Morning Newsletter

McCarthy walks, could leave hospital

Oakland Athletics pitcher Brandon McCarthy has walked a few steps and is making encouraging progress in his recovery from surgery after getting hit in the head by a line drive last week. A's trainer Nick Paparesta said Monday that McCarthy seems likely to leave the hospital soon. Paparesta had said two days earlier that McCarthy was still in a "life-threatening" situation.

"I think that we're a little bit more comfortable with where he is and how he's doing, absolutely," Paparesta said Monday before the A's opened a four-game series with the Los Angeles Angels.

Paparesta said McCarthy took a few steps Monday, even climbing and descending four stairs with the help of a handrail, just five days after undergoing two hours of surgery. He has been moved to a transitional care unit in his Bay Area hospital.

"The neurologist was very happy with the results of his examination today," Paparesta said. "We're not ready to give you an exact date yet, but I think it's short. I think it's soon."

Astros owner hopes Clemens will pitch

Roger Clemens' comeback might be headed to Houston. Well, Astros owner Jim Crane isn't ruling it out, at least. Crane said Monday there's a possibility the 50-year-old right-hander could pitch this season for the majors' worst team.

"We haven't heard from Roger, so that's still up in the air," Crane said.

The last-place Astros begin a weeklong homestand on Monday that includes three games against the Cubs and four against the Phillies. Their only remaining home games after this stretch are against the Pirates and the Cardinals — two teams in postseason contention. Crane said he would not pitch the seven-time Cy Young Award winner against a contender, which leaves this week as the only option.

Berkman's season over

Lance Berkman is scheduled for season-ending surgery on his troublesome right knee Tuesday, leaving the Cardinals without a dangerous bat as they try to secure a playoff spot. The defending World Series champions began the night with a 1½ -game lead over the Dodgers in the race for the second NL wild card. Berkman's knee and other physical ailments have limited the switch-hitter to 80 at-bats this season. He was hitting .263 with two homers and seven RBI.

■ Yankees first baseman Mark Teixeira is expected to be sidelined for 10 days to two weeks, missing most of the rest of the regular season. Teixeira returned to the lineup Saturday in Baltimore, his first appearance since Aug. 27, and reinjured the calf on the final play of the game diving into first base.

■ White Sox slugger Adam Dunn was out of the lineup for a fourth straight game with a strained right oblique as Chicago began a pivotal four-game series against the Tigers. Dunn has 38 homers.

■ Minor-league home run champion Darin Ruf was called up by the Phillies on Monday. The team selected Ruf's contract after he led all minor leaguers with 38 home runs this season for Double-A Reading. He hit 20 homers in August. He earned the nickname "Babe" Ruf in the minors and several Phillies called him that in the clubhouse before their game against Miami.

■ Angels ace Jered Weaver is slated to pitch Thursday after skipping a start to rest his right shoulder tendinitis. Manager Mike Scioscia said Weaver expects to start the series finale against the Athletics at Angel Stadium. Weaver (16-4) is second in the AL in victories and third in ERA (2.86).

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