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.

Bobby Valentine on short list to be U.S. Ambassador to Japan

NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 12:  Former MLB player Bobby Valentine attends Annual Charity Day hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald, BGC and GFI at BGC Partners, INC on September 12, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Larry Busacca/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald)
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There is literally nothing you could tell me that the incoming administration is considering which would shock me anymore. As such, I saw this story when I woke up this morning, blinked once, took a sip of coffee, closed the browser window and just went on with my morning, as desensitized as a wisdom tooth about to be yanked.

Rob Bradford of WEEI reports that Former Red Sox, Mets and Rangers manager Bobby Valentine is on a short-list of candidates for the job of United States Ambassador to Japan:

The 66-year-old, who currently serves as Sacred Heart University’s athletics director, has engaged in preliminary discussions with President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team regarding the position.

When contacted Thursday night, Valentine refused comment.

Huh. Given his history, I’d have assumed Valentine would be a better choice for the CIA, but what do I know?

Valentine managed the Chiba Lotte Marines of Japan’s Pacific League for six seasons, leading the team to a championship in 2005. He also knows the current prime minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe, as both went to USC. Assuming championship teams meet the country’s leader in Japan like they do in the United States, Valentine has at least twice the amount of experience with top political leaders than does, say, Ned Yost, so that’s something.

The former manager, more importantly, is friends with Donald Trump’s brother, with the two of them going way back. Which, given how this transition is going, seems like a far more important set of qualifications than anything else on this list.

Report: Dexter Fowler will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday

CLEVELAND, OH - NOVEMBER 02:  Dexter Fowler #24 of the Chicago Cubs reacts after lining out during the third inning against the Cleveland Indians in Game Seven of the 2016 World Series at Progressive Field on November 2, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Update (8:51 PM EST): The deal is in place, according to Heyman.

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Update (8:27 PM EST): Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the Cardinals made an “over-the-top offer” to Fowler to ensure he’d sign.

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Frank Cusumano of KSDK Sports reports that free agent outfielder will take a physical in St. Louis on Friday. Presumably, that means that Fowler and the Cardinals have gotten pretty far along in negotiations.

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports recently reported that Fowler was looking for $18 million per year. The Blue Jays reportedly made an offer to Fowler in the four-year, $16 million range several days ago. The Cardinals’ offer to Fowler, if there is indeed one, is likely somewhere between the two figures.

Fowler, 30, is coming off of a fantastic year in which he helped the Cubs win their first World Series since 1908. During the regular season, he hit .276/.393/.447 with 13 home runs, 48 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 13 stolen bases in 551 plate appearances.

Fowler rejected the Cubs’ $17.2 million qualifying offer last month. While the QO compensation negatively affected Fowler’s experience in free agency last offseason — he didn’t sign until late February with the Cubs — his strong season is expected to make QO compensation much less of an issue.