From June 5 through Sunday the Diamondbacks lost 12 of 13 games while being
outscored 101-38; released relief pitcher Jason Grimsley after federal agents
knocked down his door in a performance-enhancing-drug raid; ate the most money
ever on a guaranteed contract (about $20.5 million) to make sure righthander
Russ Ortiz never pitched for them again; and watched their franchise player,
Luis Gonzalez (right), defend himself after the team's managing general
partner, Ken Kendrick, told The Arizona Republic that he's heard
"whispers" of steroid use by the outfielder. Amazingly, Arizona, which
blew a 21/2-game lead during their slump, was only one game out in the NL
tough by saying that the club won't pay Grimsley the remainder of his $825,000
salary, but it likely will have to. The Diamondbacks goofed by granting
Grimsley's wish to be released (in which case guaranteed contracts are paid)
rather than putting him on the restricted list. But give credit to Kendrick for
saying that Grimsley did "no less than steal from us." It's about time
someone in a sport chock full of enablers claimed the high ground.
NO MORE BIG TIME
Reality, like opposing batters, hit Aaron Small hard last Saturday, when the
Yankees demoted last year's 10-0 Cinderella man. Small (left), who was 0-3 with
an 8.46 ERA, joins other journeymen pitchers who have not sustained their 2005
successes. Small, the Brewers' Doug Davis (4-4, 5.07 ERA), the Blue Jays' Josh
Towers (1-8, 9.00) and the Orioles' Bruce Chen (0-6, 7.33) have struggled after
double-digit wins and sub-4.00 ERAs last year.
? The Orioles' Corey Patterson (right) has "totally changed his game,"
according to one AL general manager, who noted that the outfielder is making
better use of his speed (28 stolen bases in 32 tries through Sunday). Patterson
was hitting 30 points higher than his career .252 average entering the
? Back from a
shoulder injury, Cubs ace Mark Prior made a disastrous season debut against the
Tigers on Sunday, giving up eight runs in 32/3 innings. This week should also
mark the return of the Astros' Roger Clemens (retirement), the Blue Jays' A.J.
Burnett (elbow) and the Pirates' Kip Wells (blood clot).
to Donald Hall, the country's newly named poet laureate and the first among the
14 honorees to have made a guest spring training appearance (with the 1973