Ozzie eruption

The loquacious Ozzie Guillen was in midseason form yesterday after his White Sox lost their third straight to Tampa Bay, saying Chicago general manager Kenny Williams should make some changes.

"It could be me. It could be [hitting coach] Greg Walker, the players, anybody," Guillen told the Associated Press. "I'm sick and tired watching this for a year and a half. I'm not protecting anybody anymore."

Including, apparently, himself.

Ouch

During the 12-game losing streak that ended Saturday night, the Kansas City Royals gave up three grand slams, lost a five-run lead in the ninth, were no-hit, and were swept in consecutive four-game series.

New assignment

Steve Trachsel pitched the final five innings of Baltimore's 9-4 loss to Boston yesterday. The veteran allowed two runs and four hits in the second relief appearance of his career - the first since Sept. 16, 1995. He has 417 career starts, including eight this season, but he appears to have lost his spot in the Orioles' rotation.

The five-inning stint raised Trachsel's career total of innings pitched to exactly 2,500.

"The first inning was a little nerve-racking. I don't know if it was doing it the first time or jogging in from center field, the heart rate was definitely more than normal," Trachsel told the Associated Press. "But after that it was just pretty much business as usual."

Noteworthy

Texas righthander Vicente Padilla left the team yesterday, returning to his native Nicaragua to attend to what manager Ron Washington termed "a family personal matter." The former Phillie has been the Rangers' top starter with a 7-2 record and 3.67 ERA. . . . The New York Yankees designated infielder Morgan Ensberg for assignment and recalled righthander Scott Patterson for another option out of the bullpen.

Finally

In what can only be interpreted as a win for the little guy, baseball was turned upside down in the first two months of this season.

As baseball passed the first of its traditional "milestones" on Memorial Day, the teams with the two highest payrolls - the Yankees (naturally) and Detroit - were in last place.

Even better, the teams with the two lowest payrolls - the Florida Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays - were leading the pack in their divisions.

As Jayson Stark pointed out on ESPN.com, the Yankees' starting infield alone makes more money ($76 million) than the entire rosters of the two Florida teams combined (about $65.6 million).

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