Rick Ankiel could be nearing the end of his well-documented but still-surreal path through baseball, writes Joe Posnanski of NBCSports.com. Evoking the poet Dylan Thomas ("rage, rage against the dying of the light … do not go gentle into that good night"), Posnanski notes that Ankiel's journey has taken one more incredible turn. In 42 plate appearances this season prior to this evening's game, Ankiel posted a remarkable 26:0 strikeout to walk ratio, but was slugging over .600 thanks to his five home runs and two doubles. While long known as a free swinger with contact issues, Ankiel appears to be bringing both those labels to heretofore unseen extremes for the struggling Astros. Elsewhere around the American League:
- It is time to wonder whether and when the Mariners will start firing people, writes Dave Cameron at U.S.S. Mariner. While Cameron is no fan of manager Eric Wedge, he feels that there is little to be gained from a mid-season firing of the team's skipper. And while the team might be tempted to can GM Jack Zduriencik, that could create major logistical difficulties with the upcoming draft and then trade deadline. Ultimately, says Cameron, Seattle will be hard pressed to avoid reaping what it sowed in a confounding offseason.
- Twins GM Terry Ryan says it was "just happenstance" that this offseason saw the club acquire a series of groundball-inducing righties (Vance Worley, Mike Pelfrey, and Kevin Correia), Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press reports. Ryan has a background in what Berardino describes as "old-school scouting principles." Nevertheless, the GM says that he does not make any decisions without consulting his statistics guru, Jack Goin, whose official title is manager of major league administration and baseball research.
- The Angels have outrighted right-handed Elvin Ramirez to Triple-A after the pitcher cleared waivers, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com (via Twitter). Ramirez was acquired from the Mets for cash about a month back. The move means that the club has cleared a spot on its 40-man roster, Gonzalez also notes.
- After being designated for assignment to make room for Aaron Laffey, pitcher Ramon Ortiz has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A by the Blue Jays, according to the club's Buffalo affiliate (on Twitter). He made one appearance for Toronto this year after spending all of 2012 in the Yankees' system.