Thome holds Alomar Jr. in high regard
Twins vet credits former teammate for teaching him about game
Jim Thome may be a member of the Minnesota Twins now, but he knows a Cleveland legend when he sees one.
"Sandy Alomar Jr. is the man," Thome told the Cleveland Plain Dealer. "I'm so glad he's back with the Cleveland Indians. It's great for the team and the city, and it's great for him. Sandy Alomar is special."
Thome continued: "I can't begin to tell you how much Sandy means to me," he said. "He's one of the finest people in this game. I love that guy. How can you not love him? Sandy took me under his wing when I was just starting out. He taught me so much about the game. I owe a lot to him."
Wigginton celebrates in speedy fashion: After his 10th-inning, game-winning double in Baltimore's 3-2 victory over the Red Sox on Sunday, Ty Wigginton avoided the standard pounding by quickly turning left then sprinting into the dugout.
"Did you notice nobody could catch me?" Wigginton told the Baltimore Sun. "I think I even gave them a little [Deion Sanders] into the dugout. Once I started high-stepping, they weren't going to catch me."
Niese finds his groove with seven Ks: Left-hander Jon Niese had another solid outing for the Mets on Saturday, retiring 17 of the final 18 hitters he faced to improve to 1-1 in a 9-1 victory over the Phillies.
"[Niese] is probably a bigger part of our team and our rotation than he thinks he is," Jason Bay told the New York Post. "He's pitched very well."
The 23-year-old Niese allowed only one run in seven innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. From the second inning through the sixth, he retired 14 straight hitters.
Lowe getting loads of run support: The Braves have scored 46 runs in Derek Lowe's six starts.
"It's fantastic, isn't it?" Lowe told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Those things you can't explain. There are years when I've gotten even better [run support] than this, and there are years when you lose 10 games and they score five runs in the 10 losses. There is no rhyme or reason to it. You are happy when it happens, but you don't go into any game expecting them to score or not to score. I'm definitely fortunate we've scored a lot of runs in my six starts and, as you've seen, I've needed pretty much all of them."
Jay plans to build off stellar April performance: Jon Jay, who is in his first week in the Major Leagues, learned on Saturday that he had been named the Cardinals' Minor League player of the month after a red-hot start to his season at Triple-A Memphis.
"It's nice just to see my hard work paid off, and I was able to get off to a great start," Jay, an outfielder, told MLB.com. "That was in April. Now we're in May. Hopefully, I can start doing some things in May and just continue on. It's a great honor. We have so many talented players in our organization. I'm just excited. I'm psyched to be here and be a part of the team. I'm just here to do my part and whatever role that is, I'm ready. I'm learning and adapting every day."
Bailey takes control in rare save chance: With Oakland limited to three save opportunities in the first month of the season -- its fewest since 1981 -- Andrew Bailey got the ball in the eighth inning on Saturday for a four-out save.
"As long as I'm getting my work in, it doesn't matter what inning," Bailey told the Oakland Tribune of entering the game before his traditional ninth-inning role. "The more layoff now, the better it will be for longevity."
"He won't have too many times when he takes four days off," manager Bob Geren said.
Francis scheduled to make rehab start: Jeff Francis, who has been rehabbing his shoulder for the past 15 months, is getting close to a return to the Rockies. He's scheduled to start on Thursday for Double-A Tulsa.
"He will be re-evaluated. Will he need one, two or three [starts]? Who the heck knows? I don't want him to feel any sense of urgency," manager Jim Tracy told the Denver Post. "But he hasn't felt any pain."
Fister puts up another gem: Doug Fister took a perfect game into the sixth inning on Sunday against the Rangers. He went on to allow three hits through eight innings as his ERA dropped to 1.29, lowest in the AL.
"Unbelievable. I don't know if you can pitch any better than he did today," Seattle manager Don Wakamatsu told the Seattle Times. "He keeps getting better and better, especially against an offense like the Rangers. To shut them down for eight innings is pretty phenomenal."
Howell working his way back from DL: J.P. Howell threw 32 pitches on Friday, and the Rays planned to have him throw another 40 pitches Monday.
"No off-days for us, the rehab boys," Howell told MLB.com. "We have plenty of nights off. That's why it feels good to work."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.