FULL COUNT: Giants call up Tanaka with All-Star break approaching

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Utility man Kensuke Tanaka was called up to San Francisco on July 9 after batting .330 with 24 RBIs and 20 steals for the Fresno Grizzlies. He started for the Giants in left field on Tuesday night against the Mets, but is normally a second baseman.

As for the Athletics, neither Hideki Okajima nor Hiroyuki Nakajima is expected to be called up to Oakland before the All-Star break July 14-17.

Japanese aces Yu Darvish (8-4) of the Texas Rangers and Hisashi Iwakuma (7-4) of the Seattle Mariners will represent the American League at the MLB All-Star Game at Citi Field in New York on July 16. Darvish leads the majors with 157 strikeouts and Iwakuma has 106. New York

Yankees starter Hiroki Kuroda (7-6) is sporting a 2.77 ERA with a 1.03 WHIP and is a strong replacement candidate for the contest.

Kuroda’s teammate Ichiro Suzuki is batting .278 with five homers and 22 RBIs as of July 9 and first baseman Travis Ishikawa struck out twice in his debut in the pinstripes on July 8. He appeared in six games for the Orioles this season, hitting .105 with an RBI. He won a World Series with the Giants in 2010.

Kansas City Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie (8-6) got the victory on July 8 against the Yankees as he pitched 6.2 innings and allowed one run, six hits and one walk along with three strikeouts.

In Boston, Red Sox closer Koji Uehara blew the save on July 6 against the Angels, allowing one run on two hits while recording one out. Setup man Junichi Tazawa has 45 strikeouts and a 1.18 WHIP and could switch roles with Uehara if needed. Outfielder Shane Victorino continues to be hobbled by a hamstring injury.

Los Angeles Angels’ pitcher Jerome Williams (5-4) recorded just nine outs against the Red Sox on Saturday, allowing five runs on seven hits in a no-decision on July 6.

Brewers outfielder Norichika Aoki went 3-for-5 with two RBI as Milwaukee defeated Kurt Suzuki and the Washington Nationals 4-1 on July 3. Suzuki is batting .222 and is now splitting time with Wilson Ramos.

On the “All-Bad” team is the Los Angeles Dodgers demoted closer Brandon League (8-6) who got touched up for two more runs on July 4. Joining him is Chicago second baseman Darwin Barney went 0-for-4 on July 7.
Sorry to disappoint fans, but Toronto Blue Jays infielder Munenori Kawasaki was optioned to Triple-A to make room for Jose Reyes at the end of June.

Drew Morita, a Yonsei from the island of Kaua‘i, grew up rooting for the Oakland A’s but is now a loyal San Francisco Giants fan. He writes from San Francisco. Follow him @drewmorita or e-mail him at drew_morita@yahoo.com.

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