Daily Dose: Perfection for Buehrle

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Less than two weeks after Jonathan Sanchez’s no-hitter versus San
Diego, Mark Buehrle did him one better with a perfect game against
Tampa Bay on Thursday. Buehrle, who also hurled a no-hitter in 2007, is
now the 24th pitcher with multiple no-nos. He needed help from
defensive replacement DeWayne Wise, who made a spectacular,
homer-robbing catch on Gabe Kapler leading off the ninth inning.

Buehrle’s perfect game was the 16th in baseball history and the
first since Randy Johnson in 2004, and he joins Johnson, Cy Young,
Sandy Koufax, Jim Bunning, and Addie Joss as the six pitchers with a
perfect game and a standard no-hitter. Interestingly, Johnson is
obviously bound for the Hall of Fame five years after he retires and
Young, Koufax, Bunning, and Joss are all in Cooperstown.

As a 30-year-old with 133 career wins, a 3.76 ERA, and just one
top-five finish in the Cy Young balloting Buehrle has a long way to go
before he’s even a marginal Hall of Fame candidate, but that’s some
amazing company. Oh, the world’s most famous White Sox fan, president
Barack Obama, even called to congratulate him after the game.

While the White Sox use his historic afternoon to jump into a tie
for first place in the AL Central, here are some other notes from
around baseball …

* With their bullpen ranked third-worst in the league with a 4.86
ERA and Manny Corpas headed for elbow surgery the Rockies added a pair
of new right-handed relievers Thursday. Rafael Betancourt will work in
a setup role after coming over from the Indians in exchange for
mid-level prospect Connor Graham and in a far more surprising move
he’ll be joined by 21-year-old top prospect Jhoulys Chacin.

Chacin led the minors in wins last season while going 18-3 with a
2.03 ERA in 28 starts between two levels of Single-A and has been very
solid while moving up to Double-A this year, but asking him to skip
right past Triple-A and face big-league hitters in an unfamiliar role
at the age of 21 seems like an odd decision even with the Rockies
holding a small Wild Card lead. Long term, he’s a No. 2 starter.

* Houston is 13-6 in July, but if the Astros are going to continue
their second-half surge it’ll have to come without Lance Berkman, who
was put on the disabled list Thursday with a strained left calf.
Berkman has been out of the starting lineup for five of the past six
games, but general manager Ed Wade suggested that he may have been able
to play through the injury “if we were in late September.”

* Jose Guillen has been put on the disabled list with a Grade 2 tear
of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee, suffered
Wednesday while he was putting on a shin guard before an at-bat.
Seriously. He went to the hospital after hearing a “pop” and
complaining of “sudden right leg pain,” and is now facing an extended
stint on the sidelines that ends whatever chance the Royals had of
trading him.

AL Quick Hits: Jarrod Washburn has given up a total of two runs
in his last four starts after tossing seven shutout innings Thursday …
Rumors of St. Louis being after Matt Holliday are picking up steam …
Juan Rivera (hamstring) could rejoin the lineup this weekend after an
MRI exam showed no major damage … General manager J.P. Ricciardi said
Thursday that Roy Halladay isn’t interesting in inking extension with
the Blue Jays … Brian Anderson has requested a trade from the White
Sox, who’d deal him if they could … Glen Perkins isn’t expected to miss
a start despite being diagnosed with shoulder tendinitis … Several
sources report that the Angels are interested in Scott Kazmir, who was
on the losing end of the perfect game … Meanwhile, the Rays are
reportedly talking to the Indians about Cliff Lee … Bartolo Colon came
off the disabled list Thursday and will rejoin the rotation … Alex Rios
swiped three bases Thursday, giving him 18 on the year.

NL Quick Hits: Dan Haren allowed more than three runs Thursday
for the second time this season … Mike Gonzalez exited Thursday’s game
after being hit on the forearm by a comebacker, but X-rays were
negative … Adam Wainwright’s sixth straight Quality Start was a
rain-shortened complete-game win Thursday … Kelly Johnson came off the
disabled list Thursday after batting .308 in a dozen rehab games, but
Martin Prado has surpassed him at second base … Ryan Dempster could
return as soon as this weekend after X-rays showed “excellent healing”
in his broken toe … Scott Olsen should be ready for spring training
after no further damage was found during his labrum surgery Thursday …
Albert Pujols received a routine day off Thursday, with Mark DeRosa
filling in at first base … Barry Zito allowed one run on three hits in
seven innings Thursday for his third Quality Start in four tries.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.