Keep an eye on the relationship between Roy Oswalt and the Astros. He has been disappointed that the club hasn’t made an attempt to land Jake Peavy and recently has seemed at odds with Manager Cecil Cooper. Oswalt has a full no-trade clause but might not mind a chance to go elsewhere, especially to a contender. . . . Injuries may have finished off Tampa Bay’s chance to contend again. The Rays put Jason Bartlett, second baseman Akinori Iwamura, left-hander Scott Kazmir and relievers Troy Percival and Brian Shouse on the DL in a span of less than a week, with Iwamura lost for the season to left knee and ankle tears that require surgery. He can be a free agent after the season, so there’s no guarantee he returns to the Rays in 2010. Percival seems headed for retirement because of shoulder problems. . . . If Tom Hicks is sincere about selling controlling interest in the Rangers, Nolan Ryan becomes a natural successor. But would Mark Cuban make another run at getting into MLB?
Gary Sheffield continues to provide a big lift for the Mets. Ditto the video replay rule. The Mets have gone 5-0 in getting the call on video replays this season. . . . Peavy insists he could reconsider a trade to the White Sox later in the season. The Sox say they’re open to the possibility, but it seems as much of a longshot as it did two weeks ago. . . . Add the Yankees and Braves as possibilities for the Indians’ Mark DeRosa. . . . Credit new pitching coach Rick Knapp, catcher Gerald Laird and an improved infield defense, as much as newcomers Edwin Jackson and Rick Porcello, for turning around Detroit’s pitching staff, which is battling for the AL’s lowest staff ERA. Knapp had been Minnesota’s minor league pitching coordinator for 12 years. . . . Jim Leyland had a good line after losing to Zack Greinke. “Kid’s got a lot of equipment,” he said. . . . Joe Mauer had never hit more than five homers in a month before May, when he was at 11 and counting entering the weekend. . . . Marlins GM Larry Beinfest doesn’t mess around, a thought opening-day starter Ricky Nolasco must be pondering as he pitches for triple-A New Orleans. He went eight innings there and isn’t expected to stay long, returning to see if he can do something about his 9.07 ERA.