Musser, Lowe compete for oddest injury

The competition for freakiest injury of the week comes down to two pitchers, one with a bad temper and the other with a short attention span.

It might be wise to start with the hostile one. No sense keeping him waiting.


Kansas City Royals reliever Neal Musser will miss the rest of the season after giving up the tiebreaking run in Monday's loss to the Minnesota Twins, punching a chair in the clubhouse and breaking his right pinky finger.

"It's definitely one of the lower points of my life right now," Musser said. "Obviously, I wasn't thinking too clearly. I'm paying the consequences right now.


"I've had a couple of bad outings and I was really frustrated by the outcome. So I hit something that was tougher than me."

The Royals decided that Musser had suffered enough and didn't fine him.

"We've all been there, or we all could have been there," manager Buddy Bell said. "What I'm mad at is the chair."

Meanwhile, Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Derek Lowe was scratched from Wednesday's start because of continued swelling in his right hand after he was struck while playing long toss with reliever Jonathan Broxton.

"I missed the ball," Lowe said. "We're trying to make the swelling go down. I had X-rays, and nothing is broken. It's just really, really bruised and sore."

Lowe, who is 11-12 with a 3.80 ERA in 30 games, also had a groin injury in July that kept him out of the rotation.

"This kind of caps off the year for me so far," he said. "It has been thrilling."

O's to get high pick for pain


Unless the Orioles go on a surge over the final two weeks of the season, they could be making their first selection in the 2008 amateur draft within the first three picks. View it as a consolation prize to ease the pain of a 10th straight losing season.

Favoring a college player this year who could reach the majors quickly, the Orioles grabbed Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters at No. 5. He was widely regarded as the top position player in the draft.

Because it's never too early to look ahead, Baseball America's Jim Callis rated the top three college players (upon request from a reporter who decided it's never too early to look ahead): Vanderbilt third baseman Pedro Alvarez, Missouri right-hander Aaron Crow and South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak. Smoak would fill a need, and he was a high school teammate of Wieters'.

Marlins pack them in

If a game is played and nobody's there, does it make a sound?

In the latest example of why baseball might not last much longer in South Florida, the Marlins drew an announced 10,121 for Wednesday afternoon's game against the Washington Nationals. In actuality, the head count was closer to 400.


"It looked like an extended spring training game," Nationals manager Manny Acta said.

The place was so empty, plate umpire Paul Schreiber had a heckler removed. "You could hear everything that was going on," he said.

The last-place Marlins won in 12 innings.

"You can't blame people," Marlins first baseman Mike Jacobs said. "It's an afternoon game, it's hot and it's on television. Not much is going to change unless we get a stadium with a roof on it."

Clueless in Seattle

The Seattle Mariners' collapse is historic.


No team since 1900 that was 20 games or more above .500 at the 126-game mark has gone on to lose 13 of 14, as the Mariners did.

Just don't tell outfielder Ichiro Suzuki that the Mariners are pressing.

"I don't even comprehend that word," he said. "No one is trying to win two games in one game. If someone did 100 sprints before games, then maybe he'd be pressing, but there's no such idiots on this team."

Quote of the Week

"It's an embarrassment what we're going through right now, losing so much, being in last place. I don't take that lightly. I don't take it as nothin'. I'm embarrassed. I can't even pick up my head because we're in last place. I can't take it no more."

San Francisco Giants catcher Bengie Molina


Quick hits

The Philadelphia Phillies' triple play Wednesday night was their second of the year. Before this season, they hadn't turned three since May 15, 1999. ... The Texas Rangers threw 230 pitches in a 12-9 victory over the Oakland Athletics - the highest total for a winning team in a nine-inning game since pitch counts were first tracked in 1988.