Ben Sheets of the Atlanta Braves pitches to the New York Mets at Turner Field on July 15, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Finally back to action ...
- Ben Sheets last started in the big leagues in July of 2010, and last pitched well all the way back in 2008. When the Braves recently signed him to a minor league deal, it was mostly an afterthought. It was the kind of non-story you usually regard with a scoff, or a comment about how a guy just won't give it up. And then Sheets was rushed to the bigs by the Braves, who gave him just a couple minor league starts to show his arm wasn't going to detach from his body when he tried to clear 80 mph. Well, he started yesterday against the Mets, and threw six scoreless innings against the Mets. Yes, it's just one start, and yes, things could fall apart by his next start. But it's already a heck of a nice story for the soon-to-be 34-year-old.
- Now that the third baseman is on the White Sox, Bobby Valentine still isn't taking back his early-season comments about Kevin Youkilis's effort and attitude. "I think the comment I made early, he made a big issue out of, and I don't think he ever wanted to get over it," Valentine said. Yeesh. Harsh, bro. I'm not really sure how hard it is to just say, "Kevin's no longer a member of the team. He had a long and productive career here, and we wish him well."
- Speaking of the Red Sox, they're finally about to get Carl Crawford back from an elbow injury that cost him 89 games. The $100 million outfielder is coming off a massively disappointing debut campaign with the Red Sox last year, and is probably motivated to prove himself after missing so much of this season already.
- Jayson Stark says the Pirates are becoming serious bidders for Justin Upton, and the Diamondbacks have told Upton that there's a chance he's traded this month. "I said, ‘Hey, this is no different than the way I approached it even before you got to know me in 2010. I listen on everybody,'" Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers said of his conversation with Upton. "We're in the information gathering business. I said, ‘If something gets close, you'll be a part of the process. I'm not going to shock you with something. If something is coming down and I think it's close, there will be a heads up.' I said, ‘At this point in time, a lot of people are kicking tires. Your name is out there a lot, most of it is untrue.'"
- Blue Jays closer (well, he hasn't been their closer since late April, when he first hurt his shoulder) Sergio Santos will have season-ending shoulder surgery.
- Watch super-prospect Billy Hamilton hit an inside-the-park homer ... in 13.8 seconds.