Monday, July 19, 2004

Tigers surpass last season's victory total

Baseball notebook

The Associated Press

DETROIT - One year after the Detroit Tigers were the butt of jokes for their futility, it's tough to make fun of them.

The Tigers surpassed their 2003 wins total - with 2 1/2 months left in the season - beating the New York Yankees 4-2 on Sunday.

Detroit (44-47) set an AL record for losses last year by going 43-119, a loss shy of the post-1900 record. The Tigers easily set a record for fewest games needed to surpass their wins total from the previous year, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. The previous mark of 106 was set by the 1962 Philadelphia Phillies (48-58 after going 47-107) and the 1989 Baltimore Orioles (55-51 following a 54-107 season).

"I'm not going to go celebrate," manager Alan Trammell said.

Even if the Tigers don't win the AL Central, they have moved forward by playing relatively meaningful games in July.

"It is a big deal. We are playing for something," said catcher Ivan Rodriguez, leading the league with a .364 batting average.

"We are trying to make the playoffs, and we can if we keep playing the way we are right now."

EVERETT TRADED: Carl Everett rejoined the Chicago White Sox when the outfield slugger was traded from the Montreal Expos for minor-league pitchers Jon Rauch and Gary Majewski.

Everett played the final 73 games of last season for Chicago. He signed a $7.5 million, two-year contract with Montreal in December. This season, the injury-plagued Everett has a .252 average, with two homers and 14 RBI in 39 games. He missed 30 games with an injured shoulder early, then hurt his ankle while on a minor-league rehab assignment.

SHORT HOPS: The Pittsburgh Pirates probably will demand a major league-ready position player and a top prospect for right-hander Kris Benson, who is expected to be traded before the July 31 deadline.

If the Diamondbacks don't deal Randy Johnson - and they have yet to ask him to waive his no-trade clause - Benson could be the most desirable starting pitcher available before the deadline for making trades without putting players through waivers.

• Cubs righty Mark Prior tested his elbow in a 10-minute pregame throwing session from the bullpen and emerged relatively pain free.

• Scott Erickson will start tonight for the Mets against Florida. It'll be his first appearance in the majors since Aug. 31, 2002.

• Blue Jays right-hander Roy Halladay will have his sore right shoulder examined by Dr. James Andrews today in Birmingham, Ala.

• Montreal shortstop Orlando Cabrera pinch hit in the fourth inning Sunday and played in his 259th consecutive game, tying Rusty Staub for the second-longest streak in Expos history.

• The Cubs-Brewers four-game series drew 160,035 fans - a record at Wrigley Field.

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