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Tom Verducci's View

May 16, 2005
May 16, 2005

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May 16, 2005

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  • Freddie Adu got all the attention, but New England's Clint Dempsey has been the star of the class of '04

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Tom Verducci's View

THERE ISN'T EVEN A GUESS

This is an article from the May 16, 2005 issue Original Layout

Will Barry Bonds (right), with his Yugo of a right knee (it's always in the shop), play baseball this summer? Don't ask the Giants, who still have little clue as to what he's up to, and don't expect to find the answer on his lightweight website, which was scooped by the San Francisco Chronicle last week on the news of the slugger's third knee surgery in 91 days (not including multiple procedures to drain fluid). Meanwhile, The Arizona Republic reported that the doctor Bonds chose to perform the operations, Arthur Ting, was put on probation by the California state medical board until 2009 for "unprofessional conduct." Says Giants first baseman J.T. Snow, "We're past the point of counting on him because there's really nothing we can do except go out and play. Nobody in this clubhouse is talking about him anymore."

JUNIOR'S NO MENCH

Before the 2002 season no one would have expected Kevin Mench (left), a rookie reserve outfielder for the Rangers, to outproduce Ken Griffey Jr., a future Hall of Famer, over the next three-plus seasons. But that's what has happened. Like Griffey, Mench, 27, has battled injuries, but when he's been in the lineup he's proved to be a potent hitter. Though healthy this year, Griffey has yet to regain his power stroke--he hit three homers in his first 103 at bats--and has not hit for average either. Here's how Mench and Griffey compare from 2002 through Sunday.

View this article in the original magazine

 ABH2B3BHRRBIAVGSLG
GRIFFEY76619548144123.255.492
MENCH1,01328268646154.278.494

MICROSCOPIC STAT

The surgically repaired left knee of Twins catcher Joe Mauer is sound, which last week meant bad news for the team's No. 3 catcher, Corky Miller (right), who was sent to the minors. Signed after a 1-for-39 season with the Reds in 2004, Miller had gone hitless in 12 at bats in '05, dropping his two-year batting average (.020) below the legal blood-alcohol content line, never mind the Mendoza line. "We kept him as long as we could," manager Ron Gardenhire says. No kidding.

THREE STRIKES

1. No closer in baseball is better than the Angels' Francisco Rodriguez, who at week's end had struck out 19 of the 49 hitters he'd faced this season and had walked just one batter.

2. In the calendar year beginning May 1, 2004, Mariners rightfielder Ichiro Suzuki batted .385 with--get this--272 hits.

3. Considering the Cubs' bullpen woes and the Astros' inability to drive in runs, the Cardinals are the one team that could run away with its division by August, especially with righthander Matt Morris healthy and getting his groove back.

COLOR PHOTOBEN MARGOT/AP (BONDS)COLOR PHOTOCHUCK SOLOMON (MENCH)COLOR PHOTOJAMIE MULLEN/WIREIMAGE.COM (MILLER)