Hernandez (Ramon, their catcher) was on the DL, but the Orioles were flying. They'd won 11 of 15 at week's end, stars Miguel Tejada (.338) and Melvin Mora (15 RBIs) were thriving, and, said manager Sam Perlozzo, "everything seems to be clicking." No wonder they were feeling so lovey-dovey. Infielder Chris Gomez to the Baltimore Sun: "Everyone looks forward to coming in the clubhouse, hanging out with each other."
The Brewers' young shortstop J.J. was healthy and solving pitchers as never before. Paced by his team-leading five home runs and 13 RBIs, Hardy's boys were in first place. "I'm happy," said J.J. "I'll take it."
Or Rudra, as he's known around the Ashram Yoga Farm. The running back is eligible for NFL reinstatement this week after a year's ban for substance abuse—and if the Dolphins (his old team) don't want him, the Rams might. "I'd fight for him," said St. Louis coach Scott Linehan.
April 29, 2007
Cubs lefty Rich Hill (right) was 3--0 with an 0.41 ERA—you're reading that right—which, in Chicago, was already grounds for Cy Young talk. Nationals starter Shawn Hill had a 2.92 ERA, and in Toronto, usually light-hitting Aaron Hill had three homers and a .303 average.
Hernandez (Felix, their ace) was nursing a strained right forearm, and the Mariners were floundering. They had lost six straight, stars Richie Sexson (.170) and Adrian Beltre (.241) were struggling, and, explained manager Mike Hargrove after getting swept by the Angels, "nothing we did this weekend worked." No wonder they weren't loving life at the ballpark. Said Beltre, "It's no fun."
The Diamondbacks' young shortstop Stephen (left) was in a slump that was a mystery to his manager. "Stephen's at bats haven't been too bad," said Bob Melvin—but his .209 average, with no pop, was a drag on Arizona.
He definitely won't be back in Miami. The Dolphins running backs coach and Nick Saban hire got a contract extension in January, but last week he became the latest assistant (that's five now) to leave under new coach Cam Cameron, who did not explain the dismissal.
What a week. The Islanders' getting routed in the playoffs was the least of defenseman Sean Hill's worries. He also became the first player suspended (20 games) under the NHL's policy against performance-enhancing drugs. Bad timing: Hill's about to be a 37-year-old free agent.
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Who will be the Rookie of the Year in your league this season?
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Red Sox P 39%
Alex Gordon, Royals 3B 37%
Delmon Young, Devil Rays OF 21%
Matt Garza, Twins P 1%
Kevin Kouzmanoff, Padres 3B 26%
Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies SS 21%
Chris B. Young, Diamondbacks OF 12%
Josh Hamilton, Reds OF 9%
Players could not vote for a teammate.... Blue Jays outfielder Adam Lind tied Garza for fourth in the AL; no one else drew more than one vote.... Dodgers first baseman--outfielder James Loney, currently in Triple A, was fifth in the NL.... Hamilton leads all rookies with five HRs.... Through Sunday, Gordon, Kouzmanoff, Tulowitzki and Chris B. Young were all hitting below .200.
[Based on a survey of 220 AL players and 229 NL players] For an expanded version of the poll, go to SI.com/players.