Michaels meets manager's expectations
New Pirates outfielder makes positive first impression
Jason Michaels' three-hit debut with the Pirates didn't surprise manager John Russell.
Michaels' big bat gave the club just the kind of spark Russell envisioned when Pittsburgh acquired the veteran outfielder in a trade with the Indians last week. Before becoming the Pirates' manager, Russell had known Michaels from their days in the Phillies' organization.
"I watched him play and really liked the way he played, his intensity and how he played the game hard," Russell told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review after the Pirates' 5-2 win over the Braves on Saturday. "He gives us a little bit more veteran presence. He gives us the ability to play all three outfield positions. He'll be a nice addition to the clubhouse. He brings a lot of good things. He's a good fit for that role, a nice piece to our ballclub right now."
Mother's Day always special for Chacon: Mother's Day for Shawn Chacon brings him back 25 years when his adoptive mom, Blanca Chacon, found out from a co-worker that Shawn's birth mother was a single mother of two who was considering putting a child up for adoption.
"We just kind of figured we weren't going to have any children," Blanca Chacon told the Houston Chronicle.
The Chacons met Shawn and his biological mother, and, a week later, their lawyers started the process to adapt Shawn. Per Colorado law, Shawn needed to live with them for a year before the adoption was complete.
"We picked up Shawn, and he lived with us for a year, and it was like he had been with us all of our lives," Blanca Chacon said. "He quickly became a part of us. He was a blessing to us. He was just wonderful to have. He adapted really well, and we're just so happy to have him. So when it was finally finalized, it was one of the happiest days of our lives. We've never turned back and never regretted a moment, and he is our special child."
Dempster provides Mother's Day tickets: In year's past, Ryan Dempster gave away tickets on Father's Day to families that have been disrupted by the war in Iraq. This season, with the Cubs away on Father's Day, he moved the event to Mother's Day and offered 50 tickets, including some to families whose moms are serving overseas.
"Their mothers are over there going to war and the families are here," Dempster told MLB.com. "It can be a lonely time for them, so hopefully they can come out here and celebrate Mother's Day. That's what it's all about."
Holm bails out Giants with first career home run: Rookie Steve Holm, a backup catcher inserted after the Giants pinch-ran for Bengie Molina in the sixth inning, made the move look even better when he hit a go-ahead home run in a 4-3 win over the Phillies on Sunday.
"When you make a move early like that with Bengie, you take a bat out of the lineup," manager Bruce Bochy told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Holm stepped up and hits a big one to bail us out."
Floyd makes some noise in return from DL: Making his first start since early April, Tampa Bay designated hitter Cliff Floyd hit two sharp RBI singles off Angels starter Ervin Santana on Sunday. Floyd spent four weeks on the disabled list after having surgery on his right knee.
"It was very nice to see Cliff Floyd bring his 2-iron out on the field today -- he can hit some vicious line drives," manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times. "He makes a huge difference for us."
Floyd started the season by going 5-for-15 with two home runs and five RBIs in his first four games. But his right knee continued to bother him, and an MRI revealed a torn medial meniscus.
Franklin brings new look as closer: Ryan Franklin is one of several relievers that may be called on by Cardinals manager Tony La Russa to close games in the near future. Franklin, who got the call on Saturday in the Cardinals' win over Milwaukee, says he hopes not to change much about how he approaches his job.
"You just play it day by day," Franklin told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "Some of us would like to know we're going to work the ninth that day, so I can know when to start preparing. I don't want to get caught with my pants down. I want to stretch in the seventh like I normally do."
Sheffield to see more on-field action: Gary Sheffield recently made it known that he'd prefer to play left field for the Tigers -- not just serve as the designated hitter -- and manager Jim Leyland has obliged him.
"I feel more like a baseball player, being in the game, getting a sweat going," Sheffield told MLB.com. "I feel better when I'm in tune with the game."
Gallardo faces ACL surgery: Yovani Gallardo will undergo surgery Tuesday to repair his torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported. The Brewers and Gallardo have been seeking a variety of opinions on whether the surgery was necessary or not and have reached the conclusion that it would be best to have it, though it means Gallardo's season is likely over.
Gallardo, who started the season on the disabled list after suffering a knee injury during Spring Training, tore the ligament in his right knee when he jumped over a baserunner while playing in Chicago and came down awkwardly on his right leg. Gallardo was able to pitch the rest of the inning and into the next inning before leaving the game.
Jeter smacks first home run: For the first time this season, Derek Jeter got to jog around the bases after hitting the ball. Facing the Detroit Tigers on Saturday, Jeter hit his first home run of the season in the first inning, helping the Yankees earn a 6-2 win over the Tigers.
The home run came in his 128th at-bat of the season, making it the longest stretch Jeter has ever gone into a season without hitting a home run.
"I'm back in the home-run race," Jeter jokingly told Newsday after the game. While Jeter may not be hitting a lot of home runs, he is still batting .308 with 18 RBIs in 32 games.
Smoltz throws for first time in two weeks: John Smoltz threw from flat ground Sunday, the first time he's done any throwing since leaving his last start against the Mets two weeks ago after just four innings. Smoltz has been on the disabled list with inflammation of the right rotator cuff and a biceps tendon.
"I didn't feel anything [on Sunday], because I only threw 40 feet and 25 throws," Smoltz told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "but I threw them firm. I expected to feel something just because that's what I've been feeling for a long time.
"If I can continue to not feel [pain or discomfort] and expect it's going to be fine, then certainly this transition will be a lot better than I can imagine."
Rodriguez uses versatility to secure roster spot: Versatility has become Sean Rodriguez's calling card. Drafted by the Angels as an outfielder, Rodriguez has played six different positions in the Minors. This spring, he moved to second base full-time and has played that position since being called up to the Majors.
"Whatever keeps me up here," Rodriguez told the Los Angeles Times when asked about how he liked second base.
"He's becoming much more confident in his footwork around the bag, turning the double play. [And] he's got good range," manager Mike Scioscia said of Rodriguez, who saved at least two runs with spectacular fielding plays in the final two games against Tampa Bay this weekend. "Defensively he's going to be an asset wherever he ends up making plays."
Chavez not quite ready to pencil himself in lineup: Eric Chavez continued to do well in his rehab from shoulder and back surgeries and is now targeting a Minor League rehab stint within the next two weeks. Chavez is able to come off the disabled list on May 27. But the Gold Glove third baseman is not quite ready to circle that day on his calendar.
"If I was a betting man, I'd say no," Chavez told the San Francisco Chronicle. "Before you start throwing out dates, you have to go out and play."
Bat switch does Uggla good: Dan Uggla had a big day on Mother's Day, hitting two home runs in the Marlins' 5-4 win over the Nationals. Uggla started off using a pink bat to raise awareness for breast cancer, but it wasn't until he switched to his regular bat that the big hits came.
"The pink bat didn't feel right," Uggla told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "We had a chance late in the game and came back. We've done it a lot to win some close games. It's usually the sign of a pretty good team."
Uggla started the season batting second but was dropped in the order eight days ago. Since the switch he is batting .400 with seven homers and 15 RBIs.
With bases loaded, Ludwick comes through: After delivering the game-winning, bases-loaded hit in the Cardinals' 5-3 victory over Milwaukee on Saturday afternoon, Ryan Ludwick told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that those are the types of situations that he lives for.
"I love that situation. My blood gets boiling. I'm fortunate a lot of balls I've hit in that situation have found holes," he said. "Growing up as a kid, that's what you dream about. In those situations, I feel like the game slows down."
Iwamura riding nine-game hitting streak: For the second straight game, Akinori Iwamura collected three hits, making it clear that his early season slump is over. Iwamura, the leadoff hitter for the Rays, now has a nine-game hitting streak and has raised his average to .253.
Iwamura still does not walk a lot, but manager Joe Maddon told the St. Petersburg Times that the Rays' second baseman will get his on-base percentage up to an acceptable level for a leadoff hitter if Iwamura can add a few more walks and avoid fly balls.
Hernández taking positive approach to new role: No player is every going to be excited about being relegated to a bench role, but some are able to make the best of the situation with a positive attitude and a team-first outlook. One such player is Baltimore's Luis Hernández, who has gone from starting at shortstop to coming off the bench to play either short or second base.
"I think I am going to have more chances to play," Hernández told The Washington Post. "I don't get sad, I don't get mad. I feel great. I am still on the team, and I feel like I am going to have a chance and they want me to play. The good thing I have is I'm still young. I am still learning baseball and I have a long way to go."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.