- The Washington Times - Monday, May 29, 2006

WASHINGTON NATIONALS AT PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

TODAY AT 7:05 P.M.

TV: MASN

TOMORROW AT 7:05 P.M.

TV: MASN

WEDNESDAY AT 1:05 P.M.

TV: MASN

PHILLIES FIRST BASEMAN RYAN HOWARD IS ESSENTIALLY THE SAME PLAYER AS JIM THOME, JUST NEARLY 10 YEARS YOUNGER AND A HECK OF A LOT CHEAPER. WHEN THOME GOT HURT LAST YEAR, HOWARD SEIZED HIS OPPORTUNITY AND WON THE NATIONAL LEAGUE’S ROOKIE OF THE YEAR AWARD. SEE YA, JIM.

THE PHILLIES TRADED THE TOP-DOLLAR THOME TO THE WHITE SOX OVER THE WINTER AND HAVEN’T REGRETTED IT. THE 6-FOOT-4, 250-POUND HOWARD IS EVERYTHING THE CLUB ENVISIONED WHEN IT SELECTED HIM IN THE FIFTH ROUND OF THE 2001 DRAFT. THROUGH YESTERDAY, HOWARD HAD 44 RBI, 17 HOMERS AND A .619 SLUGGING PERCENTAGE.

WASHINGTON NATIONALS at MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Friday at 8:05 p.m.

TV: MASN, Ch. 20

Saturday at 7:05 p.m.

TV: MASN

Sunday at 2:05 p.m.

TV: MASN

Will he stay or will he go? The Brewers face a huge decision on slugger Carlos Lee. Lee, a free agent at the end of the season, is coming off a 32-homer year in which he became just the fourth player in franchise history to play all 162 games. The Brewers picked up his $8.5 million option for this season but risk losing one of the NL’s top sluggers at season’s end.

The Brewers now have three options with Lee: They can re-sign him, trade him before the July 31 deadline or let him sign elsewhere and take a compensatory draft pick.

The club, desperate to shed its mid-market image, has boosted payroll to $53million from $27 million over the past two years. If the Brewers want to further that image makeover, they can give Lee a multi-year deal.

Got a question about the Nats? Mark Zuckerman has the answers. To

submit a question, go to the Sports Page

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