Rogers begins comeback

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Kenny Rogers is back, in more ways than one.

The Detroit Tigers ace makes his first start of the season tonight, less than three months after surgery to remove a blood clot from his left shoulder.

And, as fate would have it, his first start will be in Atlanta, scene of one of the toughest moments of his long career.

Rogers hasn't pitched at Turner Field since 1999, when he walked Andruw Jones with the bases loaded in the 11th inning of Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The base on balls sent the Braves to the World Series and ended the season for Rogers' team, the New York Mets.

ORIOLES: Joe Girardi turned down an offer to manage Baltimore. The Orioles began negotiating with Girardi soon after firing Sam Perlozzo on Monday. The sides appeared headed toward an agreement on Wednesday, but Girardi decided the timing wasn't right.

MARLINS: Right-hander Anibal Sanchez will miss the rest of the season after undergoing an operation that repaired a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. As a rookie last season, he pitched the first no-hitter in the major leagues in 2 years when he beat the Arizona 2-0 on Sept. 6.

NATIONALS: A 43-game hitting streak in the minor leagues helped Brandon Watson get another shot at the big leagues.

Watson set the International League record on Sunday when he singled in the sixth inning of the Columbus Clippers' 9-8 loss to the Ottawa Lynx. Four days later, he was starting in center field for Washington.

Watson made his major league debut in 2005, hitting only .175 in 40 at-bats.

YANKEES: New York executive Steve Swin-dal had his hearing on a driving under the influence charge postponed until Aug. 2.

Swindal, who had been designated as George Steinbrenner's successor as head of the Yankees, was arrested by St. Petersburg, Fla., police on Feb. 15. Swindal has pleaded not guilty.

ALL-STAR COACHES: Willie Randolph, of the New York Mets, and Bruce Bochy, of the San Francisco Giants, were picked as coaches for the NL All-Star team. Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire and Texas' Ron Washington were selected as coaches of the AL team.

CHINESE PLAYERS SIGN: The New York Yankees and the Seattle Mariners have each signed two Chinese players.

The Yankees signed two 19-year-old players - left-handed pitcher Kai Liu and catcher Zhenwang Zhang. The Mariners added catcher Wei Wang and infielder-outfielder Yu Bingjia.

All four signed minor league contracts, becoming the first players from China to join major league organizations.


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