- The Washington Times - Monday, July 22, 2002

Baseball writer Mark Zuckerman ranks the week's most talked-about stories:
1
CARDS GET FINLEY
Is St. Louis outside the boundary of Tawny's restraining order?
2
LIDLE THROWS ONE-HITTER
The A's wear '70s yellow jerseys and suddenly he thinks he's Catfish Hunter.
3
FORMER EXPOS OWNERS SUE MLB
Only the No.17 story of the week in Canada (behind summer league hockey).
4
TORII HUNTER GOES BERSERK
Hey, Torii: Try throwing the ball that hard when you're in the field!
5
ROYALS WIN 9 IN A ROW
Begging the question: The Royals are still in the league?
6
IT'S ALL STEINBRENNER'S FAULT
We've said it all along: If you want to fix baseball, eliminate the Yankees.
7
BONDS PULLS HAMSTRING
You'd be tight too if you never got out of your home run trot.
8
WILLIAMS SAGA DRAGS ON
This much is certain: Body must be frozen by expiration date or else it goes bad.
9
GAGNE HAS 34 SAVES
35 if you count saving your baseball career.
10
IRABU OUT FOR SEASON
Well, there goes the Rangers' season.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NATIONAL
BREWERS

Remember Ben Sheets, the former U.S. Olympic hero who was supposed to lead the decrepit Brew Crew to the promised land? He's fallen on hard times, or rather, hard-luck times. The young right-hander, who started his rookie season 10-5 and made the NL All-Star team, is 5-17 since then. It's not all Sheets' fault, though. Despite his 4-11 record this year, his ERA is a solid 3.93.
DODGERS

Odalis Perez
has been instrumental in Los Angeles' fabulous season, but the left-hander is starting to show signs of fatigue. The 24-year-old All-Star is 10-6 with a 3.23 ERA but has gone 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA over his last four starts. Perez made the unusual move of asking Jim Tracy if he can skip an upcoming start to rest up for the stretch run, and the Dodgers manager may comply. Perez pitches tonight against San Diego, then could go 10 days before returning to the mound.
EXPOS

Could Montreal actually get reliever Graeme Lloyd back two weeks after dealing him to Florida for Cliff Floyd? That's what Lloyd was hoping when he asked an arbitrator to reverse his trade from the Expos. The veteran left-hander thought the Marlins were one of 12 teams in his no-trade clause, but his agent failed to submit the list of teams before the Nov. 1 deadline. Lloyd seems to have the legal cards stacked against him, but he insists that "it's not cut-and-dry legally." Stay tuned.
METS

As New York continues to fall out of the NL East race, many are calling for major trades in the coming week. Rumors have circulated about possible deals involving Mo Vaughn, Edgardo Alfonzo and even Armando Benitez. Manager Bobby Valentine, however, says this season is far from over, even if the Mets' only hope is a late push for the wild card. "It's well within reach in 2 months of baseball," Valentine said. "In 2 weeks of baseball."
PIRATES

Few fans outside Pittsburgh get to see him play regularly, but Brian Giles is legitimately one of the best players in the game today. The 31-year-old outfielder has averaged 37 homers, 111 RBI and batted .313 over the last three seasons and already has 26 homers this year. His .634 slugging percentage is second-best in the majors (behind Barry Bonds' .776), and Lloyd McClendon is lobbying his fellow managers to award Giles with his first Gold Glove.

AMERICAN
ATHLETICS

With the Big Three of Mark Mulder, Tim Hudson and Barry Zito mowing opposing hitters down and newcomer Ted Lilly taking over the No.4 spot in the rotation, Cory Lidle (3-8, 5.08 ERA) appeared to be on his way out of Oakland. Then the right-hander went out and one-hit the Rangers Friday night, carrying a no-hitter into the eighth inning. All of a sudden, he's looking like the best No.5 starter in baseball, and yet another reason the A's will be tough to beat if they make the playoffs.
BLUE JAYS

The David Wells-for-Mike Sirotka trade of 2001 is becoming more and more of a disaster every day for Toronto. Sirotka, a promising young left-hander whom the Blue Jays acquired from the White Sox, missed all of last season with a torn labrum in his shoulder, and now he's been told he'll need even more surgery. At best, he won't make his Toronto debut until next spring. At worst, he might never pitch again.
RED SOX

With Nomar Garciaparra mired in a 3-for-24 slump since the All-Star break, the Detroit Tigers made a previously unheard-of decision last week. During the seventh inning of Tuesday's game, the Tigers intentionally walked Johnny Damon to load the bases for Garciaparra. The plan worked he grounded out. "I would have done the same thing," Garciaparra quipped. "Have you seen me?"
ROYALS

Don't look now, but Kansas City is the hottest team in baseball, posting a nine-game winning streak and threatening to (gasp!) take over third place in the AL Central. All this winning seems to have gotten to manager Tony Pena's head. "I'm thinking about first [place]," Pena said with a straight face. "There are a lot of games left. I've seen it happen. Anything can happen in baseball." Right
YANKEES

Raul Mondesi
hasn't exactly provided the offensive punch the Yankees were expecting when they traded for the former Toronto right fielder earlier this month. In 42 at-bats in pinstripes, Mondesi is batting .190 with two homers and seven RBI. Of more concern is his health Mondesi twice in recent days went to the hospital with recurring chest pains. All tests came back negative, but there are worries about how he'll hold up for the rest of the season.
Mark Zuckerman

THE LIST
Best double-play combos in baseball:
1. Rey Sanchez-Nomar GarciaparraRed Sox
2. Roberto Alomar-Rey OrdonezMets
3. Pokey Reese-Jack WilsonPirates
4. Jerry Hairston-Mike BordickOrioles
5. Bret Boone-Carlos GuillenMariners
6. Michael Young-Alex RodriguezRangers
7. Alfonso Soriano-Derek JeterYankees
8. Mark Grudzielanek-Cesar IzturisDodgers
9. Adam Kennedy-David EcksteinAngels
10. Ricky Gutierrez-Omar VizquelIndians


QUOTABLE
"They won't call on me until they need me. They're hypocrites."
Pete Rose, on baseball's hierarchy and his fight for reinstatement to the game.

"If John Henry is listening, let the old fisherman go back to the sea."
Sportscaster Dick Enberg, in a plea to John Henry Williams to end the family feud over the remains of his father, Ted Williams.

"Baseball cannot continue with its current economics. It just can't. It's not in any of our interests to have baseball be such that each season it's going to be the Yankees against some other team in the World Series."
Indians owner Larry Dolan criticizing Yankees owner George Steinbrenner for increasing New York's payroll this year.


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