RUBBED THE WRONG WAY
The Reds, 20--30 through Sunday and with the National League's worst pitching staff outside of Colorado, hit a new low last week when manager Dave Miley ordered the massage chairs of outfielders Adam Dunn (right) and Ken Griffey Jr. removed from the clubhouse. "So now we'll start winning," Dunn cracked. "It was the chairs' fault." It was that kind of month for the woeful Reds. Last week, upon his return to Cincinnati with his new team, the Nationals, former general manager Jim Bowden said that Reds ownership had reneged on a written promise to boost the payroll by 2003, when Great American Ball Park opened. Also, the team ate more than $6 million in contracts by designating for assignment second baseman D'Angelo Jimenez ("A cancer," teammate Ryan Freel called Jimenez, who shocked the team by accepting a job in Double A) and popular but ineffective closer Danny Graves.
THIS SPACE NOT FOR SALE
While the NBA is thinking about selling space on its teams' uniforms, don't look for fast-food logos on Dodger blue anytime soon. Commissioner Bud Selig says owners have not discussed slapping corporate logos on uniforms and that he would discourage the idea as long as he is in charge (at least in this country; Selig made an exception when the Yankees and the Devil Rays opened the 2004 season in Japan). "I learned long ago, you never say never in this job," he says, "but there is something about our uniforms that is very special. I recognize the uniform is a powerful link between the fans and the teams."
As Devil Rays manager Lou Piniella once said, when the Braves talk to you about trading pitchers, "run out of the room." Atlanta knows arms. While dealing pitching prospects Adam Wainwright, Jose Capellan and Dan Meyer the past two winters--without getting burned thus far--the Braves made sure they held on to righthander Kyle Davies (left), who has quickly justified their faith in him. Called up on May 21, Davies, 21, opened his big league career with 101/3 scoreless innings while becoming the club's first rookie pitcher in 14 years to win his first two starts.
1. Chalk up another victim to one of the dumbest plays in baseball. Padres second baseman Mark Loretta had surgery on his left thumb last week to repair a ligament he tore diving headfirst into first base.
2. Need more evidence the Cubs aren't a playoff team? Even before righthander Mark Prior was hit by a line drive and suffered a fractured right elbow, Chicago had lost back-to-back home games to two teams that had been a combined 5--41 on the road--the Astros and the Rockies.
3. The woeful Giants bullpen can use the help of newly acquired righthanded reliever LaTroy Hawkins--as long as manager Felipe Alou keeps him away from the ninth inning. Hawkins had four blown saves in eight chances for the Cubs.