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The bottom half

June 29, 2008|Bill Shaikin

Dodgers: The Dodgers played the Giants in the first three games of the season and haven't seen them since -- except in the rearview mirror, at an uncomfortably close distance. In this season when the Giants were expected to be bad -- and they are -- nothing would be quite so embarrassing for the Dodgers as finishing behind their rivals. Season totals for center fielders, through Friday's games: Aaron Rowand, .300 with eight home runs and 43 runs batted in for the Giants, for $10 million; Andruw Jones and Juan Pierre, .243 with two home runs and 31 RBIs for the Dodgers, for $26 million.

Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants, Friday through next Sunday at AT&T Park, San Francisco.

Angels: The Angels can't shake the A's, and that makes July an interesting month for Oakland General Manager Billy Beane. He might trade starter Joe Blanton and closer Huston Street -- or keep them and make a run at October. His most intriguing trade chip is Rich "Oft-Injured" Harden, who has made nine consecutive starts without injury. He's 5-0 with a 2.15 earned-run average, so Beane can keep him -- or trade him before he gets hurt again. Harden is scheduled to put his unbeaten record on the line Tuesday in Anaheim.

The week ahead

Angels vs. Oakland Athletics, Monday through Wednesday at Angel Stadium.

Elsewhere: If Harden could represent the gigantic gamble in this summer's trade market, C.C. Sabathia could represent the sure thing -- a legitimate ace, even if he's a free agent at the end of the season. But, just as the A's might decide to keep Harden and fight on against the Angels, the Indians might decide to keep Sabathia and play for October. Sabathia is scheduled to pitch during this series, which ought to go a long way in helping Cleveland decide whether to buy or sell. If the Indians finish next weekend way back of the White Sox and Twins in the AL Central -- and even further back in the wild-card race -- the time could come for Sabathia to go.

Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins, Friday through next Sunday at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Minneapolis.

Minor leaguers of the week

Angels: Peter Bourjos, of

Bourjos batted leadoff and started in center field, representing Class-A Rancho Cucamonga and the California League in last week's All-Star game against the Carolina League. Bourjos leads the California League with 37 steals -- in 40 attempts. He also ranks among league leaders with a .343 batting average. He has only 13 walks, and he'll have to do better to make the major leagues as a leadoff batter, but he has cut his strikeout ratio from one per four at-bats last season to one per six this season. The Angels selected Bourjos, 21, son of former Giants outfielder Chris Bourjos, in the 10th round of the 2005 draft.

Dodgers: Carlos Santana, c

Santana and right-hander Paul Koss represented Class-A Inland Empire and the California League in last week's All-Star game against the Carolina League. Santana, a converted outfielder from the Dominican Republic, has emerged alongside Lucas May as a promising catching prospect for the Dodgers. Santana, 22, batted .223 with seven home runs at Class-A Great Lakes last season, but the Dodgers promoted him anyway, and he's batting .303 with eight home runs at Inland Empire. He gets on base a bit: He has 50 walks and 41 strikeouts this season, with a .415 on-base percentage, and 159 walks and 156 strikeouts in his career.

-- Bill Shaikin

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