Dan George
Wednesday May 4th, 2005

MLB Power Rankings
RankLW Team
1623 Since Ismael Valdez was sent packing to the Marlins last July, their No. 5 starters are a combined 0-13 with an ERA over seven. How to fix things? Hmmm, we don't know, uh, how about ... a four-man rotation?
1711 A personal catcher for Pedro Martinez? Willie Randolph says no, but Ramon Castro has started over Mike Piazza in four of Pedro's last five starts. A product of their infamous 1998 spat? More likely Piazza's 3-for-23 record in nabbing base stealers this season.
1817 Outfielder Charles Thomas, one of three players they got from the Braves for Tim Hudson, went hitless in his first 24 at-bats before getting a single last week. Gotta be a load off for Joe Wallis, whose 0-for-27 start in 1979 remains secure in the A's record book.
1919 At 4-2 with a 3.92 ERA, 22-year-old Jeremy Bonderman is reminding some people in Motown of former Tiger aces Jack Morris, Mickey Lolich and Denny McLain. Well, except that he isn't grumpy, isn't fat and hasn't been in prison twice.
2015 With starter Kerry Wood out for at least three weeks with a strained shoulder, their rash of injuries is threatening to become an epidemic. Said Dusty Baker: "I even saw one of the grounds-crew guys limping."
2126 Not much has gone right for them this season -- check out Jim Thome -- but Jon Lieber has been a nice surprise (4-1, 2.81 ERA) since the Yankees declined to pick up his option. Of course, he's no Jaret Wright.
2213 After his mammoth 2004 campaign with the Dodgers (.334, 48 HR, 121 RBI), Adrian Beltre is struggling in Seattle (.238, 3, 16). He blames unfamiliar opposing pitchers. Remember how Vlad Guerrero had the same problem last year?
2318 A company called Steiner Sports Marketing is selling game-worn Yankee jerseys. Derek Jeter's and Hideki Matsui's are going for $29,999.99 each. Sounds reasonable. But we're holding out for Robinson Cano.
2422 Big (6-feet-3, 240) and young (27), Travis Hafner's nickname is "Pronk," which we're told is the product of teammates describing him as part project, part donkey. We had to ask.
2525 An offensive juggernaut last year, they've already been shut out five times in 2005. That projects to 32 for the season. The team record is 23, set in 1963, when they were called the Colt 45s. No bullets then, either.
2627 Because of an inner-ear infection, doctors wouldn't let right-hander Josh Fogg fly. So he and a team trainer drove the 412 miles from Chicago back to Pittsburgh. Took nine hours. But they got to see Youngstown, which is lovely this time of year.
2714 How about Ken Griffey Jr. stiffing an ESPN camera crew that showed for an interview last week? Charming. Of course, that was before he went deep for his 502nd career homer -- and his first since July 8, 2004.
2824 In addition to his spat with Lou Piniella, Curt Schilling also got hot when TV announcer Joe Magrane ripped him for his role in last week's Red Sox-Rays brawl. "Joe Magrane [was a] tool when he played and he is now," said Schilling, who then threatened to give Magrane a wedgie.
2930 Despite notching their first two-game winning streak since last September, they're on pace to lose a club-record 118 games. On a happier note, Chiefs training camp begins July 28 in River Falls, Wis.
3029 Coors Field celebrated its 10th anniversary last week. Since its opening, 2,694 home runs have been hit in 812 games -- a rate of 3.31 per game. And that includes 2 1/2 seasons of Juan Pierre.

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