Results tagged ‘ Miltary Appreciation Day ’

The Sox bring Griffey-mania

The Pale Hose are back in town for another three games. After failing to make a trip to Kansas City in the first three months of the season, the Sox made their first stop here during July’s first homestand.

And Royals fans will see them one more time next month. Stop number two for the South-siders starts tonight. The Royals have won their last four and are ready to take on the division leaders, so let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Griffey-mania has gripped Kauffman Stadium. Four huge names have changed teams within the last three days and a lot of that action has been in our division. The Tigers wanted bullpen help, so they dealt future Hall of Famer Ivan Rodriguez and we breathed a sigh of relief that Pudge left the division.

8-1 Griffey.jpgThen we woke up yesterday to find out Ken Griffey Jr. might be going to the White Sox. A couple hours later, it was official. The 600 home run club member formerly known as “the Kid” would be in the American League Central.

Griffey got the day off yesterday and will make his Chicago debut tonight. The media has descended upon us here at the K. Its tough to remember when that many media members filled the opponent’s dugout before the Sox took B.P. here in K.C.

They were all there to see Griffey wearing No. 17 (he’ll go back to his customary No. 30 tomorrow) and sporting white and black. Its the Kid’s first trip to Kauffman since July 29, 1999… when he was a Mariner.

Second
One group of Royals who shouldn’t be daunted by the new power-hitter in the division is the starting rotation. Gil Meche set the standard with his win to open the Tampa Bay series last Thursday, hurling seven innings of shutout ball.

Since Meche’s turn, K.C. starters have gone 4-1 with a 2.38 ERA over seven games. The group has allowed just 11 earned runs in 41.2 innings with 12 walks and 33 strikeouts. Two Royals starters hit personal single-game strikeout records (though Brian Bannister tied his).

8-1 Hoch.jpgTonight’s starter Luke Hochevar gave up two earned runs in five innings last Saturday, but was pulled after an hour and 13 minute rain delay interrupted his work. Hochevar’s shortened start conveniently cut his season to this point in half.

Through his first 52.2 innings, Hochevar struggled some with control and walked 32 over nine starts. During his last nine starts, which also add up to 52.2 innings, he’s walked just 10. That’s 5.5 walks per nine innings over his first nine starts and 1.7 walks per nine over his last nine.

Short
Jose Guillen was a late scratch from today’s lineup with tight hip flexors…Mike Aviles leads all American League shortstops, rookie or otherwise, with an 809 OPS (min. 150 at-bats)…David DeJesus is three RBI short of tying his career high (58 in 2007)…John Buck has hit five homers in his last 50 at-bats after hitting three in his first 209 at-bats to begin 2008.

Third
This will serve as a final reminder that tomorrow’s game time has been changed to accommodate the FOX Network telecast. Kenny Albert and Leo Mazzone are in the house tonight to observe and have the call tomorrow. The game is scheduled for 2:56 p.m.

Tomorrow is also Military Appreciation Day. The Royals would like to encourage everyone to come out and support the troops. Camo caps will be given to the first 20,000.

Also: The Royals are sponsoring their 16th Annual Blood Drive next week from the 4th to the 8th at Community Blood Centers around the Metro area.

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Day in, Day out

7-29 Guillen.jpgIt seems like each day, someone new steps to the front of the line to be the hero for the Royals. Last night, Zack Greinke led the way. He was boosted by the offense from Jose Guillen early and Alex Gordon late, but Greinke shut the A’s down.

Tonight, Gil Meche, with a two-game winning streak steps to the front of the line to hopefully be that hero. To see what’s been going on with the Boys in Blue, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Zack Greinke set his career strikeout high earlier this season (actually he tied it), but last night he upped it by one. Greinke punched out 11 A’s. Greinke struck out 7 of the nine hitters he faced at least once. Only Kurt Suzuki and Carlos Gonzalez ended the night without being fooled by Greinke.

7-29 Greinke.jpgMore than his K’s though, Oakland hit only .231 against him for the night. That includes the two hits he gave up before being relieved by Ramon Ramirez. In the eighth, Greinke struck out the first batter, allowed his first walk of the night and then gave up the two hits.

Fans can be encouraged by the fact that Greinke wasn’t satisfied with his outing. After the game he told reporters he was rolling and then in the eighth he walked a batter “for no reason,” which got him into trouble.

Greinke’s solid performance came on the heels of good starts by each member of the rotation, which has owned a collective 2.12 ERA over the last five games. During the last turn, Royals starters have allowed just seven runs in 29.2 innings. Oh, and you know what the best thing about a rotation is? It comes back around again. So good news, tonight’s starter is Gil Meche, the man who started the recent starting surge and the man who has a 2.67 ERA over his last nine starts.

Second
It’s said that hitters will feed off each other. The Royals are doing that right now. They have 10 homers since the break, nine of which have come during multi-homer games. Billy Butler and Mike Aviles did the job on Sunday. Last night it was Jose Guillen and Alex Gordon with homers of their own.

7-29 Gordo.jpgGordon and Aviles both racked up three-hit games last night and Butler, who’s been strong since the All-Star break, was also on base three times, reaching once with a walk.

Butler was at first for Gordon’s homer and Aviles was on when Guillen powered one out despite fighting a nagging groin injury. For Aviles, it was just another run scored.

But statistically it was more than that. He’s the second best hitter in the Majors during the first inning (minimum 25 at-bats). He holds a .467 average which trails only San Diego’s Scott Hairston who is hitting .471 during the first frame. Aviles is 10-for-15 in his last 15 first inning at-bats, a .667 average.

A big Around the Horn shout-out goes to the Elias Sports Bureau for that fun fact.

Short
Mike Aviles is tearing things up among American League rookies (he’s mentioned about half-way through this video which was produced at the break and escaped Around the Horn until now) despite having played about half as many games as the leaders. He’s sixth with 17 multi-hit games, fourth with seven three-hitters, fifth with 22 extra base hits, second with a .489 slugging percentage and he’s first with a .314 average…Joakim Soria tied the single-season saves record for a Mexican-born pitcher with his 28th last night. The record was set by Juan Acevedo in 2002 with Detroit…The temperature at first pitch last night was 57 degrees in Oakland.  A far cry from the hot and stickiness of KC recently.

Third
A big homestand against three playoff contenders starts this weekend. First it’s the Sox (of the white variety) for three, then its the Sox (red this time) for three and then the Twins close the stand out with a weekend series.

7-29 Military Hat.jpgAs we’ve been mentioning, this Saturday’s game is special for two reasons. It’s Military Apprecitation Day with camo hats being given out to the first 20,000. Around the Horn heard today there will be an enlistment ceremony on the field before the game. What is the other big news about the game? It’s been moved from a 6:10 start on FSN-KC to a 2:55 start on FOX.

If you missed it, Around the Horn posted its Touch’em All interview on Sunday with Hall of Famers Denny Matthews and Dave Niehaus. Check out the Ford C. Frick Award winners.

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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Pink = Blue

7-22 Girls.gifToday is a lot of things. It’s Girls’ Night Out. It’s the 25th Anniversary of the Pine Tar Game. And at the heart of it all, it’s the start of a four game series against the first place Rays.

Tampa Bay is bringing the heat to Kansas City with a .590 winning percentage and a half game lead over the defending World Series Champion Red Sox. The Rays aren’t messing around, so we won’t either as we go Around the Horn…

First
Girls’ Night Out brought huge crowds last summer and the demand was heard. So the event is back for another year. It will feature a two-hour happy hour, massages, manicures, players interviews, cheese and fruit and lots and lots of chocolate.

The party is out in Lot H, and lasts from 5:30 to 7:00.

The first 20,000 women through the gates tonight get a pink and white rhinestone Royals cap courtesy of Meierotto Midwest Jewlers. It should be a lot of fun for all the ladies who attend. And we’d bet some of the guys might enjoy themselves as well.


7-24 Pine Tar.jpgSecond
25 years ago today, Hall of Famer George Brett hit a home run off Goose Gossage, who will be inducted into the Hall this weekend. The only problem was Brett used an “illegal” bat. By rule no foreign substance can appear above the trademark of the bat (18 inches from the handle). Well, as Royals fans know Brett was a pine tar junkie. He got it on his uniforms, his helmet and it covered his bats.

The Yankees had noticed his bat was illegal a few weeks before and waited for the right moment. Brett’s two-run homer to put the Royals ahead in the ninth on July 24, 1983 seemed like the right moment. The rest is history. Brett was called out. He went ballistic. The Royals protested. The American League overturned the call. The Royals went back and finished the game on August 18, winning 5-4.

Short
Joey Gathright was put on the Disabled List with a bone bruise in his right shoulder…Mitch Maier, who was hitting .316 with 24 doubles, a triple and nine homers, was recalled from Triple-A Omaha to replace Gathright and will be playing center, batting ninth and wearing No. 35 tonight…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pregame press conference: Gathright’s injury is one that he’s been trying to play through, but because of the nature of the bruise, rest is really the only thing that will help him heal…Also from Hillman: He loves Maier’s ability to play the outfield and said he was one of the best defensive outfielders during spring training, and he definitely takes some of the best routes to fly balls…Two interesting Mitch Maier facts: He was in the same draft as Mike Aviles (2003) and Hillman’s compliments are more impressive because the outfield is Maier’s third position after being drafted as a catcher and then moving to third base.


7-18 Emerson.jpgThird
Emerson Drive is the next huge thing to hit Kauffman Stadium. The country rockers will play a concert on Saturday night following the Royals-Rays game, which starts at 6:10. Along with Emerson Drive on Saturday, Royals fans will be treated to Dan Quisenberry Bobbleheads.

The following Saturday, Aug. 2, is Military Appreciation Day with Royals camo caps. The game has been changed to a 2:55 p.m. because its getting national coverage on FOX.

But none of the festivities are being canceled. There will be several special presentations going on that day and we’re still looking for pictures of your loved ones who are serving our country. Any pics will do, but Around the Horn would especially like to see pics with Royals gear in them. If you have anything you’d like to send us, please do so at blog@royals.com.

Tonight’s lineup:

DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Grudzielanek 2B
Guillen RF
Gordon 3B
Butler DH
Gload 1B
Buck C
Maier CF

Meche P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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The Kickoff of a Rock 'n' Roll Homestand

7-21 vs Det.jpgThe Detroit “Rock City” Tigers are here. And this week, we’ll welcome Emerson Drive back for a full-length concert after their gig singing the National Anthem on Opening Day.

The Royals are rollin’ a bit after their first series win in Chi-town since 2003. And they are poised to take on the Tigers for three followed by a four-game set against the American League East-leading Tampa Bay Rays. To gear up for this homestand, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
It’s been said by people smarter than us that pitching is the currency of baseball. And if so, the Royals just got a little richer. Power-arm Leo Nunez, the 175-pounder with mid 90s stuff, is off the Disabled List and back in the bullpen, shoring up one of the more solid parts of the Club. Nunez made five rehab appearances after being placed on the D.L. May 29th. In his final appearance on Friday for Double A Northwest Arkansas, he pitched two hitless innings, striking out two.

Nunez brings a 1.71 ERA to the pen, joining Ron Mahay’s 1.78, Horacio Ramirez’s 1.15, Ramon Ramirez’s 37-21 Chicago.jpg.06 and closer Joakim Soria’s 1.43. The K.C. pen as a collective whole holds a 3.76 ERA in 296 and 2/3 innings. Opponents are hitting only .237 against Royals relievers.

The other side of Nunez’s activation is that Joel Peralta was optioned to Omaha. Manager Trey Hillman said that he was just the odd man out, someone who has options remaining. Hillman stressed in his pre-game meeting with the press that Peralta was impressive in his last outing and he’s starting to look like the pitcher he heard about when he first came to Kansas City – the trusted man out of the pen who led all relievers with 87 and 2/3 innings in 2007 and ended the season with 3.80 ERA, the lowest total of his Major League career.

Second
If Around the Horn mentions Jose Guillen, it’s usually because of his offensive numbers, but manager Trey Hillman was asked today if he thinks Guillen’s defense is underrated. He said it probably is and shouldn’t be.

7-1 Guillen.jpgAround the Horn checked the numbers. He’s currently tied for seventh in the American League with seven outfield assists (the A.L. lead is 10 by Ben Francisco). Guillen picked up number seven after gunning down Chicago’s A.J. Pierzynski yesterday in the eighth. Pierzynski would have tied the game but instead he was an easy out for catcher Miguel Olivo. Guillen’s throw one-hopped Olivo and beat Pierzynski by several feet.

Now defense is hard to judge. And outfield assist numbers can be a jaded number. Mark Teahen was second in the A.L. with 17 last year, but has only four this season. Why? Because baserunners and coaches figured out they can’t run as often. Guillen on the other hand has always had a reputation for having a rocket of an arm and he’s still among the leaders.

Hillman also applauded Guillen’s reads on fly balls (this video is from the Tampa series) saying the slugger probably takes fewer false steps than any outfielder on the team.

Short
Mike Aviles is riding a career high 10-game hitting streak in which he’s batted .432…Billy Butler homered Friday and Saturday, the first time he’d ever homered in back-to-back games…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Look for Leo Nunez to ease back into his bullpen role as an eighth inning guy. He’ll probably be used in earlier innings at first…Also from Hillman: Horacio Ramirez is not available today unless absolutely necessary because he pitched on back-to-back days and threw multiple innings in both games.


7-21 Girls.jpgThird
Lots of news on the television and promotions side. This homestand is packed with specials, starting with 20,000 powder blue Frank White tees to be given out tomorrow, Ink College Night on Wednesday, Girls Night Out on Thursday, Fireworks and Buck Night on Friday, Dan Quisenberry Bobbleheads and Emerson Drive playing on Saturday and finally the Sprint Fun Run and Autograph afternoon on Sunday.

The Royals announced earlier this month that the August 2 game versus the White Sox is being moved from a 6:10 start to a 2:55 game to accommodate national coverage on FOX. Because of the loss of a TV date, FSN Kansas City is adding September 18 versus Seattle. The game time for that game is 1:10, with Royals Live starting at 12:30.

Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events. If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Here’s tonight’s lineup:

DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Butler DH
Guillen RF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Gload 1B
Buck C
Gathright CF

Hochevar P

Today’s Official Game Notes.

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The most exciting play in baseball

It happened again last night. Mark Teahen can motor around those bases. He has a pair of inside-the-park homers this season. Teahen’s gallop around the base paths was the icing on the cake for a come-from-behind win over the Sox.

A lot of plays in baseball can be exciting. Around the Horn double plays are a favorite here, for obvious reasons. Triple plays are much rarer and maybe more exciting.

7-11 Teahen.jpgAround the Horn did a little informal Internet research today, scouring a few Internet message boards, random polls and listening to some talk radio and the consensus is in on baseball’s most exciting play. To find out what we found, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
The common theme for the most exciting play was quick action. Close tags, snap throws, quick thinking in tight games and late innings were present in almost every answer Around the Horn found. Teahen’s journey last night provided a little of all of that.

During the eighth inning, with Jose Guillen on at second after doubling Mike Aviles home for the go-ahead run, Teahen laced a 3-2 pitch into the right-center gap that bounced to the wall. Guillen scored easily. Teahen got on his horse (we love that phrase!). He said he was looking for a triple. So did some of the White Sox fielders.

When Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski tagged Teahen on the forearm, it was just after the Royals’ right fielder touched home. And the crowd exploded.

In a matter of five batters and almost no time, the Royals scored four runs and were set to win the game. After all, we have an All-Star named Joakim Soria to bring in for the ninth.

Teahen’s inside-the-parker was his second this season and the second of his career. His first was May 27 when the Twins were in town. The last Royal hit a pair in a season was Brian McRae in 1992. Willie Wilson holds the Royals inside-the-park records with 13 during his career and five in 1979 alone. So Teahen has some running to do.

But what does he think about them?

To quote MLB.com: “They’re starting to get kind of boring,” Teahen deadpanned.

For some fun stats about inside-the-park homers, check out Baseball Almanac.

Second
Not to be overlooked in last night’s eighth inning heroics is Jose Guillen. The Royals slugger had a hand in two of the runs the team scored. He has 22 go-ahead RBI which is first in the American League (tied with Texas’ Josh Hamilton). San Diego’s Adrian Gonzalez has 24 RBI to lead the Majors, with Guillen and Hamilton tied for second. Hamilton and Gonzalez are heading to New York next week.

His RBI-double was his 29th, which is fourth in the Majors and it came with two outs. Guillen has been exceptional with two outs, knocking in 29 RBI with two men down. That’s third in the A.L. He’s also tied for third in the League with 65 total RBI.

Short
The Royals have snagged two pitchers in the last few weeks off waivers with Robinson Tejeda already making a difference in the bullpen and now lefty Josh Newman being assigned to Omaha today after Colorado put him on waivers…Zack Grienke, who sits at 104 K’s, is the 13th pitcher in Royals history to top 100 strikeouts before the All-Star break(he’s 10th on the list and Dennis Leonard holds the record with 133 in 1977)…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Hillman and his staff have already started evaluating the first half of the season. They had a three-hour meeting last Saturday in Tampa to begin the process…Mark Grudzielanek when 0-for-4 last, still leaving him two hits shy of 2,000. Around the Horn blames itself for jinxing him with yesterday’s post. Our bad, Grud.

Third
Limited spots remain for the Royals charity golf tournament. It will be held on August 7 at The National in Parkville, Mo.

7-11 Hats off.jpgTwo more games follow tonight for the “Hats Off” weekend. That also means two more games of relief support and one more night of discounted “relief tickets.”  Make it a point to get out here (if you can) and support your fellow Midwesterners in need.

Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events.

If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Questioning the Call
Around the Horn would like to ask you, what do you think is the most exciting play in baseball?

Tonight’s Lineup (a change from earlier):

DeJesus LF
Aviles SS
Teahen RF
Butler DH
Grudzielanek 2B
Gordon 3B
Gload 1B
Buck C
Gathright CF

Hochevar P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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Vote Jose

Thumbnail image for 7-8 Vote.jpgJust under 24 hours are left in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote (polls close at 4 p.m. CT tomorrow) and we’re in full campaign mode.

You may have noticed a temporary new look to the team Web site and the ad in today’s Kansas City Star.

Folks, it is crunch time and Jose needs your help. Around the Horn can only vote so many times. Joakim Soria is in. But it’s going to be a lonely plane ride to and from New York if he goes it alone.

Jose deserves this. Kansas City deserves this. Let’s get him into the game and, let’s go Around the Horn…

First
Ok. It’s campaign speech time. And since Jose Guillen is getting ready for tonight’s game, Around the Horn will take over.

7-9 Final Vote.gifDear People of Kansas City, the American League and the World. Jose is an excellent candidate for the 32nd roster spot on the A.L. All-Star Squad. He’s currently third in the League in RBI. The two men in front of Jose and the one behind him on the list are all All-Stars already. His 64 total RBI has already passed the Royals season high from 2007 and he’s on pace for one of the top RBI seasons in Royals history.

Guillen is third in the A.L. with 28 doubles. The Royals team high for doubles in 2007 was 36. The man is a masher. He is the epitome of the word slugger for the Royals. He allows the players around him in the lineup to see better pitches, a positive impact that can’t be tracked by stats.

Yes, Jose Guillen is a star. He can be an All-Star. Now it’s up to you, the fan, to put him in that game. The slogan shouldn’t be “No way, Jose.” Think “Yes way, Jose.” Put him in the game. You have the power.

7-3 Guillen.jpgThank Thank you for your time.

Ahem. Now that Around the Horn is off its soap box, there are two ways for you to put Jose into his first All-Star game: online now at MLB.com, or on-the-go from your cell phone. You also can text the word “VOTE” to 36197 to have the All-Star Final Vote candidates sent to your phone. To vote for a specific player, simply reply with your choice. In Canada, fans should text the word “VOTE” to 88555. Standard rate text messaging rates apply — please check with your mobile carrier for details.

P.S. Guillen is still up for the June Clutch Performer of the Month presented by Pepsi.

Second
The 2,000 hit watch is on at Kauffman Stadium. Mark Grudzielanek should provide a little history this week. With just five hits left, he would become the 18th active player with 2,000 and the 251st in the history of the game.  The last player to reach the 2,000-hit mark in a Royals uniform was another second baseman, Frank White, who reached the mark in 1990.

The current Royals second baseman is in tonight’s lineup in the five-hole after resting the previous two games, though he pinch-hit last night. 7-4 Grud.jpgGrudzielanek is having a heck of a season. He is a career .290 hitter. And the 15-year veteran has been a steady force at second base since he signed in 2006. His calling card as a Royal has been his glove, earning his first Rawlings Gold Glove in year in Kansas City.

However, this year, Grudzielanek has stepped it up even more with his bat. He boasts the 3rd best home batting average in the American League, hitting .367 and his .312 overall batting average is in the top 10 in the A.L.. He leads the League with a .397 batting average against lefties.

If you’re curious, the Sox have lefty Mark Buehrle on the hill tomorrow and Seattle throws another lefty, Jarrod Washburn on Saturday. And for the even more curious13,096 players have gotten at least one hit in the Majors.

Short
Mike Aviles and Esteban German had four-hit games, tying career highs for both (two times for Aviles and three for German)…Notes from Trey Hillman’s pre-game press conference: Hillman applauded David DeJesus’ pair of “outstanding” catches in the outfield last night, noting the fact that the surface was still soggy and each catch came playing a different position…Two Minor League notes: Omaha’s Jason Smith will be one of six Triple-A hitters to take part in the 2008 Papa John’s All-Star Home Run Derby on July 14 in Louisville…And: Jake Kuebler, Alex Gordon’s cousin, hit his first professional home run today for the Surprise Royals. The Royals selected Kuebler out of Lincoln (Neb.) Southeast High in the 17th round of the 2008 June Free Agent Draft…Around the Horn usually focuses on the Royals, but some congratulations goes out to the White Sox Jim Thome who walked for the 1,508th time in his career last night, passing Mike Schimdt and moving into a tie with Lou Gehrig for 15th all-time.

Third
Tonight is Ink College Night. Discounted tickets are available with a student ID. And this weekend, everyone can get discounted tickets while helping out a good cause. The “Hats off Weekend” kicks off with cowboy hats sponsored by AT&T and donations will go to the Red Cross. Saturday, it wouldn’t be Christmas in July without Santa hats sponsored by MLB 2K8 and proceeds going to the Salvation Army. During both of these nights Infield View Level tickets will be on sale for $12 and $5 will go to the night’s organization to help with the severe weather relief efforts going on in the Midwest.

Finally Sunday, is the New. Blue. Tradition. golf visor. All giveaways are limited, so make sure we see you out at the K.

Extra Innnings
The Royals are working on a number of things for Military Appreciation Day, which is August 2. Around the Horn would like to request some help from our faithful here at mlblogs.com. If you have pictures of loved ones overseas wearing Royals gear, you can send them to blog@royals.com and we might be able to use them for a presentation during that day’s events. If not, Around the Horn is also working on a special post for that day and may post some of these photos right here. Please include the name of the person, hometown, where they are stationed and what branch they are in.

Thanks for your help.

Tonight’s Lineup:

DeJesus CF
Aviles SS
Gordon 3B
Guillen LF
Grudzielanek 2B
Gload 1B
Butler DH
Teahen RF
Buck C

Bannister P

Here’s today’s Official Game Notes.

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