar.

More from Rumor Central Insider

SWEEP SENSATION
Cubs complete four-game sweep of Cardinals.
SUNDAY'S TOP PERFORMERS
Carlos BeltranCarlos Beltran tied a major-league record with his third grand slam this month. Beltran's second-inning slam in the Mets' 10-6 win at Atlanta was his 31st homer and New York's record-tying sixth slam in July.

Kevin Mench had a three-run homer and drove in all four Brewers runs in a 4-3 victory over the Reds.

Michael YoungMichael Young was 4-for-6 in the Rangers' 15-2 romp over the Royals to snap a season-worst six-game losing streak. Young (DHing for the third time this year) is 12-for-16 in his starts at DH -- and 22-for-42 in his career as a DH.

FORWARD THINKING: MONDAY
David WellsIndians at Red Sox, 7:05 ET: Boston's depleted rotation gets a boost as David Wells (0-1, 8.64) returns from the disabled list. He will face Paul Byrd (7-6, 4.71), who sports a 3.52 road ERA.

Diamondbacks at Cubs, 8:05 ET: While Brandon Webb (11-4, 2.64) builds a Cy Young case, Mark Prior (0-4, 6.60) is still looking for his first win of the season.

Ervin SantanaA's at Angels, 10:05 ET: Ervin Santana (11-4, 4.25) and Dan Haren (7-9, 3.89) square off in a battle for first place in the AL West. Santana ranks ninth in the AL in batting average against (.239). Haren is seventh in the AL in innings pitched (145.2).

Monday's probable starters

PHOTO OF THE DAY
AP Photo/George Nikitin
Milton Bradley hit a three-run walkoff home run against Toronto, lifting the A's to a 6-5 win.