Daily Dose: GM says Peavy's return is '50-50'

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General manager Kevin Towers revealed Thursday that Jake Peavy is
“50-50” to return from his ankle injury to pitch again this season.
“We’ll know more when he comes out of the cast,” Towers said. “I can’t
speak for Jake, but I’d much rather have him ready for 2010 than
risking a more serious injury by coming back too early this year.”

The injury erases whatever chance Towers had of finding an
acceptable deal for Peavy this year and he also indicated that the
Padres won’t look to trade Adrian Gonzalez or Heath Bell. However,
pitchers like Chad Gaudin, Kevin Correia, and Cla Meredith could be on
the block and Towers said that he doesn’t “see [Brian] Giles taking
playing time away from” the young outfielders once he’s healthy.

While the Padres choose to tweak rather than rebuild, here are some other notes from around baseball …

* Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com reports that Boston is
“desperately” trying to trade Julio Lugo with both Mike Lowell and Jed
Lowrie on the verge of coming off the disabled list. According to
Rosenthal the Red Sox have informed teams that they’re willing to eat
nearly all of Lugo’s remaining deal–which pays $9 million this year and
another $9 million in 2010–in exchange for a marginal prospect.

Lugo has hit .284/.352/.367 in 37 games since coming back from knee
surgery, which basically matches his .271/.335/.390 career line, but
his defense has been terrible and the Red Sox clearly prefer Nick Green
as their utility man with Lowrie and Lowell set to return this weekend.
In the third year of a four-year, $36 million contract, Lugo has hit
.251/.319/.346 while missing one-third of Boston’s games.

* General manager Ruben Amaro Jr. said Thursday that Pedro Martinez
could be ready to make his Phillies debut as soon as July 30 against
the Giants. Martinez was placed on the disabled list with a strained
shoulder immediately after signing a one-year deal, but the stint is
just about building up arm strength. After seeking a $5 million
contract, Pedro ended up signing for under $1 million in guarantees.

* Released last week when the Blue Jays opted to eat the remaining
$15 million on his contract, B.J. Ryan inked a minor-league deal with
the Cubs on Thursday. Ryan clearly poses no threat to Kevin Gregg or
Carlos Marmol at this point, but it costs the Cubs just a prorated
portion of the league minimum to find out if he has anything left in
the tank as a possible middle reliever or situation left-hander.

AL Quick Hits: Adrian Beltre played catch Thursday for the first
time since June 30 shoulder surgery and said that he hopes to play
again this year … According to Joe Maddon there’s a “50-50 or 60-40”
chance that Evan Longoria (finger) will be available Friday after
missing the All-Star game … Kansas City has a new left side of the
infield with Yuniesky Betancourt and Alex Gordon both coming off the
disabled list Thursday … Alexi Casilla will get another chance at
second base in Minnesota after hitting .340 following his demotion to
Triple-A … Derek Holland has rejoined Texas’ rotation and Orlando
Hernandez could request his release from Triple-A after being told that
he won’t be called up … Chris Perez revealed Thursday that he’s “been
getting cortisone shots all year” on a left foot injury that will
require offseason surgery … Justin Duchscherer (elbow) threw 30 pitches
on the side Thursday and is hoping to begin a rehab stint by the end of
the month.

NL Quick Hits: Raul Ibanez picked up right where he left off
Thursday, homering twice … Chris Volstad served up three homers
Thursday to give him 20 bombs allowed in 113 innings after giving up
just three in 84 frames last year … Manny Corpas came off the disabled
list Thursday and will resume setting up for Huston Street … Scott
Olsen has been scratched from his scheduled Friday start with shoulder
tightness … Khalil Greene (anxiety) will start another rehab stint
Friday at Double-A … Jamie Moyer tossed seven shutout, one-hit innings
Thursday, but his ERA remains ugly at 5.58 … Chris Snyder (back) is
slated to begin a rehab assignment Monday … Chris Dickerson skipped
Thursday’s game because as Dusty Baker put it “he looked like Fred
Sanford walking around here” … Omar Minaya said Thursday that Carlos
Delgado (hip) is not expected back before August while Fernando
Martinez (knee) is likely out until September.

The Pirates are, not surprisingly, leaning against trading Andrew McCutchen

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Over the winter there was serious talk about the Pirates trading Andrew McCutchen to the Washington Nationals. His move to left field to allow Starling Marte to take over center further served to make McCutchen a less important part of the Pirates long term plans.

Then the season began, Marte got suspended for PEDs and, after a bumpy start, McCutchen caught fire. He hit .411/.505/.689 in June he has a .333/.444/.561 line in the month of July. For the year he’s now at .292/.384/.507 with 17 homers and 57 RBI. Even with Marte back on the roster, McCutchen is the Pirates’ center fielder. What’s more, the Pirates, after beginning the season slowly have righted the ship somewhat and are now only three games back in the NL Central.

All of which makes this, from Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, unsurprising:

That option is a quite reasonable $14.5 million, so it seems sorta crazy that they wouldn’t pick it up. Of course if they remain coy enough about it for now perhaps someone will bowl them over with an offer. Letting McCutchen walk seems insane. Unloading him for a hefty haul would, well, still be kinda crazy given how popular McCutchen is with the fan base, but not truly insane.

The Brewers are talking to the Tigers about Ian Kinsler, Justin Wilson

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The Brewers were rumored last week to have been “aggressive” in talks for Tigers reliever Justin Wilson. ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports, however, that the talks are a bit more wide-ranging than that.

Crasnick says that the two clubs are also discussing Tigers second baseman Ian Kinsler, potentially in a package deal with Wilson. Crasnick says that the Brewers “would love to have Kinsler,” but their main focus at the moment is pitching help. Of course, the Brewers current second baseman — Jonathan Villar — is hitting a meager .223/.285/.348 in 334 plate appearances.

Kinsler is having a down season for him — .237/.331/.400 — but he’s better than that and, of course, would represent an improvement. He’s under contract through the end of this year but he has a very affordable, $10 million club option for 2018. Wilson will be arbitration-eligible this offseason, so he’s still under team control as well. As such a Kinsler/Wilson package would likely cost the Brewers a high price, so you have to think they’d try to exhaust cheaper options before making such a deal.

The Brewers had been in first place in the NL Central since June 7, but the Cubs caught them yesterday. They’re in a virtual tie, with Chicago percentage points ahead. This should prove to be a very interesting week for the Brewers’ front office.