Indians activate Kerry Wood from the disabled list

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Kerry Wood had an ugly first rehab appearance at Double-A, allowing six runs while recording just two outs Monday, but bounced back with a scoreless inning Wednesday to apparently convince the Indians he’s ready to return.
Wood has been sidelined since straining his back in the middle of spring training, but the Indians activated him from the disabled list this afternoon and surprisingly cleared room on the roster by demoting Jensen Lewis to Triple-A.
Lewis has struggled to throw strikes this season, walking nine batters in 10.1 innings, but logged 66 innings as a setup man in each of the past two seasons and has a career ERA of 3.77. He deserved to stick around, but unfortunately for Lewis he has a minor-league option remaining.
Ideally the Indians would probably ease Wood back into the bullpen mix slowly, but that timetable may be sped up because fill-in closer Chris Perez has blown two saves in six chances while walking six batters in 9.1 innings. Regardless of his initial role, if Wood can string together some impressive outings the Indians figure to start shopping him around pretty aggressively. He’s making $10.5 million this season, with a certain-to-be-declined $11 million team option for 2011.

Pirates pitcher Steven Brault sang the National Anthem last night

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Pittsburgh Pirates swingman Steven Brault has a 4.38 ERA in 19 games this year. He also has a music degree and is a professional singer on the side of his baseball gig. He didn’t get into last night’s game against the Brewers as a pitcher, but he did get to use his singing skills.

Specifically, Brault got to sing the National Anthem. And he did an OK job of it too. He’s not Whitney Houston or anything, but he did what all Anthem singers who are not as gifted as Whitney Houston was should do: he kept it straight and businesslike, avoiding unnecessary flourishes:

It’s march, dang it, not a ballad, and it should be treated as such. Unless of course you’re Whitney Houston.