- The Washington Times - Monday, June 24, 2002

Baseball writer Mark Zuckerman ranks the week's most talked-about stories:
1 FAREWELL, DARRYL
2 FAREWELL, JACK
Baseball's classiest town loses two of its classiest men.
3 CASTILLO'S STREAK ENDS
DiMaggio fans can breath easy (not that they were ever really holding their breath).
4 DODGERS ON A ROLL
Scoring all their runs in the 3rd-7th innings. You know, when their fans are actually there.
5 RED SOX GETTING MANNY BACK
Just in time to disrupt a happy clubhouse.
6 GRIFFEY LEAVES WITH HAMMY INJURY
Surprising he has such a strong record of good health.
7 AUSTIN KEARNS DEMOTED
Note to GMs: Maybe you shouldn't rush these guys so much.
8 O'S BEAT SCHILLING
The fact that this is noteworthy tells you something about Curt. And Baltimore.
9 LONGHORNS WIN CWS
Nobody swings aluminum better.
10 INTERLEAGUE PLAY CONTINUES
Wait, they still play INTRAleague games? Could've fooled us.

AROUND THE LEAGUES
NATIONAL
ASTROS
With Houston toiling in fourth place in the NL Central and the All-Star break fast approaching, GM Gerry Hunsicker must decide soon whether his team has a chance to contend. The magic number is .500 Hunsicker says if the Astros are at or near that mark by the All-Star break, they could still make a playoff run. If not, he'll probably start looking to dump salaries.
BRAVES
It looks like center fielder Andruw Jones finally has learned some plate discipline and is blossoming into one of the league's best all-around players. Always known for his defensive prowess, Jones has made a concerted effort to cut down on his strikeouts and draw more walks. He's leading the team in walks and has struck out just 30 times in the last two months. An All-Star selection is a near-certainty.
BREWERS
Milwaukee's already frustrating season took another devastating turn for the worse last Monday, when outfielder Geoff Jenkins dislocated his right ankle in a gruesome-looking play at third base. Jenkins had already rounded third and was turning around to get back to the bag when he stepped awkwardly and felt his ankle pop. Though he's likely lost for the season, Jenkins' injury is not considered as serious as the one suffered by Pirates catcher Jason Kendall three years ago in a game against the Brewers.
DODGERS
Left-hander Odalis Perez walked into the visitors' clubhouse at Dodger Stadium last Tuesday, hoping to say hello to new Toronto manager Carlos Tosca, who previously managed Perez in Class AAA. Instead, Blue Jays pitching coach Gil Patterson screamed at Perez and demanded that he leave. Perez vowed revenge, and he got it two nights later by beating Toronto 2-1. Said Perez: "Their pitching coach, he needs to be more educated."
REDS
For a club that has spent most of the season leading the NL Central, Cincinnati doesn't have too many players worthy of All-Star consideration. One darkhorse candidate, though, is right-hander Elmer Dessens the pitching staff's de facto ace. Dessens' record is only 4-4, but his 2.63 ERA is fourth best in the league and he's received no run support. In his four losses, the Reds have scored a total of four runs three in one game alone.

AMERICAN
ANGELS
Seeking bullpen help for closer Troy Percival, Anaheim is reportedly pursuing Antonio Alfonseca of the Cubs. Just one problem: The Cubs insist the Angels have not contacted them about a possible deal, and even had they, "Why would we trade him?" one club source told the Chicago Tribune. Chicago wants to keep Alfonseca, who has 10 saves, a 2.25 ERA and makes $3.55 million, but might be willing to deal Tom Gordon, who makes $2.8 million and is close to returning from a shoulder injury.
DEVIL RAYS
Tanyon Sturtze
is not a top-line pitcher, but he's hardly the worst guy in the league. Unfortunately, his record says otherwise. After losing to the Giants 10-2 on Thursday, Sturtze fell to 0-8, failing to win in 15 starts this season. He's starting to lose faith. "I know it can't go on all season, not winning a game," Sturtze said. "I don't know, maybe it can."
INDIANS
For the better part of the last decade, few teams have had a greater presence on the AL All-Star team than the Indians. It looks like the run has come to an end, though. With the team slipping in the standings and attendance at Jacobs Field plummeting, the Indians likely won't have an All-Star starter for the first time since 1994. First baseman Jim Thome (currently in fourth place) is the only Cleveland player ranked in the top five at his position in balloting.
MARINERS
Speaking of unworthy All-Stars, Seattle outfielder Mike Cameron could become one of the least-qualified electees in years. Currently in fourth place, 20,000 votes behind Minnesota's Torii Hunter, Cameron is getting all kinds of attention because he plays for the popular Mariners and slugged four home runs in one game this year. What fans apparently aren't recognizing, though, is Cameron's paltry .213 batting average.
RANGERS
Once again, nothing's going right in Texas the Rangers' latest calamity was pitching coach Oscar Acosta, who was fired last week. Manager Jerry Narron's justification: "philosophical differences." Narron didn't like Acosta's intense handling of his pitching staff and wanted someone with a softer approach. Enter former Dodgers star Orel Hershister, one of the most knowledgeable ballplayers over the last 20 years, though his nickname was "Bulldog."
Mark Zuckerman

THE LIST
Cities that have hosted the most All-Star Games:
New York7
Chicago6
Cleveland5
Boston4
Cincinnati4
Los Angeles/Anaheim4
Philadelphia4
Pittsburgh4
St. Louis4
Washington4

QUOTABLE
"Who?"
The Marlins' Luis Castillo, when asked about the significance of tying Rogers Hornsby's 80-year-old record for the longest hitting streak (33) by a second baseman.

"The games here are too long too up and down. I'm happy to be out of here. This has been ridiculous the last three games."
Derek Jeter, after his Yankees lost 14-11 in 10 innings to the Rockies and combined with them to score 70 runs in their three-game series.

"He meant so much. I tell everybody he's my best friend, but he's the best friend of every baseball fan in this community."
Michael Roarty, a longtime Anheuser-Busch executive and close friend of Jack Buck.


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