Since leaving the DL (right wrist) on June 10, the 2004 AL MVP has been putting a hurt on pitchers, batting .432. In a 2--1 win over Florida last Saturday, he hit a game-tying HR in the eighth inning, then another in the 10th. Manager Mike Scioscia to the L.A. Times: "Vladdy's been on a tear for what, seven years now?"
Skipper's Chiba Lotte Marines are leading the Japan League, behind his ex-Mets Benny Agbayani and Matt Franco. And the chief is being hailed--the marching band from Valentine's alma mater, USC, was to play at Chiba Marine Stadium this week. Meantime the Mets, who played .534 ball in Valentine's seven seasons, have been at .434 since he was let go in 2002.
Yankees had won six straight and were chirruping about new $800 million stadium, to open in 2009. Looking just as sharp in pinstripes--as he walked away with the U.S. Open (page 42)--was Mike Campbell.
Nine wins in a row lifted the Tribe to within a game of the AL wild card. They have a league-best 3.50 ERA, closer Bob Wickman has 20 saves, and they may be just getting started. DH Travis Hafner: "I don't think anybody is satisfied, not as long as the White Sox ... are still in front of us."