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Compiled by Peter Yoon

The Bottom Half

June 03, 2007|Peter Yoon

OFF THE WALL

Looking back

* On this date in 2003, Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs was ejected from a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays after umpires found cork in the shattered bat he had just used for a run-scoring groundout. Sosa, who had reached the 60-home run plateau three times before that, was suspended eight games for the infraction.

Looking ahead

* General managers will have a busy week as the first-year player draft takes place this week. ESPN2 will broadcast the first round live beginning at 11 a.m. It's the first time the baseball draft will be televised. The Devil Rays have the first pick, followed by the Kansas City Royals and the Cubs. The Dodgers have the 20th pick and the Angels, who traded their first-round pick, will draft 58th.

It's a fact

* The Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Chicago White Sox, 2-0, Thursday and made Mark Buehrle perhaps the toughest-luck loser of all time. Buehrle gave up only two hits and did not walk a batter in the complete game. Frank Thomas and Aaron Hill homered, so Buehrle never pitched from the stretch. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the first time since record keeping began that a team won a game without putting a runner on base.

MINOR LEAGUE REPORT

TERRY EVANS, OF

Salt Lake; triple A

Evans, 25, came to the Angels' organization from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Jeff Weaver trade. He arrived with a bang, blasting 11 home runs in 52 games at double-A Arkansas after hitting 22 home runs in 82 games at two stops in the Cardinals' organization. His power numbers aren't quite there this year -- he has hit only six home runs in 51 games with Salt Lake -- but he's still a solid hitter, batting .322 with 19 doubles and 34 runs batted in. He has also shown speed with 10 stolen bases. Last year, he had 37 steals combined at all three stops. It took Evans some time to develop -- he was a career .249 hitter in his first four seasons as a pro before finally breaking out last season, when he batted a combined .309.

TYLER JOHNSON, OF

Cedar Rapids; Class A

A 15th-round draft pick out of high school in 2004, Johnson, 21, spent the first part of this season in extended spring training, but the extra work has paid off as he has hit five home runs in his first 13 games with Cedar Rapids. He is batting .271 but had consecutive three-hit games on May 28 and 29. He hit home runs in both of those games. He spent most of last season with Rookie League affiliate Orem, where he batted .257 with eight home runs and 36 RBIs in 59 games. He's considered a good defensive outfielder with an above-average arm and has some speed -- he stole 10 bases in 13 attempts at Orem last season. Strikeouts are a bit of a problem -- he has 16 in 48 at-bats this season and struck out 95 times in 245 at-bats last year.

ONE UP, ONE DOWN

Who's on the rise, who's slumping:

FIRST BASE

* Up: Richie Sexson, Seattle -- Batting average above Mendoza line for the first time since April 20.

* Down: Jason Giambi, Yankees -- Could it be he hurt his foot by putting it in his mouth?

SECOND BASE

* Up: Dustin Pedroia, Boston -- Ten-game hitting streak makes you forget he was batting .172 on May 1.

* Down: Jeff Kent, Dodgers -- Hasn't been the same since he struck out pinch-hitting on May 26.

THIRD BASE

* Up: Adrian Beltre, Seattle -- Ned Colletti checks media guides to see what he looks like in Dodger blue.

* Down: Alex Rodriguez, Yankees -- It's as if somebody has been yelling "Ha!" during his at-bats.

SHORTSTOP

* Up: Alex Gonzalez, Cincinnati -- Probably only double-digit home run hitter available for fantasy leagues.

* Down: J.J. Hardy, Milwaukee -- You didn't really think he was going to hit 50 home runs, did you?

OUTFIELD

* Up: Jason Bay, Pittsburgh -- The best player today that you never see on "SportsCenter" highlights.

* Down: J.D. Drew, Boston -- Might want to consider officially changing his name to Day to Day.

CATCHER

* Up: Victor Martinez, Cleveland -- He has been a one-man wrecking crew in the battle for the AL Central.

* Down: Mike Napoli, Angels -- This is the inconsistency you get from a free swinger.

PITCHER

* Up: John Lackey, Angels -- Winning without his best stuff shows he has achieved true ace status.

* Down: Carlos Zambrano, Cubs -- Has better aim at Michael Barrett's face than at Barrett's catcher's mitt.

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