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INSIDE BASEBALL

Whispers

September 26, 2010|Phil Rogers

Bud Selig says he would never approve a system for the playoffs (like expanded use of replay) that he wouldn't use in the regular season ... The Rays hold a tiebreaker edge over the Yankees, which means they'll go into the playoffs as the East champs if the teams wind up tied. Even factoring in Cliff Lee, those teams would much rather host Texas in the first round than go to Minnesota ... Ubaldo Jimenez ran out of gas, which seems to have put Colorado down for the count. Is his 4.29 ERA in the second half related to throwing 120-plus pitches five times before the break? ... Nick Markakis remains one of the best hitters no one notices. He entered the weekend with 43 doubles, making him only the third player in history to have four consecutive seasons of at least 43 doubles. The other two were Joe Medwick and Tris Speaker ... Forty-year-old Craig Counsell wants to play again next season. He'd be a good addition for the Cubs, playing alongside young infielders Starlin Castro, Blake DeWitt and possibly Darwin Barney ... The Astros are giving serious consideration to moving Carlos Lee to first base to open up an outfield spot for Brian Bogusevic, who was drafted as a pitcher. Lee at first could mean the much-traveled Brett Wallace (hitting .208 in 46 games) is on the move again ... The Diamondbacks made a great hire in landing Kevin Towers to replace Josh Byrnes. He says his first priority is building a strong bullpen, and he's already made it known that he'll deal some of his strikeout-prone hitters ( Mark Reynolds, Adam LaRoche, Chris Young and Kelly Johnson) for arms, saying that he likes "contact hitters.'' Towers isn't expected to keep Kirk Gibson, but Gibson has a lot of support within the organization, so don't rule it out ... Two potential matches for Towers -- the Mariners, who are expected to shop closer David Aardsma, and the Athletics, who like Seattle are almost devoid of run producers ... One reason the Mariners would swap Aardsma is that they believe they have a future closer in prospect Dan Cortes, whom the White Sox traded to the Kansas City Royals for Mike MacDougal in 2006, his second pro season. Cortes reportedly was throwing 102 mph at times after being moved into the bullpen in triple A ...

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