- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 16, 2006


Cole Hamels, Phillies

Some prospects rocket to the majors, and others move one level at a time. Then there’s Hamels, who made only 28 appearances in the minors before this season because of a string of injuries since being drafted in 2002. He made four starts at Class A and then three more at Class AAA this season before the Phillies deemed him ready. Thirty-six strikeouts and one walk at Class AAA will do that. He looked good in his Philly debut and should be in the rotation for good. He and Gavin Floyd have been tagged as the key to the future of the Phillies for a couple of years. Now they are the key to the present.


Jered Weaver, Angels

Tall, lanky frame? Check. Flowing blond locks? Check. Herky-jerky motion? Check. Yes, he is a mirror image of his older brother Jeff. Destined to be a top prospect-turned enigma? Maybe not. While Jeff is well known for his antics on the mound, Jered is lauded for his cool. Jeff was a walk-on in college, and Jered was a prodigy — drawing comparisons to Mark Prior. When Jeff signed with the Long Beach Angels of Compton in the offseason it meant they probably would pitch together soon. Big brother better start pitching better (1-6, 7.40 ERA) because little brother (50 strikeouts and six walks at Class AAA) is next in line and might take his spot in the rotation. That could make for an awkward family barbecue.


Dewon Brazelton, Padres

It might not be fair, but Brazelton was destined to be a disappointment. When the Devil Rays picked him third in the 2001 draft before Gavin Floyd and Mark Teixeira and after Joe Mauer and Mark Prior, he faced some major expectations to live up to. Brazelton is with his second organization (the Devil Rays didn’t like him refusing a minor league assignment) and he might need a third to make it back to the big leagues. He had a great spring with the Fathers, but he was torched in the rotation and torched in the pen (a 12.00 ERA in 18 innings) before being demoted. He would have to be near perfect at Class AAA to be back at any point this summer.

— Corey Masisak


If you’re ever in Toronto, watch what you eat. Five Oakland Athletics players dined out last week while they were in town to play the Blue Jays, and four of them came down with food poisoning. That left the A’s with only 19 available players for that night’s game. They lost 9-7. …

Orioles fans remember Josh Towers all too well. The slender right-hander won AL rookie of the month honors in 2001, then slumped badly the following year and wound up losing his job. He resurfaced with the Blue Jays last season and won 13 games, earning a two-year contract extension. So how’s Towers done this season? How about losing his first seven starts! “I’m shocked,” he said. “Print that.” Good news, though: Towers beat the Devil Rays Sunday to improve to 1-7. …

Curt Schilling still has no love for Yankees fans, and he isn’t afraid to admit it. “If you’re a Yankee, they’re phenomenal fans,” the Red Sox pitcher said. “They’re not stupid — well, most of them are. There have been some situations.”


Not that anyone really believed this would happen, but the Marlins won’t be moving to San Antonio. Officials in Bexar County, Texas, set a May 15 deadline for the struggling franchise to announce its to move, but the club declined to meet it. Owner Jeffrey Loria continues to insist he prefers to remain in South Florida, but at the moment the team is at least $100 million short of the $420 million it needs to build a retractable-roof stadium. …

Whatever happened to Oliver Perez? The Pirates lefty led the NL in strikeouts per inning in 2004 but hasn’t done much since. He’s 1-5 with a 7.71 ERA this season and is convinced his problems are mechanical. The club is trying to get Perez to adjust his arm slot, saying it’s too low at his release point. If he doesn’t figure it out soon, he may be forced to work things out in the minors. …

Every month is lovely in San Diego, but May seems to be especially nice for the Padres, who have won 14 of 15 to put themselves back into the mix in the NL West race. This is nothing new, of course, because this team went 22-6 in May 2005, paving the way for a division title.

Mark Zuckerman

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