Thursday 12th August 2004          MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL UPDATE
MLB.COM THE PLACE TO FOLLOW THE PENNANT RACES
Don’t forget to visit MLB.com to keep track of all your favourite Major League teams and players.  As the pennant races heat up there’s no better way to follow all the Major League action than with regular visits to MLB.com.
HUBER OUT OF OLYMPIC SQUAD WITH KNEE INJURY
Catcher Justin Huber (Emerald VIC) injured his knee in his last game in the Mets organisation before being traded to Kansas City his new club has sent him to a specialist to check out the damage.  While Huber is not expected to be out long, nor is the trade in jeopardy due to the injury, Kansas City has denied him permission to join the Australian Olympic squad in Athens.  For further details on the Olympic squad visit the ABF site at www.baseball.com.au.
ROWLAND-SMITH LOOKS FORWARD TO ATHENS
Michelle Gardner, San Bernardino County Sun – 9 Aug 04
Ryan Rowland-Smith was the oddball growing up. His friends were into sports such as surfing, cricket and rugby. He liked those, too. But the sport that most intrigued him was baseball. That would not seem out of the ordinary for youngsters growing up in the United States. But Rowland-Smith is a native of Australia, where baseball never has been considered a major sport.
'I was the outcast,' said Rowland-Smith, who grew up in Newcastle, a beach city of about 400,000 residents. 'My friends thought I was crazy. They couldn't understand why I wanted to play baseball. It isn't like over here where every kid grows up playing the game.'
Rowland-Smith participated in those other sports, but baseball held his passion. Not only has he emerged as one of the top pitching prospects in the Seattle Mariners organization, but he was one of the select few chosen to represent his country in the Summer Olympics that start this week in Athens, Greece.
BLACKLEY SHELLED IN RETURN TO TRIPLE-A
Mike Curto, Tacoma News Tribune – 7 Aug 04
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Tacoma Rainiers tied a 70-year-old Pacific Coast League record Friday night, but that fact did not shield an evident truth: Travis Blackley is not the same pitcher he was before going up to Seattle on July 1.
Blackley was rocked for eight runs on four homers in 5 2/3 innings, taking the defeat in an 11-3 loss to Oklahoma.
The loss knocked Tacoma out of first place in the PCL North.
It was not just the homers - Blackley also issued five walks. Of his 115 pitches, just 59 were strikes.
The hope was that Blackley would regain his confidence upon returning to the PCL. Blackley had won consecutive decisions in the league, and was five innings short of qualifying for the league lead with a 2.63 earned-run average.
But the man on the mound at Bricktown Ballpark did not resemble the Travis Blackley who pitched for the Rainiers in April, May, and June. Only the Australian accent seemed authentic.
'To me, he's a beat-down young man right now,' said manager Dan Rohn of his All-Star left-hander. 'He needs to regain that moxie, that confidence that he had before. He's never dealt with failure before. Sometimes, failure is the best medicine.'
Blackley (7-3) was shipped to Tacoma after going 1-3 with a 10.04 ERA for the Mariners.
He was greeted rudely when Ramon Nivar hit Blackley's second pitch for a leadoff homer. Three batters later, cleanup man Pete Zoccolillo - a left-handed hitter batting just .214 against left-handed pitchers - launched a two-run, opposite-field blast.
Blackley would serve up two more home runs, including Mike McDougall's game-breaking three-run shot in the sixth inning. The home runs were somewhat surprising: Blackley had allowed just six homers in 85 2/3 Pacific Coast League innings, but he was ripped for nine homers in 26 major league innings.
WARTHOGS’ BRICE, WHO GAVE UP CRICKET FOR BASEBALL, WILL BE GOING TO THE OLYMPICS
Dan Collins, Winston-Salem Journal, 2 Aug 04
Outfielder Tom Brice of the Winston-Salem Warthogs still wonders how his life would have been different if he hadn't given up his first love, cricket, to play baseball.
'You never know,' Brice said. 'I wasn't a bad young cricketer.'
All Brice knows is that without that decision, he would have never had the opportunity to represent his native country as a member of the Australian Olympics baseball team. He will leave the Warthogs on Friday and miss the rest of the season while competing in Athens, Greece.
'It's something I always wanted to do,' Brice said. 'I always said to my friends that I played with on the national junior team and stuff, that if any year would be the year, it would be 2004.
'So I'm pretty stoked about it.'
The parent Chicago White Sox are starting to get pretty stoked about the future of Brice, who was promoted to Winston-Salem from Class A Kannapolis last month. After a slow start in the Carolina League, Brice has hit safely in 11 straight games while raising his average from the low .200s to .279.
BALFOUR ON DISABLED LIST
Mark Sheldon, MLB.com – 4 Aug 04
MINNEAPOLIS A recurring bout of right shoulder tendinitis forced right-handed reliever Grant Balfour (Glenwood, NSW) to go on the 15-day disabled list before Wednesday's game against the Angels.
It's not clear how much time off Balfour will need, but the roster move is retroactive to July 26 because he hasn't worked a game since July 25 at Baltimore. It means he's eligible to return Aug. 10.
After pitching one scoreless inning against the Orioles, the 26-year-old reported shoulder soreness and said he had trouble warming up. He spent the past several days resting and exercising his arm and was thought to available Tuesday night, if needed.
'It wasn't feeling good yesterday, really when I got up,' said Balfour, who is 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA in 22 games this season. 'It's sore and I wish it wasn't. I wish I could go out there and throw and have it feel good.'
This is Balfour's second trip to the DL. He began the season by missing six weeks with a similar injury.
'It's not feeling that bad as it was in Spring Training,' Balfour said. 'But it's not going to go away overnight.'
Strong outings in recent weeks had made Balfour an increasingly important pitcher for the Twins in the late innings. His absence will mean more opportunities for hard-throwing rookie reliever Jesse Crain, who was called up last weekend.
MLB Television Schedule 12 - 25 Aug
v     St Louis @ Florida
Thurs 12 Aug – 9:00 a.m. (ESPN Live)
v     Baltimore Orioles @ Anaheim
Thurs 12 Aug – 8:00 p.m. (ESPN Delay)
Fri 13 Aug – 1:30 a.m. (ESPN Replay)
v     NY Yankees @ Texas
Fri 13 Aug – 2:30 a.m. (Fox Delay)
v     St. Louis @ Florida
Fri 13 Aug – Midday (Fox Delay)
v     This Week in Baseball
Sun 15 Aug – Midday (ESPN)
v     Baseball Tonight
Mon 16 Aug – 9:00 a.m. (ESPN Live)
v     St. Louis @ Atlanta
Mon 16 Aug – 10:00 a.m. (ESPN Live)
Mon 16 Aug – 10:00 p.m. (ESPN Replay)
v     Cincinnati @ St. Louis
Tue 17 Aug – Midday (Fox Delay)
v     NY Yankees @ Minnesota
Thurs 19 Aug – 10:00 a.m. (ESPN Live)
v     Atlanta @ San Diego
Thurs 19 Aug – Midday (ESPN Live)
Fri 20 Aug – 1:30 a.m. (ESPN Replay)
v     Atlanta @ Los Angeles
Fri 20 Aug – Midday (Fox Live)
v     Boston @ Chicago White Sox
Sun 22 Aug – 6:00 a.m. (Fox Delay)
v     Baseball Tonight
Mon 23 Aug – 9:00 a.m. (ESPN Live)
v     Boston @ Chicago White Sox
Mon 23 Aug – 10:00 a.m. (ESPN Live)
Tue 24 Aug – 1:30 a.m. (ESPN Replay)
v     Philadelphia @ Houston
Tue 24 Aug – Midday (Fox Delay)
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