In the news:
Phillippe Aumont, exchanged in Cliff Lee trade, impressing in Philadelphia
The former Mariners prospect has emerged as an important member of the Phillies' bullpen.
When it comes to the Cliff Lee trade, most of the evaluation from Mariners fans is based on the performance of the players received by Seattle.
But the M's did give up three prospects as well in that Dec. 16, 2009 deal: pitchers Phillippe Aumont and J.C. Ramirez, and outfielder Tyson Gillies.
Gillies is still in Class AA, where he hit .304 this year despite a concussion that sidelined him for 6 ½ weeks and a team-imposed two-week suspension. Ramirez had a so-so season split between Class AA and AAA.
But Aumont — the Mariners' first-round pick, 11th overall, in 2007 — is in the majors, filling an important late-inning role in the Phillies' bullpen.
In his first nine games after getting called up, Aumont put up a 1.08 earned-run average, allowing just four hits, walking four and striking out nine in 8-1/3 innings.
Aumont faltered in a key situation on Thursday to suffer a loss against Houston, but it was his fifth appearance in five days.
One person Aumont has impressed is Lee. He worked a scoreless eighth inning on Wednesday to "hold" a win for Lee.
"Oh, he's good," Lee told reporters afterward. "I expect him to be a huge part of our bullpen for years to come. He's got unbelievable stuff."
Beltre bashful about
Adrian Beltre has put himself into the American League MVP conversation, though Beltre downplays his chances.
"I'm not that good a player," Beltre told The Dallas Morning News. "That's not me."
Beltre, who finished second to Barry Bonds for the NL award in 2004 while with the Dodgers, ranks among the top seven in the AL in home runs, runs batted in, average, slugging percentage and OPS, while playing Gold Glove-caliber defense at third base. Mike Trout, however, remains the frontrunner for MVP, with Miguel Cabrera as his top rival.
Beltre, meanwhile, will be vying with teammate Josh Hamilton for votes.
"Josh is the straw that stirs the drink," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "And so is Adrian. They both make us go."
Notes and quotes
• The Orioles and Rays are trying to do something last achieved by the Mariners — come back from 10 games or more behind in mid-July to win a division or league championship.
Only nine teams have trailed by double digits on July 18 or later and came out on top. The last was the 1995 Mariners, who were 13 games back of the Angels on Aug. 2 and wound up tied for the AL West title, then won a one-game playoff.
The Orioles were 10 games behind the Yankees on July 18, and the Rays were 10 ½ behind on the same date. The Orioles reached this weekend tied with the Yankees for the AL East lead, while the Rays were just three games behind.
The biggest such deficit overcome was in 1978 by the New York Yankees, who were 14 behind the Red Sox on July 19 and won the division. And the latest comeback was by the 1964 Cardinals, 11 behind the Phillies on Aug. 23. The Cardinals rallied to win the pennant as the Phillies famously collapsed in the final weeks.
• Then there are the Milwaukee Brewers, who just over three weeks ago stood 12 ½ games out of the second wild-card berth. Not to mention the Philadelphia Phillies, who were nine games out of a wild-card berth on Sept. 4.
As of Saturday morning, the Phillies were three games out of the wild card, the Brewers 3 ½.
The Brewers' surge has come after they traded Zack Greinke. The Phillies dealt Hunter Pence, Shane Victorino and Joe Blanton.
"Honestly, it didn't look good," said Federal Way's Travis Ishikawa to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.
Ishikawa has been filling in at first base for injured Corey Hart.
"As far out as we've been and as bad as we played earlier this year, we found a way to play the ball we knew we were capable of playing out of spring," he said.
• The first player from the 2012 draft to make the majors? That would be pitcher Paco Rodriguez, a second-round pick (82nd overall) by the Dodgers out of the University of Florida.
• The Yankees released outfielder Dewayne Wise when they traded for Ichiro. The White Sox signed him. Since those transactions, Ichiro (through Friday) is hitting .289 in 49 games, with three homers, 18 runs batted in and five stolen bases. Wise is hitting .283 in 29 games, with five homers, 16 RBI and 10 stolen bases.