Baseball Report

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Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire wasn’t about to take a chance on losing a starting pitcher during a divisional playoff race.

So in Sunday’s game against the Oakland A’s, Gardenhire removed Kevin Slowey despite the fact that Slowey was throwing a no-hitter. The Twins manager was booed by Minnesota fans for making the move.

Jon Rauch came in to try for a combined no-hitter, but allowed a double to the second batter he faced. The Twins ended up winning the game 4-2.

“I would boo me too,” Gardenhire said. “I took a pitcher out with a no-hitter going. But I would do it 1,000 times the same way.”

Slowey had problems with elbow tendonitis recently, which forced him to sit out his last start. He had thrown 106 pitches through seven innings.

“We’re not going to come close to risking this guy,” Gardenhire said.

Slowey became only the fourth pitcher in the last 20 years to be taken out of a game with a no-hitter in at least the seventh inning.

Atlanta’s Damian Moss in 2002 and David Cone of the New York Yankees in 1996 were removed from no-hit bids. Mark Langston of the California Angels in 1990 also was taken out, but the bullpen completed the no-hitter.

“I was a little disappointed,” said Slowey (11-5). “But I think more than anything I was encouraged by the fact that Gardy and (pitching coach Rick Anderson) care a whole lot about me as a person and as a pitcher in the long term.”

Protesting ‘11 All-Star Game: Arizona’s new immigration legislation has brought out protesters at major league ball parks this summer wherever the Arizona Diamondbacks play.

They don’t want the 2011 All-Star Game to be played in Phoenix, and are urging Commissioner Bud Selig to move it.

On Sunday, a small group of demonstrators gathered outside Nationals Park in Washington D.C., carrying signs and handing out fliers. In the fifth inning, they tried taking their message to the field.

Several protesters ran onto the field. But before they could display a banner, security caught them. The disruption caused about a two minute delay in the game.

StatsWatch: Here are baseball’s top hitters at the start of this week (note that the top five are from the American League) —

  • Josh Hamilton, Rangers, .362
  • Miguel Cabrera, Tigers, .341
  • Joe Mauer, Twins, .331
  • Adrian Beltre, Red Sox, .328
  • Robinson Cano, Yankees, .324

Quotable: “If he doesn’t want to play here, then we don’t want him here.” — Washington pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the Nationals’ No. 1 draft pick, Bryce Harper, who was approaching a signing deadline with the team this week.

Diamond Notes: New York Mets closer Francisco Rodriguez rejoined the team on Saturday three days after he was arrested and charged with third-degree assault on his girlfriend’s father, resulting in a two-game suspension by the club. “Right now the plan is I’m going to be going to an anger management program,” Rodriguez said. He apologized to teammates and fans before the game. An examination on Monday revealed that Rodriquez has a torn ligament in his right thumb. Rodriguez has a court date set for next month.. .Braves third baseman Chipper Jones suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last week while landing awkwardly after making a throw, and will miss the rest of the season. Jones, who has pondered retirement, will go through about six to eight months of rehabilitation. “He was a force, we’re losing a lot,” Braves general manager Frank Wren told the Atlanta Journal & Constitution. A career .306 hitter, Jones was batting .265 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs this season…A study by ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” showed that 1.3 calls per game (excluding balls and strikes) by umpires from 184 games played between June 29 to July 11 were close enough to require replay review to determine if the call was correct. Of the close plays, 13.9 percent were too close to call; 65.7 percent were confirmed as correct and 20.4 percent confirmed as incorrect… Texas Rangers pitcher Rich Harden was placed on the disabled list for the second time this season and the ninth time in six years. Harden, who has tendonitis in his right shoulder, is 4-4 with a 5.45 ERA.

Copyright © 2010 Bob Hurst. All Rights Reserved. Distributed by Hurst Sports Media.

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