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Familiar faces: Tigers, Yankees recall 2009 trade

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Familiar faces: Tigers, Yankees recall 2009 trade

When outfielder Austin Jackson tracks down a deep fly or Detroit Tigers teammate Phil Coke throws a scoreless inning of relief, New York general manager Brian Cashman doesn't fret about the fact that both players could still be Yankees.

``I don't block it out at all,'' Cashman said Tuesday in the visitors' dugout at Comerica Park before Game 3 of the AL championship series. ``We gave up good players, but you have to do that to get good players.''

On Dec. 9, 2009, Detroit dealt center fielder Curtis Granderson to New York in a three-team deal that also included Arizona. Jackson and Coke were sent from the Yankees to the Tigers, who also got Game 4 starter Max Scherzer from the Diamondbacks.

Granderson surpassed 40 homers and 100 RBIs in each of the past two seasons with the Yankees, finishing fourth in 2011 AL MVP voting. But he entered Game 3 hitless in seven at-bats with five strikeouts during this year's ALCS.

Jackson has been a key player for the Tigers in the field and at the plate. Coke gave up only one hit in three innings of relief to help them win the first two games at Yankee Stadium.

In the first trade of the 2009 winter meetings, Arizona acquired pitcher Edwin Jackson from Detroit and right-hander Ian Kennedy from the Yankees while the Tigers also got pitcher Daniel Schlereth from Arizona.

Granderson was - and is - a popular player in Detroit, but he was moved in a trade in which money - of course - was a factor. Granderson's salary was $10 million this year, while the Tigers received four players who cost less than $6 million combined.

``There's a lot of people in that trade, so it's hard to keep up with everybody,'' Scherzer said. ``Really, once I got traded over to Detroit, it has been a great home for me. I'm so happy to be in this city and play for this team and this organization. And to be a part of something special here is great, and hopefully we can keep going.''

Since the trade, there's been plenty of history between the teams. Detroit eliminated the Yankees in the first round of last year's playoffs, winning a decisive Game 5 in New York.

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EXTRA ARM: Cardinals pitcher Jake Westbrook was pumped up after throwing 49 pitches in a simulated game Tuesday, saying he'd be ready whenever the team needed him.

``Without a doubt. I feel strong in saying that, especially the way today went,'' Westbrook said. ``I have a lot of confidence after the way I threw today.''

The 13-game winner has been sidelined with a strained right oblique since Sept. 8. He's thrown off the mound four times and said he was eager to contribute. Westbrook could be available in the World Series if St. Louis gets past the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS.

``That would be great,'' Westbrook said. ``That's why I'm doing all this, to have that opportunity if need be, and just let them know I'm ready.''

The simulated game also allowed a few reserves, including Skip Schumaker, Matt Carpenter, Adron Chambers and injured Lance Berkman, to hone their swings.

``Jake threw very well,'' manager Mike Matheny said. ``It was a win all around. As we move forward, much like the Berkman question, we need to see what we have available, take a look at all the options and look at the opposition and be able to make an adjustment from there.''

Berkman, who has missed most of the season with knee problems, feels better but isn't optimistic about playing again this season. Thus far, he hasn't done much running.

``Miracle is probably a strong word, but it's certainly unexpected,'' Berkman said. ``I'm really actually pleased with where I am physically given how I felt two or three weeks ago.''

Westbrook said his next step is uncertain. He might throw another extended bullpen session to stay sharp.

Westbrook was hurt in a loss at home to Milwaukee. The right-hander recalled getting injured on a pitch that was no different from any other delivery, and then gutting out the rest of the inning.

``I kind of knew I was done after that,'' he said. ``It was probably not the smartest thing to keep throwing, but I wanted to kind of fight through it. I was able to get through the rest of the inning unscathed.''

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GO THE DISTANCE: Jack Morris knows all about heavy workloads.

The former Detroit Tigers ace threw out the ceremonial first pitch Tuesday night before Game 3 of the ALCS. Asked what he thought about Justin Verlander's shutout in Game 5 of the division series against Oakland, Morris took an unsolicited swipe at the Washington Nationals for shutting down Stephen Strasburg in September.

``I think everybody in the Washington Nationals' front office should pay attention that guys should go deep into games,'' Morris said. ``I shouldn't say that, should I?''

Strasburg was shut down with about 3 1/2 weeks left in his first ``full'' season following reconstructive elbow surgery. Wanting to protect his arm, the Nationals put an innings limit on their young ace.

Morris, who won seven postseason games for Detroit, Minnesota and Toronto, said Verlander isn't the only active pitcher working deep in games. He noted that CC Sabathia also threw a complete game to help the Yankees get past Baltimore in their previous series.

``It reminds me that there's still hope,'' Morris said. ``I believe the pitch count is overrated. I think the whole thing will come to fruition, the cycle, the experiment, and they will see that there is value in starting pitching to go deep in the games, to help save the bullpen.''

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The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

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The Nationals have had their eyes on Kelvin Herrera for years

On Monday, in the middle of their game with the Yankees, Mike Rizzo did a very Mike Rizzo thing and added another strong arm to the Nationals' bullpen well before the trade deadline.

In a trade with the Kansas City Royals, the Nats dealt prospects Kelvin Gutierrez, Blake Perkins and Yohanse Morel for relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera.

Herrera, who's in his eighth season, has walked only two batters in the last 27 games and is set to become a free agent at the end of the season. 

"We just thought that it was a good idea to strike early," Rizzo said Wednesday on 106.7 The Fan's Sports Junkies, simulcasted on NBC Sports Washington.

"We thought the closer to the deadline we get, the more competition we'll have for Kelvin [Herrera]. We were able to strike a deal with Dayton Moore quickly and [we] couldn't be happier about it."

But Mike Rizzo didn't just come across Herrera by chance, he's had his sights on him for years.

"He was one of the guys that we kind of kicked the tires on [last year] and obviously the price for Kelvin at that time with a year and a half of control was a lot different than it was with four and a half months of control."

"We did have our eyes on him for years. He's been a great reliever for years. He's one of the guys we talked about when we talked about improving our bullpen." 

Herrera has spent all of his eight seasons in the big leagues with the Royals, even winning a World Series. Trades can bring both joy and angst, but Rizzo knows Herrera is excited to get back to playing meaningful baseball.

"This guy is such a competitor; World Series tested and playoff tested. He's happy to be playing meaningful games. He talked about what it takes to win a World Series, and you know, our guys were all ears. I think he's really thankful for getting the opportunity to get after it again and get another ring."

"At the same time, you know, it's hard for those old relationship to die and to move on, but he was very excited about being with us. I spoke to him after we made the trade and he [was] a little shocked, but really fired up about it. And when he got to the clubhouse, [he] met some of his old teammates - Timmy Collins and Ryan Madson -  and was welcome with open arms by not only the bullpen guys but everyone on the team." 

Herrera will join Sean Doolittle, Brandon Kintzler, and Ryan Madson to make about as deep of a bullpen as any in baseball right now.

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

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Trea Turner goes 4 for 4 to help Nationals beat Orioles

WASHINGTON -- Presented with identical opportunities to ring up a big inning, the Washington Nationals took full advantage and Baltimore Orioles squandered the chance.

That goes a long way toward explaining why the Nationals are a contender and the Orioles own the worst record in the big leagues.

Trea Turner went 4 for 4 with a homer , Anthony Rendon drove in three runs and Washington extended its recent domination of the Orioles with a 9-7 victory Tuesday night.

The game was essentially decided in the fifth inning, which began with Baltimore leading 4-1.

In the top half, the Orioles loaded the bases with no outs and scored only one run -- when Manny Machado hit into a 4-6-3 double play.

Washington loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom half and batted around, scoring four runs on four hits and a pair of walks. Adam Eaton contributed a two-run single, Rendon hit a sacrifice fly and Bryce Harper chased starter David Hess with an RBI double.

"They did a lot better job cashing in their bases loaded, nobody out situation than we did," Orioles manager Buck Showalter conceded.

For the game, Baltimore was 0 for 5 with runners in scoring position. The Nationals were 5 for 10.

"This team is starting to become relentless," manager Dave Martinez said. "They kept pounding and pounding and pounding, had a couple of big innings there and scored some runs."

The Nationals trailed 6-5 before getting six hits in a four-run seventh. Rendon delivered a two-run double off Tanner Scott (0-1) that made it 7-6, and Turner capped his four-hit night with a double.

Both teams noted that more than a couple of Washington's hits were bloopers and seeing-eye grounders, but the Nationals certainly weren't about to apologize.

"I feel like all year we've been hitting balls right at people," Turner said, "so it's nice to get a bunch of those in one game and come out with a win."

Washington has won six straight over its neighboring interleague rival, including four games this season by a combined 20-8.

Pitching in his second big league game, Nationals starter Jefry Rodriguez gave up five runs, four hits and four walks in five innings.

Justin Miller (5-0) pitched two innings of relief, newcomer Kelvin Herrera worked a perfect eighth and Sean Doolittle gave up a solo home run to Joey Rickard while earning his 19th save.

Jace Peterson and Trey Mancini each hit two-run homers for the Orioles, who have lost 16 of 19.

This one can be blamed on an all-too-telling fifth inning.

"It's just one of those things where if they got hits they seemed to have found holes," Showalter said. "They hit some balls hard, too."

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