Trade analysis: Cabrera to Twins

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Twins acquire shortstop Orlando Cabrera from the Athletics in exchange for minor-league infielder Tyler Ladendorf.

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Looking to shore up their middle infield, the Twins were also connected
to second baseman Freddy Sanchez, but considering that the Giants gave
up former first-round pick Tim Alderson to land him, this is a bargain
by comparison, especially with the Athletics kicking in some cash.
Cabrera, now 34, appears to have lost a step defensively this year
(-7.9 UZR and 14 errors), but when your shortstop options have combined
for a pathetic .241/.303/.330 line, who cares, really.

Cabrera got off to an awful start with the Athletics, and through
June he had a positively lousy .247/.290/.316 line. But he has been
unconscious in July, batting .373/.400/.500 with two homers, 16 RBI and
nine stolen bases. As I mentioned earlier, he leads the majors with 41
hits this month. The Twins have landed a proven veteran with
post-season experience. He’ll do just fine.

As for Ladendorf, he was the Twins second-round pick in 2008. The
21-year-old shortstop batted .410/.500/.721 with four homers and 17 RBI
in rookie ball, but has struggled since being promoted to Single-A
Beloit.
The important thing for Atheltics’ fans to know is that Cliff
Pennington is on his way to Oakland. In the end, Billy Beane did well
to get something for Cabrera, knowing that they couldn’t get any
compensation for him over the winter.

Bud Norris exits outing with right knee soreness

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Angels’ right-handed reliever Bud Norris made his 23rd appearance of the season on Friday, and after just three pitches, he was done for the night. He worked a 2-1 count to Marlins’ Dee Gordon in the eighth inning, then promptly exited the field after experiencing some tightness in his right knee. Neither Norris nor manager Mike Scioscia believe the injury is cause for major concern, and the 32-year-old right-hander admitted that it may have had something to do with his lack of stretching before he took the mound. For now, he’s day-to-day with right knee soreness, with the hope that the issue doesn’t escalate over the next few days.

While the Angels are lucky to have avoided serious injury, they’ll need Norris to pitch at 100% if they want to stay competitive within the AL West. They currently sit a full nine games behind the league-leading Astros, and haven’t been helping their cause after taking five losses in their last eight games. Friday’s 8-5 finale marked their third consecutive loss of the week.

 

When healthy, Norris has been one of the better arms in the Angels’ bullpen. Through 23 2/3 innings, he’s pitched to a 2.66 ERA, 3.4 BB/9 and an outstanding 11.8 SO/9 in 23 outings. The righty hasn’t allowed a single run in four straight appearances, recording three saves and helping the club clinch four wins in that span. This is his second setback of the year after sustaining a partial fingernail tear on his pitching hand during spring training.

Video: Max Scherzer sets record with 13-strikeout outing

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Max Scherzer is a force to be reckoned with. The Nationals’ right-hander delivered a season-high 13 strikeouts against the Padres on Friday, locking down his fifth win and his fourth double-digit strikeout performance of the year.

More remarkably, it was also the 53rd double-digit strikeout performance of Scherzer’s career, tying Clayton Kershaw for the most 10+ strikeout appearances by an active major league pitcher. Chris Sale is a distant third, with 43 to his name, though he’s been making considerable strides to catch up so far this spring.

Scherzer took the Padres to task on Friday night, whiffing 13 of 31 batters during his 108-pitch outing. He started strong, catching Allen Cordoba swinging on a 1-2 count to start the game and keeping the game scoreless until Ryan Schimpf unleashed a home run in the fourth inning. That was the first and final run the Padres managed off of Scherzer, who retired 14 consecutive batters following the blast and came one out shy of a complete game in the ninth inning. (Fittingly, Koda Glover polished off the win with a final strikeout, bringing the total to 14 on the night.)

It’ll take more than one stellar start to advance Scherzer and Kershaw on the all-time list, however. Their 53-game record ranks 13th, about 159 games behind second-place Hall of Fame hurler Randy Johnson and a full 162 games shy of the inimitable Nolan Ryan.