It was on this day in 1997 that Roger Clemens struck out 16 Red Sox batters to lead the Blue Jays to a 3-1 win at Fenway Park. It was Clemens' first appearance in Boston since he signed a free agent contract with Toronto the previous winter, and there were some definite hard feelings — Clemens punctuated several of his strikeouts with glances up towards the Fenway luxury boxes and then-Sox GM Dan Duquette.
Here's the latest from around the AL East…
- Speaking of Duquette, the current Orioles executive VP tells Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he is looking for a hitter with on-base skills to bat first or second in the Orioles' lineup. Connolly speculates that Shane Victorino could fit that bill though the O's would have to outbid several other teams if the Phillies made Victorino available.
- Duquette didn't completely rule out dealing a major prospect like Manny Machado or Dylan Bundy, but such a deal is very unlikely. "They can be really good major leaguers for a really long time,” Duquette said. “That’s the way I look at it. I don’t know that we want to send them to another ballclub for two months or 10 starts of a pitcher. I don’t think that’s the kind of trade we’d want to make. But we want to advance our team in the pennant race.” (Quotes courtesy of Connolly's Twitter feed).
- Evan Longoria's recovery timeline will "influence" what the Rays will do at the trade deadline, Andrew Friedman told reporters, including Roger Mooney of the Tampa Tribune (Twitter link). Longoria is expected back in August though the third baseman has already experienced one setback during his recovery from a torn hamstring.
- Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos told reporters (including Sportsnet's Shi Davidi) that with Edwin Encarnacion's extension settled, the team can now focus on acquiring pitching. Anthopoulos also said he "didn't have any intention of trading" Encarnacion, though ESPN's Jayson Stark reported earlier today that the Jays were checking on trade interest in Encarnacion just last week.
- The Yankees have wrapped up negotiations with first-round draft pick Ty Hensley and are waiting to hear if the right-hander will accept their offer before tomorrow's draft signing deadline, reports Marc Carig of the Star-Ledger.
- The Red Sox are almost obligated to be active at the trade deadline, says ESPN's Tim Kurkjian during a radio appearance on WEEI's Dennis & Callahan show. (WEEI.com's Morley Quatroche has a partial transcript.) “I think they’re going to have to be buyers because they’re the Red Sox,” Kurkjian said. “And they can’t give up on a season….The Red Sox have to go out and get somebody. They have to go out and get another starting pitcher, whether it’s Ryan Dempster or Zack Greinke. It’s going to take an enormous amount to do it.” Kurkjian also discusses such topics as Carl Crawford's injury, Bobby Valentine's managerial style and the mood in the Sox clubhouse.
- For most Boston-related material, here's a collection of Red Sox notes from earlier today, plus news about trade interest in the team's backup outfielders.