Toronto expects third baseman back Tuesday

Toronto Blue Jays: Third baseman Corey Koskie is hoping his RBI double during a Triple-A rehab assignment is a sign he's ready to return to the Blue Jays.

Koskie went on the disabled list in May because of a broken thumb and torn ligament, missing two months of play before his seven-game stint with the Syracuse SkyChiefs. Toronto expects him back in the lineup on Tuesday.

"It's starting to feel better when I'm taking swings that the thumb and the hand don't hurt," he said. "It's just a matter now of getting consistent swings."

Koskie, signed as a free agent during the offseason, was batting .248 with 22 hits and seven home runs before his May 19 injury in a game against his former team, the Twins. It happened sliding into second base. This is the fourth straight season the Manitoba native has missed playing time because of an injury. He was out 16 days in 2002 with a right hamstring injury, 19 days in 2003 with a strained lower back and 15 days in 2004 with a strained sternum.

During his absence, Toronto called up Aaron Hill from the SkyChiefs to play third base. He's had 63 hits in 53 games with two home runs and a .320 batting average.

Toronto eased the upcoming logjam of position players with the trade of utility man John McDonald to the Tigers on Friday.

Dick Scott, the Blue Jays director of player development, isn't too worried about Koskie's return.

"Koskie is just working on getting his timing back at the plate," Scott said in Syracuse. "He'll dial it up a notch when he gets back to Toronto."

Koskie added: "After a long layoff, you're excited to get back and play the game. I was just excited to get back on the field, even here in Syracuse. You can do all the exercises in the world, but there's nothing like live game action."

Kansas City Royals: Right-hander Kyle Snyder, a 1999 first-round pick, was recalled and started against Toronto.

Snyder, who missed the 2004 season after undergoing shoulder surgery, was 0-0 with a 4.15 ERA in six relief appearances earlier this season for the Royals. He went on the disabled list May 2 with a right shoulder strain and was optioned to Triple-A Omaha on July 14 after a rehab assignment.

In his final start with Omaha, Snyder allowed just one hit in six shutout innings.

The Royals optioned rookie left-hander J.P. Howell to Omaha to make roster space for Snyder. Howell, who began this season with Class A High Desert in the California League, was 1-4 with a 7.68 ERA in eight starts.

St. Louis Cardinals: Rookie John Rodriguez sprained his right ankle when he tripped over an exposed nail on the dugout steps during a game against the Cubs.

Rodriguez, who has hit safely in all six starts since being called up from the minors, tumbled into the dugout after his spikes got caught. He is the second St. Louis player to be injured that way -- Larry Walker tripped earlier this season.

"What can you do?" Rodriguez said. "Hopefully, they'll do something about it and get it fixed."

Rodriguez stayed in the game after he was hurt and then pulled up at second base after an RBI double in the third inning, his second double of the game. He was removed and walked off the field after briefly consulting with trainer Barry Weinberg.

Rodriguez, a 27-year-old career minor-leaguer before Reggie Sanders' broken leg gave him a shot in the majors, expects to play Sunday. He's batting .381 (8-for-21) with two home runs and three RBI and has made a handful of nice plays in left field.

"I didn't come all this way to be on the DL," Rodriguez said after a 6-5 loss Saturday. "Don't worry about it, it's a one-day thing. I just want to wrap it up and go after it tomorrow. I'm going to let them know I can play."

Minnesota Twins-Detroit Tigers: The Twins sent right-hander Scott Baker back to Triple-A Rochester on after he won the second game of a day-night doubleheader.

The Twins recalled third baseman Terry Tiffee from Rochester.

Baker was promoted to start against the Tigers and was the winning pitcher in the Twins' 5-2 victory. He allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, walked one and struck out five.

Meanwhile, the Tigers sent right-handed pitcher Justin Verlander to Double-A Erie.

Verlander was recalled earlier in the day to pitch the second game of a day-night doubleheader against Minnesota. He took the loss as Detroit was beaten 5-2 by the Twins. He allowed five runs and eight hits in six innings.

To replace Verlander on the roster, the Tigers recalled left-hander Vic Darensbourg from Triple-A Toledo.

Toronto Blue Jays: The team recalled right-hander David Bush from Triple-A Syracuse to start Saturday night against the Royals.

Bush began the season in Toronto's rotation, but after going 0-5 with a 4.80 ERA in 10 starts he was optioned to Syracuse on May 29. He was 2-2 with a 4.42 ERA in nine starts with Syracuse.

The Blue Jays had roster space for Bush after trading infielder John McDonald to Detroit on Friday.

Colorado Rockies: The team added infielder Anderson Machado to the roster a day after he was cleared to play after undergoing an MRI.

Machado, claimed off waivers from Cincinnati on Wednesday, had undergone knee surgery in January.

The Rockies also said they had purchased the contract of pitcher Randy Williams from Triple-A Colorado Springs and optioned infielder Eddy Garabito to Colorado Springs.

The team also added right-handed pitcher Jason Jennings to the 15-day disabled list and moved right-hander Blaine Neal from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day list.

Jennings is expected to miss the rest of the season after breaking his right middle finger while trying to break up a double play in Washington this week.

Cincinnati Reds: Joe Randa knew when he joined the Reds that he was a stopgap until top prospect Edwin Encarnacion was ready to take over at third base.

Randa's brief stint in Cincinnati ended when he was traded to the Padres for minor-league right-handers Justin Germano and Travis Chick. The Reds then recalled Encarnacion from Triple-A Louisville and handed him the everyday job at third.

"When we originally signed [Randa], we explained that he was a bridge to Edwin Encarnacion," Reds general manager Dan O'Brien said. "This is an opportunity to get some playing time going into spring training. He's our third baseman of the future."

The 22-year-old Encarnacion, acquired from Texas in a June 2001 trade, played in 10 games with the Reds earlier this season and batted .222. He hit .314 with 15 homers and 54 RBI in 78 games with Louisville and had a home run in the Triple-A All-Star Game.

"I thought it was going to happen," said Encarnacion, who is expected to be in the starting lineup Sunday. "They've been talking a lot about a trade, but I didn't think it was going to be today."

Arizona Diamondbacks: Play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman has agreed to a five-year contract extension, the team announced.

Brennaman has been the Diamondbacks' primary announcer since the team's first season in 1998. He also does broadcast for Saturday afternoon games and postseason play for Fox.

"Extending Thom's contract was one of my first objectives and a top priority," Diamondbacks general partner Jeff Moorad said. "He is one of the finest in his profession and has developed a tremendous reputation based on his style, professionalism and genuine personality."

Brennaman is the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Marty Brennaman of the Reds.

"I absolutely adore this market and these fans," the younger Brennaman said of Arizona, "and could not think of a more fitting place to call home and to live out my dream."