* While younger players like Josh Reddick and Yoenis Cespedes have led the A's into the thick of the wild-card chase, it's easy to overlook the contributions of a couple of veterans on the club. Bartolo Colon, 7-8 with a 3.78 ERA, has resurrected his career the last two seasons, with the Yankees last year, and now in his work with the A's. Brandon Inge has hit 11 HR with 47 RBI's in his 64 games played for Oakland. While struggling with the average (.220), Inge has nevertheless provided some pop for a team that ranks last in the American League in hitting (.229). Colon, whose career appeared over on several occasions these past few seasons, has provided a steady presence to a pitching staff that boasts three starters under 25. Inge chips in to solidify the infield, providing a trustworthy glove for a defense that borders on shaky.

* Staying in the West, it's hard to ignore what the Mariners are doing since the Ichiro trade ten days ago. Winners of seven straight, the M's have done their damage against the fading Royals, and a Toronto club that is struggling to find consistency without Jose Bautista. The Mariners resisted the urge to trade Felix Hernanzedez before the deadline, sending a message to their fan base that the rebuilding process is moving forward with him in the mix. While King Felix (9-5, 2.79 ERA) is still bringing the numbers for manager Eric Wedge, the Mariners are also getting huge performances out of Jason Vargas (12-7). The lefty has won his last five starts, and has an ERA of 1.77 over his last seven outings.     

* Intriguing tidbits from Boston Globe's Dan Shaughnessy regarding Terry Francona's visit to the Red Sox clubhouse last weekend. Appearing Wednesday on Boston's The Sports Hub with Andy Gresch and Scott Zolak, Shaughnessy said that Francona went in, grabbed a player's stool, sat down, and started talking to various players. Shaughnessy mentioned the rule in Boston that states that as a media member, you are not permitted to sit in a player's spot; said player has earned that seat. Predictably, none of the players seemed to mind. The writer also told Gresh and Zolak that Bobby Valentine was in his office, door closed, at the time the gathering was taking place. When asked about the meeting later, Valentine brushed it off as no big deal, but you'd have to think that it burned him up like a bucket of extra crispy.

* Ryan Dempster got roughed up in his first start for the Rangers, lasting only 4.2 innings while giving up eight runs to the Angels at home. The 15-year veteran had spent his entire career in the National League, with the last nine seasons being with the Cubs. Despite the outing, his ability to eat up some innings will dramatically help a staff that is already being taxed. Roy Oswalt, who was supposed to add some late-season magic for the Rangers, has been getting lit up as of late, and is now pitching out of the bullpen. Colby Lewis is done for the season after suffering a torn flexor tendon in his right elbow. The Rangers have also lost Neftali Feliz, the former closer who blossomed as a starter this season, out indefinitely following Tommy John surgery.  

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