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Injury-Plagued Veteran Sierra Released by the Twins

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

The Minnesota Twins released veteran Ruben Sierra on Monday, ending his injury-plagued stint with the team.

Sierra hit .179 with one double and four RBIs in only 28 at-bats this season. The 40-year-old spent six weeks on the disabled list after rupturing the biceps tendon near his left elbow, and never really got much playing time after that in his role as a pinch hitter.

Sierra, who signed a minor league contract with the Twins in the off-season, also had a strained quadriceps muscle in spring training that kept him from joining the team for opening day. He has 306 home runs and 1,322 RBIs in 20 major league seasons.

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Boston Red Sox right-hander Jason Johnson, struggling in the majors and needing a place to pitch during the All-Star break, was optioned to single-A Wilmington.

Boston also hired former Kansas City Royals general manager Allard Baird as a special assignment scout. Baird spent 18 years with the Royals and was fired May 31 after serving five full seasons as GM.

Johnson is 0-2 with a 10.13 earned-run average in two starts for Boston since being acquired from Cleveland on June 21. He is 3-10 with a 6.35 ERA in 16 starts overall this season.

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The Arizona Diamondbacks and Manager Bob Melvin have agreed to a two-year contract extension with an option for 2009, MLB.com reported. An announcement is expected after the All-Star game.

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New York’s Yankees and Mets are the two most popular teams in the majors, according to a nationwide Harris Poll.

The poll has rated the Yankees as the nation’s favorite team every year since 2003; the Mets have climbed 12 spots since 2004, when they were ranked 14.

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The Mets bumped the Atlanta Braves out of the second spot and down to third. The Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox round out the top five.

The Harris Poll was performed online in the U.S. June 12-18. Of the 2,351 people who took part, 884 were baseball fans.


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