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Down The Line

September 03, 2006|Tim Brown

Four Days in ...

Minnesota

Just last weekend, the Twins were four games behind the Tigers, leading the White Sox by 1 1/2 games in the AL wild-card race and seemingly holding up under the strain of the Strain (Francisco Liriano's elbow).

Alas, the difference between in and out in the American League could be the width of a few strands of ligament.

Liriano hasn't pitched since Aug. 7, and Brad Radke's shoulder has perhaps finally and irrevocably and heroically gone to gristle, so four September games against the Tigers could reach into October.

The probables: Thursday -- Justin Verlander vs. Scott Baker; Friday -- Zach Miner vs. Matt Garza; Saturday -- Mike Maroth vs. Boof Bonser; Sunday -- Jeremy Bonderman vs. Johan Santana.

All for One

Theo Epstein went to work for the Padres in 1995, starting in the entertainment department. By 1997, he was in baseball operations, which led to his becoming general manager of the Red Sox in 2002, a month shy of his 29th birthday.

Bright, energetic and appropriately condescending for someone who'd come so far so fast, Epstein apparently will rebuild the Padres before getting on with the Red Sox.

On July 19 of last season, he dealt right-hander Scott Cassidy to the Padres for outfielder Adam Hyzdu.

Today's Padres: Cassidy: 37 appearances, 2.79 ERA.

Today's Red Sox: Hyzdu: released, batting .271 for the Oklahoma RedHawks.

This season, he has traded catcher Josh Bard and right-hander Cla Meredith to the Padres for catcher Doug Mirabelli, and left-hander David Wells for catcher George Kottaras.

Today's Padres: Bard: 85 games, .324 average. Meredith: 30 appearances, 0.89 ERA. Wells: 0-0, 0.00, scheduled to start today against the Reds.

Today's Red Sox: Mirabelli: 46 games, .189 average. Kottaras: Might back up Jason Varitek for the next two years.

Bats and Pieces

Baseball officials are working on the details, but the World Baseball Classic is expected to be played in 2009 during spring training, just as it was this year. There had been speculation that the tournament would be better scheduled during an extended All-Star break or after the World Series.

Ken Griffey Jr., to MLB.com on his postseason plans: "My momma, she got a dress for the playoffs. If we don't get there, I'll have to send her to Vegas." ... Paul Lo Duca, standing in a near-empty clubhouse after last Sunday's rainout against the Phillies, from the maw of the ink-stained beast: "You guys are wearing me out because nobody else wants to talk. I've been the clown of the week for the last month and you guys are still coming after me."

The Devil Rays are pretty sure Delmon Young was purposely hit in his first big league plate appearance by White Sox right-hander Freddy Garcia. And Ozzie Guillen is pretty sure Young tried to stare him down from the plate in a later at-bat. Yup, this is what big league baseball has come to.

Hope the Maris family has set aside some time later in September, just in case David Ortiz or Ryan Howard breaks Roger's record for home runs in a season.... Rene Francisco, a skilled talent evaluator who left the Dodgers to return to the Braves last winter, has joined GM Dayton Moore in Kansas City as a special assistant and director of international operations.

One More Thing

From ...

Two guys on the down escalator at Dodger Stadium:

Guy 1 (pointing to a sign listing coming promotional events): "Dude, look, they're giving away fireworks."

Guy 2: "Uh, I think maybe they're shooting off fireworks."

Guy 1: "Oh, yeah, that makes sense."

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-- Tim Brown

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tim.brown@latimes.com

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