PITTSBURGH The Pittsburgh Pirates may wait until close to the Aug. 15 deadline for signing drafted players before deciding whether to sign and how much to offer injured second-round choice Tanner Scheppers.
The hard-throwing right-hander, whose fastball is in the range of 95 mph, was projected to be drafted by the midpoint of the first round. Teams backed off him because of an injury that was initially diagnosed as a stress fracture, and he fell to the No. 48 pick.
Because Scheppers fell so far, the Pirates essentially wound up with a pair of first round-caliber players, including No. 2 overall pick Pedro Alvarez but they now have only two months to sign two big-ticket picks.
Alvarez, a power-hitting Vanderbilt third baseman, may ask for $8 million-plus and a major league contract.
Scheppers' injury was recently diagnosed by Angels team doctor Lewis Yocum as a slight tear in his right rotator cuff and a frayed labrum, two relatively common injuries for pitchers. The Pirates now plan to have their doctors examine Scheppers, who was 8-2 with a 2.93 ERA this season at Fresno State.
RAYS PITCHER, CATCHER SCUFFLE: Tampa Bay starting pitcher Matt Garza and catcher Dioner Navarro had to be separated after arguing in the dugout during Sunday's game at Texas. Television cameras caught the pitcher and catcher face-to-face in the dugout and in an apparent scuffle that spilled into the tunnel leading to the clubhouse after the fourth inning. Manager Joe Maddon, pitching coach Jim Hickey and others could be seen rushing to break up the fracas. It wasn't clear if any punches were thrown.
JONES HELD OUT: Braves third baseman Chipper Jones was held out of Sunday's 6-3 loss to Philadelphia due to a small tear in his right quadriceps, and he said he may miss one or two more games. The Braves are off today and begin a 10-game road trip at Chicago against the Cubs on Tuesday. Jones said he won't test the injury before Tuesday.
ROYALS' PERALTA SENT DOWN: The Kansas City Royals optioned right-hander Joel Peralta to Triple-A Omaha on Sunday. The Royals, who used six relievers in a 12-11 loss to the New York Yankees on Saturday, selected the contract of right-hander Jeff Fulchino from Omaha.
PERCIVAL'S REHAB ON TRACK: Tampa Bay closer Troy Percival is expected to throw a simulated game today or Tuesday in Anaheim and could be closing games again by the end of the week. Rays manager Joe Maddon said Percival's rehab from a pulled left hamstring is on target. Percival has been on the disabled list since May 29, and is eligible to return Friday.