News from around the Central:
- The fallout continued from the Cardinals epic bed-soiling against the Phillies on Tuesday, as the Redbirds optioned reliever Maikel Cleto to AAA Memphis and purchased the contract of lefty Raul Valdes, who had a 0.55 ERA in 14 relief appearances at Memphis.
- The Reds are expected to activate right-hander Homer Bailey (sprained shoulder) from the DL in time for Sunday's game against the Orioles. Bailey had no issues in his final rehab start at AAA Louisville, and he'll take the spot of the recently-demoted Travis Wood in the Cincy rotation.
- Eager to inject some life into their floundering offense, the Pirates are expected to promote top prospect Chase d'Arnaud today after optioning Josh Harrison to AAA Indianapolis yesterday. The Bucs are also expected to promote hot-hitting Alex Pressley from Indianapolis before next week's series with Toronto.
- Cubs starter Randy Wells' turn in the rotation comes up again on Saturday, but Cryin' Mike Quade is giving Wells an extra day of rest and pushing his start to Sunday. Wells is still rounding into form after spending a large chunk of the season on the DL with an injured forearm.
- It seems like there's a new injury note for Astro utilityman Jason Bourgeois every day; on Wednesday, Bourgeois -- who's already missed time this year with a strained oblique and later dealt with a bum ankle -- fought through leg cramps to take the field against the Rangers.
- St. Louis pulled into a first place tie with idle Milwaukee and staved off a sweep, routing the Phillies, 12-2, last night at Busch Stadium. The Cards roared out to a 5-0 lead after three innings thanks to a solo homer by Jon Jay and RBI singles by Tony Cruz and Ryan Theriot, and then blew the doors off the game with a six-run eighth inning that was capped off by a three-run homer from Lance Berkman (his 18th). Chris Carpenter was on top of his game last night, pitching seven innings of five-hit ball and striking out seven Phils while giving up a single earned run.
- Everybody else -- Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Chicago, and Houston -- had the day off.
Your updated standings for June 24:
On tap for tonight:
- The Crew welcome the Twins to town for a three-game series that begins at 7:10 p.m. CDT tonight. Scott Baker (5-4, 3.24) faces Randy Wolf (5-4, 3.15) in the opener.
- St. Louis hosts the Blue Jays at 7:15 p.m. CDT tonight. Brandon Morrow (3-4, 5.02) takes the ball for Toronto, matching up with Cards right-hander Jake Westbrook (6-4, 5.16).
- The Reds travel to Baltimore for a three-game set with the O's, starting at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. Scheduled to start: for the Reds, Edinson Volquez (4-3, 5.61); for the Orioles, Chris Jakubauskas (2-0, 5.14).
- The BoSox invade PNC Park, as the Pirates try to climb above .500 at 6:05 p.m. CDT tonight. In game one, Boston's Jon Lester (9-3, 3.70) takes on Paul Maholm (3-8, 3.29).
- It's a match up of AAA clubs in Kansas City this weekend, as the Cubs and Royals start a three-game series at the K at 7:10 p.m. CDT. Ryan Dempster (5-6, 5.46) is on the bump for the Cubs, while the Fightin' Yosties send Bruce Chen (4-1, 3.59) to the hill.
- The Rays continue their tour of NL Central ballparks by traveling to Houston for a three-game series with the Astros. At 7:05 p.m. CDT tonight, James Shields (7-4, 2.40) takes on Wandy Rodriguez (5-3, 2.88).