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The Anti-All-Stars
Tim Crothers
July 14, 1997
Our roster of the biggest flops so far in 1997, A Giant grows up, Higginson blasts, and Juden rocks
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July 14, 1997

The Anti-all-stars

Our roster of the biggest flops so far in 1997, A Giant grows up, Higginson blasts, and Juden rocks

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Scott Sanders, Mariners. Desperate for a righthander, Seattle picked up Sanders in a trade with San Diego and then dropped him from the rotation after six starts. Through Sunday he had been shelled for 16 homers in 62 innings.

Dishonorable Mention: John Smiley, Reds.

RELIEF PITCHER

Jose Mesa, Indians. He hasn't been the same since his rape trial in April, in which he was acquitted. He had a 4.25 ERA at the break and hadn't gotten a save since April 26.

Dishonorable Mention: Jeff Montgomery, Royals.

Bronx Zoo Revisited

The telephone rang in Yankees manager Joe Torre's office at the SkyDome last Saturday, only one day after New York had shipped some excess baggage—pitcher Kenny Rogers and infielder Mariano Duncan—to the Padres and only one hour after third baseman Wade Boggs had asked that he, too, be traded. It was general manager Bob Watson calling to tell Torre that the deal with San Diego had fallen through because Greg Vaughn, the outfielder New York was to receive, had flunked his physical. What's a manager to do in such a uniquely Yankee moment of absurdity? "I giggled," Torre said. "I giggled at the whole thing, how this is what happens in New York City and with the Yankees."

From world champions to weird champions, the Yanks, who were in second place, seven games behind the Orioles, in the American League East at the All-Star break, are compelling if nothing else. New York was scared off by the condition of Vaughn's right shoulder, which has required surgery three times in his eight-year career. The Yankees still would like to upgrade themselves in leftfield, where Chad Curtis has replaced Mark Whiten, who slumped after replacing Tim Raines, who strained his left hamstring after replacing Darryl Strawberry, who underwent surgery on his left knee. Meanwhile, owner George Steinbrenner is calling other clubs about acquiring a backup catcher, according to one American League executive.

Boggs is unlikely to bring much in a trade. Since Sept. 1,1996, two days after the Yanks acquired Charlie Hayes to compete with Boggs for the third base job, Boggs has batted .235 with 20 RBIs in 285 at bats, including the postseason. This year the 39-year-old Boggs was batting .241, with one hit in his last 14 at bats, when he conceded the job to Hayes in his pregame meeting with Torre in Toronto. "I'll just move on," said Boggs, who is 254 hits short of 3,000. "The bottom line is, I stink right now."
—TOM VERDUCCI

Giant Leap

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