Morning (Almost Lunch) Extras: Phillies Kick Gagne's Tires & Birds Stuff

Morning (Almost Lunch) Extras: Phillies Kick Gagne's Tires & Birds Stuff

Still hoping to bolster their bullpen, the Phils are once again looking into big names from five years ago. The latest is former Cy Young winner and owner of the longest consecutive saves streak in MLB history, Eric Gagne. He last pitched in the bigs for Milwaukee in 2008, going 4-3 in 50 appearances with a 5.44 ERA and 10 saves.

It's cool Amaro is willing to give former All Stars such as Pedro Martinez a look, and that one certainly didn't work out too badly for them. Gagne just seems too far removed from those three seasons between '02 and '04, when he pitched in an astounding 224 games for the Dodgers. Now he has the appearance of a broken down player, one whose name has come up in the steroid scandal at that.

Gagne, a Montreal native, pitched for the Quebec Capitales in the independent Can-Am league in '09. In 17 starts, he went 6-6 with a 4.65 ERA, and 64 strikeouts to 34 walks. Not sure how much to read into those statistics, but the strikeout to walk ratio is telling. In his best days, that number was closer to 7:1. In recent years, it's been 2:1. It's unclear what kind of ball player the Phillies would be getting, but it will never be the same guy who broke records and won awards.

It's just a tryout though. Thoughts on the possibility of adding Eric Gagne?

Eagles long snapper Jon Dorenbos became the seventh Eagle to make this year's Pro Bowl in Miami. It's not terribly interesting news, but it is notable how he made the team: Wade Phillips.

The Cowboys head man will run the NFC squad this year (rather than the loser of NFC Championship, due to the game being moved up two weeks), and as Michael David Smith explains at PFT, the coach is allowed to select two additional "need" players for the game. Phillips chose Dorenbos, who has been solid since joining the club in 2006.

Donovan McNabb is expected to replace either Brees or Favre on the roster, giving Philly eight representatives in the game.

Quote of the moment by Shawn Andrews, heard on Sports Bash with Mike Gill on ESPN Radio 97.3, relayed by Moving the Chains:

"When I came out to LA after my back issue, I had to look coach Reid in the eye and tell him I owe him," Andrews said. "It’s bigger than football with me right now. If nothing else, I just wish that I could get just one more season just so I can pay coach Reid and just prove to the fans that I still have it, I still want to be a part of this organization. And for coach Reid sticking by me with my situation in 2008, and I definitely owe the city of Philadelphia so hopefully lord willing, I can get back to 100 percent and get to mashing people again."

CSN went to the trouble of compiling a list of what Eagles quarterbacks might fetch in a trade. The results are kind of all over the board, but the consensus was McNabb for a first or high second, Kolb anywhere from a late first to not even a second, and Vick some kind of conditional mid-round pick.

I think they're right on the money with McNabb, who could be worth as high as a first and a third. Vick too, who could easily go for a fourth as we discussed yesterday. Not surprisingly, it's Kolb who didn't get the respect of the panel. Some really smart football guys (Brian Baldinger, Ray Didinger) had him rated no higher than a third round pick. Obviously nobody knows yet what the true market is for any of these guys, but it seems like the Eagles would want a closer return on their investment. A high second round pick who became the first player to throw for 350-plus in his first two starts?

Starting quarterbacks are worth a premium. If a team believes in Kevin Kolb enough to trade for him, the Eagles will almost certainly ask for more.

The Sixers are back in action at the Wach tonight against Portland. Tip at 7:00. That's all I have to say about that.

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

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Associated Press

Union have no answer for Didier Drogba, Impact in 5-1 loss

MONTREAL  -- Didier Drogba broke out with a hat trick to lead the Montreal Impact to a 5-1 victory over the Union on Saturday night.

The 38-year-old Ivorian striker hadn't scored since May 28. He returned last week after missing three games with a thigh injury.

Ignacio Piatti returned after sitting out a one-game suspension to score a goal and add two assists. Recent signing Matteo Mancuso, who went in for Drogba in the 79th minute, got his first MLS goal in added time.

Montreal improved to 7-5-8.

Chris Pontius scored for Philadelphia (8-7-6).

Odubel Herrera's bat returns, but so do Aaron Nola's struggles in loss to Pirates

Odubel Herrera's bat returns, but so do Aaron Nola's struggles in loss to Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- The good news for the Phillies on Saturday was that it finally seems All-Star Odubel Herrera's bat is returning to its typical, productive form.

The centerfielder had his second straight three-hit game Saturday as he continued to pull out of his slump, though it wasn’t enough to keep the Phillies from losing 7-4 to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the middle game of a three-game series at PNC Park (see Instant Replay).

Yet Herrera’s suddenly hot bat gave the Phillies some reason to feel good on a day when another player who the organization believes can be a foundation player backslid. Right-hander Aaron Nola (5-9) took the loss as he allowed six runs and six hits in four-plus innings.

The bad Nola returned after pitching six scoreless innings in his previous outing Monday against the Miami Marlins. Prior to shutting down the Marlins, Nola allowed a combined 30 runs in five starts while failing to get past the fourth inning four times.

“When he’s at his best, he has control of all his pitches,” Phillies manager Pete Mackanin said. “He’s lost his control and he needs to a find a way to get it back.”

However, Herrera improved to 6 for 9 in the series by going 3 for 4 with a triple, two runs scored and two stolen bases. He had been 4 for 41 in his previous 11 games before coming to Pittsburgh, a skid that dropped his batting average to .281 from .300.

“It was getting pretty ugly for about a week there, so it feels good to get some hits,” Herrera said. “That’s my job, to get hits, be successful and help the team win. I really don’t go into too many slumps, so it’s hard to try to fight your way through it and stay positive. When I get a hit, I am happy.”

Herrera is now hitting .290 with 10 home runs and 33 RBIs in 98 games.

There had been a school of thought that making his first All-Star Game appearance July 12 at Petco Park in San Diego might have had an effect on the 24-year-old. The schedule for the players during the festivities is basically non-stop for two days and then Herrera had to fly across the country to rejoin the Phillies in Philadelphia for the second half of the season.

“I was concerned it might have an effect on him,” Mackanin said. “It was the first time he had participated in an even of that magnitude and it can be hard to refocus after that.”

Herrera, though, said he is not sure how much being an All-Star played into his cold spell.

“Maybe it did,” Herrera said. “It was a busy couple of days there. I don’t know what to compare it to because I hadn’t been before. Obviously, I didn’t have the same chance to rest as a lot of other players, so it could have had an effect. However, playing in the All-Star Game was a great experience and I am glad I had a chance to be there.”

If Herrera plays like he has the last two games, Herrera figures to appear in more Midsummer Classics before his career is through.

“He has the ability to win a batting title,” Mackanin said. “He’s that good of a hitter. He’s a smart hitter. When pitchers start adjusting to him, he adjusts back. I only see him getting better.

“Then you throw in that he played a heckuva center field and it’s just an impressive total package."

MLB Notes: White Sox scratch Chris Sale after 'clubhouse incident'

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USA Today Images

MLB Notes: White Sox scratch Chris Sale after 'clubhouse incident'

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale has been scratched from his start against the Detroit Tigers after he was involved in what the team says was a "non-physical clubhouse incident."

The White Sox declined to describe the incident, but said it's "currently under further investigation by the club" and that Sale was sent home from the park.

The move was announced less than a half hour before Saturday's game. Sale was going to attempt to become the first 15-game winner in the majors.

The White Sox planned to use multiple relievers in his place. The start of the game was delayed by rain.

With the White Sox fading from playoff contention, Sale's name has been mentioned as a possible trade target for contending teams.

The left-hander is 14-3 with a 3.18 ERA.

TWINS: Suzuki leaves game after taking foul ball off mask
BOSTON -- Minnesota Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki left Saturday night's game against the Boston Red Sox in the second inning after getting hit in the mask with a foul ball.

Suzuki appeared to have a cut on his chin as he walked to the dugout with a team trainer.

Boston's Dustin Pedroia was at the plate and fouled one off the catcher.

Suzuki was replaced by Juan Centeno.

PADRES: Cuban prospect signs deal with $7 million signing bonus
WASHINGTON -- Top Cuban prospect Jorge Ona and the San Diego Padres have agreed to a minor league contract with a $7 million signing bonus.

The 19-year-old outfielder receives $4.9 million within 30 days of the deal's approval by the commissioner's office and $2.1 million on Jan. 15. The deal is pending a physical.

Ona was ranked as the No. 8 international prospect of the 2016 class by MLB.com and the fourth-best available Cuban player earlier this year by Baseball America.

General manager A.J. Preller said during a conference call Friday that the contract is for 2017. He hopes Ona will play in the fall instructional league and then report for spring training and start his pro career next season.