Among the pitchers available were the Blue Jays' David Cone, the Mets' Bret Saberhagen and the Twins' Kevin Tapani.
The second-place Tigers, who were only three games out at week's end, weren't looking to add players. In fact, as part of ownership's cost-cutting, Detroit was more likely to dump David Wells's $2 million salary, even though he had won his last six starts and was the Tigers' only representative to the All-Star Game.
Aguilera, who was also coveted by the Rockies, could turn out to be the deciding factor if the Red Sox hold on to win the division. He didn't want to leave Minnesota and will sorely miss Twin manager Tom Kelly. Trouble is, Boston manager Kevin Kennedy doesn't have a very good track record with closers. Last year when Kennedy was the manager in Texas, Ranger closer Tom Henke considered retirement because of the way Kennedy used him and ripped his players in the media. Ken Ryan, who opened this season as the Red Sox closer, was used erratically by Kennedy, did not pitch well and was demoted to Double A after Aguilera was acquired.
Astro third baseman Phil Nevin, the first player picked in the June 1992 draft, was returned to Triple A Tucson last week after hitting .117 with no homers and one RBI in 18 games with the Astros. He was overmatched by big league pitching, yet he cussed out Houston manager Terry Collins to his face after he was demoted. The following day Astro general manager Bob Watson contacted Nevin's agent, Michael Watson, and demanded an apology. At week's end Nevin apologized to both Bob Watson and Collins. Nevertheless, Nevin's career with Houston shouldn't last much longer.... Nomo Note of the Week: Should he finish the season with an ERA of less than 2.00—it was 1.99 heading into the All-Star Game—he would become the 10th rookie in the history of the National League to achieve that feat and the first since Steve Rogers of the Expos in '73. Also, if Nomo continues his incredible run of strikeouts (119 through Sunday) and gets enough starts in the strike-shortened season, he could break Dwight Gooden's major league record of 276 strikeouts by a rookie, set in '84.