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Monday, July 23, 2007

Trade Rumors Swirling As Deadline Approaches

Fact or fiction: the Yankees will acquire a bat off the bench and much needed bullpen help. All of that and much more will be finalized with eight days remaining until the MLB trade deadline.

Will general managers trade for a big name hitter or pitcher or will they remain placid with the hope that they have the team in place to make a run for a playoff berth? July 31st will determine what clubs are contenders and which are pretenders. The underlining truth is that all division leaders and teams in the wild card mix could use an extra arm and fill a void on offense.

With a very scarce pool of quality players available it will be up to the crafty gm's to find value where most others would come up empty. It's an arduous feat to accomplish, but guys like Kevin Towers of the Padres, John Schuerholz of the Braves, Theo Epstein of the Red Sox and Omar Minaya of the Mets have made a living at finding undervalued players.

Two prominent pitchers that will be available are the White Sox Jose Contreras and the Giants Matt Morris. Contreras, 35, is on course to suffer the worst season in his 5-year major league career. At 5-12, he's sporting a 5.76 E.R.A. and has allowed 134 hits in 114 innings pitched. Still, he brings playoff experience and is the cheapest of the White Sox pitchers that Kenny Williams would be willing to trade.

After ending a disappointing first-year by the bay where he lost 15 games, Matt Morris has rebounded nicely to go 7-6 with a respectable 4.08 E.R.A. He's the veteran leader of a young and dynamic pitching staff that is among the best of baseball. He would be the quintessential fit for any playoff bound team.

Rangers' first baseman Mark Teixeira is the hottest commodity available on the trade market and all indications demonstrate that general manager Jon Daniels is willing to deal his franchise player. For a team like the Yankees, Angels, Tigers or Braves to acquire the power hitting infielder, they must be willing to give up several high-profile prospects.

Dodgers are frontrunner to acquire Dotel who's pitching exceptionally well. Is finally healthy.

Yankees Offense Explodes For 21 Runs Against The Tampa Bay Devil Rays

By David

21 runs, 25 hits, six home runs, a 29-minute ten run fourth inning and close to four hours of constant battering of Devil Rays pitching was all in a days order for the Bronx Bombers as they inched closer to the Indians in the highly combustible AL wild card race.

While training camp does not start till Friday for the hometown Jets , the Yankees got off to an early start as they scored three touchdowns and held the woeful Rays to a field goal and extra point. To put the offensive onslaught of New York into perspective, fifteen teams on Sunday combined to score 21 runs and the Rockies, Mariners, Pirates, Cubs, A's and Padres were all shutout.

Shelley Duncan, brother of the Cardinals Chris Duncan and son of St.Louis pitching coach Dave Duncan, went 2-for-4 with two home runs, four runs knocked in and two base on balls. In the fourth inning with two on and two out against left-handed reliever Casey Fossum he belted a Prince Fielder type home run deep to left field. After receiving two curtain calls by the Yankee faithful, the 6-foot-5 power hitter now has three in four days.

"It's pretty exciting. He has a lot of energy," Rodriguez said. "Sometimes we need that energy, so that's good. I'm happy he's here."

A-Rod, who is having one of the most productive seasons in baseball history, blasted his 34th long ball of the season and climbed one RBI away from 100. In 97 games played, he's batting .313 with a .412 on base percentage and .665 slugging percentage. Rodriguez is now two homers shy of reaching the paramount mark of 500 career home runs.

Left Fielder Hideki Matsui added a regular season career-high five hits and scorched his 17th homer of the season to contribute to the offensive explosion. Before the All-Star break, second baseman Robinson Cano was batting a respectable .274. Since play resumed in the second half, he's batting .413 with 19 hits and a .609 slugging percentage. On Sunday, Robby tattooed Tampa's pitching for four hits, 3 runs batted in and a two-run home run deep to right field in the bottom half of the eight inning.

Other notable contributions were made by Melky Cabrera (2-for-4, two walks, two runs scored and a run knocked in), Derek Jeter (1-for-3, two runs scored and an RBI), Bobby Abreu (3-for-4, 3 runs batted in, 2 runs scored and a solo home run), and Jorge Posada (3-for-6, 1 run batted in and one run scored).

Tulsa Drillers coach dies after being struck by line drive

When any individuals life is cut short due to an unforeseen event it is tragic, but the situation is magnified when it occurs in the public spotlight in front of your players and the opposing team.

Although I do not follow the Texas League with great awareness and never heard of Tulsa coach Mike Coolbaugh, my best wishes go out to his family during this unfortunate grieving process.

July 23, 2007

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- Tulsa Drillers coach Mike Coolbaugh died Sunday night after being struck in the head by a line drive as he stood in the first-base coach's box during a Texas League game with the Arkansas Travelers, police said.

The game was suspended in the ninth inning after Coolbaugh was struck by a hard-hit foul ball off the bat of Tino Sanchez and taken to Baptist Medical Center-North Little Rock.

Phil Elson, spokesman for the Travelers, said Coolbaugh was struck by the ball on the right side of his head, or on the forehead -- "I'm getting conflicting reports," he said -- and fell to the ground immediately.

According to a report posted on the Drillers' Web site late Sunday, Coolbaugh was knocked unconscious and CPR was administered to him on the field.

Sgt. Terry Kuykendall, spokesman for North Little Rock police, said Coolbaugh was still alive when he was put in an ambulance for the trip to the hospital, but stopped breathing as the ambulance arrived at the facility.

"They tried to resuscitate him, but he was pronounced dead at 9:47 p.m.," Kuykendall said.

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