Rickie Weeks produces as leadoff man
Finally healthy, second baseman providing pop with bat
Rickie Weeks is on pace to become only the second player in history to drive in 100 runs from the leadoff spot.
Weeks is hitting .276 with a .376 on-base percentage, .492 slugging percentage, 71 runs, 22 home runs and 67 RBIs. Among second basemen in the Majors, he is tied for the lead in home runs, second in RBIs, fifth in slugging, tied for third in runs scored and fourth in OBP.
"If you've been here seeing Rickie, I think everybody saw it was going to happen," Craig Counsell, who has been Weeks' teammate since 2007, told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "That's the thing. You knew it was going to happen. It was just a matter of when."
Weeks missed most of last season with a wrist injury, the fourth time in five seasons he had suffered an injury. Now, Weeks is healthy, and it has made a difference.
"The main thing is me being healthy," Weeks said. "A lot of times when I had injuries in the past, it's been hard to duplicate [my] swing and be consistent. I'm healthy now, and I can do that."
No letup in sight for Dickey: R.A. Dickey, who started the season at Triple-A Buffalo, is now 7-4 and gave the Mets' bullpen some needed rest Thursday in a 4-0 win over the Cardinals. Dickey threw 8 1/3 shutout innings.
"There's a lot of guys probably saying, 'When is the shoe going to drop?' And that's OK with me," Dickey told the New York Post. "I feel like I'm good enough to be here and good enough to stay here."
Cantu brings rave reviews to Rangers: The Rangers traded two Minor Leaguers to Florida for Jorge Cantu on Thursday. The right-handed slugger can play third base and first, though he will see most of his time at first base with Texas. Cantu, who is expected to join the Rangers Friday night in Anaheim, hit .262 with 10 home runs and 54 RBIs in 354 at-bats for the Marlins.
"Deep inside, I'm very sad to leave the Marlins," Cantu told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. "I had a good feeling something was going to happen. I've been hearing it from a lot of people, obviously TV, teammates, everybody, so I had a good idea."
The trade catapulted Cantu from a fourth-place team to one leading its division.
"People that have played with him, been with him in different organizations, guys that have managed him all speak real highly of him and his work ethic, his desire to win and the way he goes about it," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told MLB.com. "I think he's a good complement for us."
Lidge familiar with Oswalt's success: Count Brad Lidge among those excited about Philadelphia's acquisition of Roy Oswalt.
"We're getting a big-game pitcher," Lidge told MLB.com. "I played with him for a while in Houston. He was at his best when we were playing our most important games. That's exciting to think about when we already have the stars that we do."
Oswalt leaves well wishes for Astros: While Roy Oswalt is excited to be going to a contender in Philadelphia, leaving Houston is difficult after almost 10 seasons with the Astros.
"I think probably the toughest part was packing up my locker, for sure, knowing I started here and have to leave now," Oswalt told MLB.com. "Just like I said, it's going to be good for the organization, and I think it will be good for me, too. The organization has been great to me, and I hope they get back in it and get back to the playoffs real soon."
Happ brings positive outlook to Astros: J.A. Happ, who was part of the trade that sent Roy Oswalt from the Astros to the Phillies, will make his debut with the Astros when he starts Friday night against Milwaukee.
Happ, a 27-year-old left-hander, is 1-0 with a 1.76 ERA in three starts for the Phillies and was 12-4 with a 2.93 ERA last year.
"Obviously, I was a little shocked and a little surprised today, but I'm definitely looking on the positive," Happ told MLB.com. "I hope to be a part of their future and help turn things around there. It's nice to go to a team that wants you. I want to go down there and pitch well and see what happens."
Tejada makes move to Padres: The Padres fortified their lineup on Thursday by acquiring Miguel Tejada from Baltimore for a Minor League pitcher.
"He's a guy who won the 2002 [American League] MVP. He has a lot to bring, and he's a tough out," general manager Jed Hoyer told MLB.com. "We're hoping that getting him into a winning environment, he'll be energized."
Tejada hit .269 with seven home runs and 39 RBIs in 97 games for the Orioles.
Price moves to top of season wins list in Tampa: David Price tied the Tampa Bay record for wins in a season when he recorded his American League-leading 14th victory Thursday. Price allowed only two runs in 6 1/3 innings as the Rays defeated Detroit, 4-2.
"I keep on saying the sky is the limit with a guy like Price," teammate Carlos Pena told the St. Petersburg Times. "He's just a kid, let's not forget about that. He's going into this third year, and he's already made a name for himself and established himself as one of the best pitchers in the league. So, man, I'm just so proud of him."
Domonic Brown makes it look easy: In his Major League debut on Wednesday, Domonic Brown picked up two hits, two RBIs and scored twice in the Phillies' win over Arizona.
"Ah, man," Brown told the Philadelphia Daily News. "A great day. One of the best days of my life."
Capps dealt to Twins: Earlier this month, Matt Capps represented the Nationals at the All-Star Game. On Thursday the club dealt him to the Twins for two Minor League players, including Wilson Ramos, who appeared in seven games at catcher for Minnesota earlier this season.
"I'm kind of saddened I'm not going to be around the guys I've been around the last four months or so," Capps told the The Washington Post.. "I've really enjoyed my time here in Washington. I knew it was a possibility. I'm saddened I'm leaving the guys I'm leaving."
Podsednik moves into contention with trade to Dodgers: On Wednesday the Dodgers acquired Scott Podsednik from the Royals. On Thursday he was leading off for Los Angeles.
"I'm excited about the opportunity," Podesednik told the Los Angeles Times. "We're right in the middle of it. It's a lot more fun being in the middle of a race and contending than where we were with the Royals."
Torres showed big league makeup early: Marlins manager Edwin Rodriguez has been an Andres Torres fan for a long time. When Torres was in high school in Puerto Rico, Rodriguez was a scout for the Twins, and he wanted to sign Torres.
"First, his speed. Second, his defense," Rodriguez told the San Francisco Chronicle about what stood out about Torres. "Back then, every game I scouted when he was in the game, at least one play would have been a big league play. A diving catch, a running catch, a throw. He could make it to the big leagues with just those two, and then the bat came later."
Jordan Smith makes transition to reliever: Jordan Smith had been a starting pitcher until this spring, but he's enjoyed success as a reliever for the Reds in 2010.
"Every day you show up at the park, you feel like you can get into the game tonight," Smith told MLB.com. "I'm a guy that likes action. I don't like to sit back and watch. I like the relief role. It's been fun."
MacDougal plays his way back to Majors: Mike MacDougal has been recalled from Triple-A Memphis and gotten work in each of his first two games with the Cardinals.
"I was throwing well when I left there [Memphis]," MacDougal told MLB.com. "I had a great time. The guys there are awesome. I'm just looking forward to the start here."
Derrek Lee makes popular decision: Derrek Lee, who recently turned down a trade to the Angels, is definitely popular with his teammates -- and his decision to stay with the Cubs did nothing to diminish that.
"Derrek's a very stand-up guy," teammate Ryan Theriot told the Chicago Tribune. "He's somebody I've looked up to. To know he wanted to be here says a lot about Chicago, about the organization and the city. He has earned a chance to have a say in that. If more of us had that right to do so, more of us would."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.