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Claire Rolls the Dice by Protecting Cedeno

September 02, 1996|ALLAN MALAMUD

There is no truth to the rumor that the Dodgers turned down a trade for Ken Caminiti because the San Diego Padres wanted Roger Cedeno in exchange. . . .

But a couple of years from now, Fred Claire is going to either look like a genius or something less after rejecting attractive offers for Cedeno, the young center-field prospect who is playing at Albuquerque. . . .

Despite their recent success, you'd think that an organization as deep in minor league talent as the Dodgers would have acquired an important veteran for the stretch run and postseason. . . .

Ted Turner is the Jerry Buss of baseball owners, one who leaves decisions to his player personnel people and isn't afraid to dig into his pockets. . . .

Latest example was Atlanta's deal with Pittsburgh for left-handed pitcher Denny Neagle. . . .

The Colorado Rockies, who can't win on the road, have been downgraded from National League West contender to potential spoiler. . . .

This will be the Angels' sixth non-winning season in the last seven. . . .

At the moment, the Texas Rangers' Johnny Oates is a runaway choice for American League manager of the year. . . .

New York fans shouldn't judge Bobby Valentine by what happens the rest of a season that was over long ago for the Mets. . . .

Among the season-closing series that might be important is New York at Boston. . . .

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Unlike last season, it doesn't appear that the Oakland Raiders are going to peak too early. . . .

Sorry, but I could have done without all those shots of smiling Cleveland turncoat Art Modell in his Memorial Stadium box during the Baltimore Ravens' victory over the Raiders. . . .

During what is probably a lame duck year, the Houston Oilers, who aren't bad, will be without a home-crowd advantage at the Astrodome. . . .

Among the lessons of opening day was never underestimate a Jimmy Johnson-coached team. . . .

Leave it to Johnson to turn the Miami Dolphins into a ball-hogging running machine in the first half of their 24-10 victory over the New England Patriots. . . .

Of course, it helps when you have a secret weapon such as former UCLA star tailback Karim Abdul-Jabbar, who somehow lasted until the third round of the draft. . . .

To the surprise of many of us, last year's expansion teams, Carolina and Jacksonville, are still unbeaten and have outscored the opposition, 53-15. . . .

It wasn't much of a day for present or former Pittsburgh Steeler quarterbacks. . . .

NFL pregame shows share a problem with most baseball games: They're too long. . . .

I give L.A. two chances, slim and none, of landing the 1999 or 2000 Super Bowl. . . .

The Pacific 10 Conference isn't exactly off to a great start. After title favorite USC was battered by Penn State, contender Oregon had to go into overtime to beat Fresno State. . . .

Thumbs up to Coach Phillip Fulmer for lifting quarterback Peyton Manning after one series of the second half of Tennessee's 62-3 rout of Nevada Las Vegas. . . .

Fulmer refused to inflate Manning's statistics or allow him to risk an injury unnecessarily. . . .

That's an unusual opener for Notre Dame, Thursday night at Vanderbilt on ESPN. . . .

It was worth staying up until 2:30 in the morning Sunday to watch unbeaten featherweight Prince Naseem Hamed's 11th-round victory over Manuel Medina at Dublin, Ireland, on Showtime. . . .

Hamed is a showman with a wallop, but exposes his chin and will be hard pressed to beat a good puncher. . . .

Oscar De La Hoya and Miguel Angel Gonzalez, the unbeaten lightweights who will fight Oct. 12 at Caesars Palace, are training three miles away from each other in Big Bear. . . .

Sound-alikes: CBS tennis commentators John and Patrick McEnroe. . . .

John McEnroe said that Michael Chang tries harder, point after point, than any tennis player he has seen except Jimmy Connors. . . .

Team USA's 5-3 victory over Canada in the World Cup of Hockey was no fluke. . . .

ESPN commentator Lee Corso after Michigan State's 52-14 victory over Purdue: "That's the worst looking Purdue defense I've seen since last year."

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