- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The Pirates' John Candelaria, who loves to scream, is at it again. After losing 1-0 to Nolan Ryan last week, he castigated G.M. Pete Peterson. "We've got a bozo for a general manager," Candelaria said. "You can go out and ask any kid on the street. He knows what we need. We need hitting."
"I consider the source," Peterson said. "One day he criticizes me. He has said he would never work in relief. He has criticized his agent for not getting him a better contract. He has criticized the fans. He has criticized the media."
The Blue Jays, who are 24-14, have the second-best record in the major leagues and will win 102 games if they maintain that pace. But because of Detroit's extraordinary start, the Tigers lead the Jays by 8� games, equaling or exceeding the distance between the first-and last-place teams in the other three divisions.
"Last year," says Lloyd Moseby, the Jays' brilliant centerfielder, "we knew we were good. This year we came in arrogant. But it was a good arrogance: We knew we could win and that we wouldn't back down at any time."
Bruce Benedict may have hit a career-high .298 for the Braves last year, but for now he has lost out as No. 1 catcher to Alex Trevi�o, who was buried on the Reds' bench before he was traded to Atlanta last month. Joe Torre, who was Trevi�o's manager in New York, had been after him for more than a year because he liked his defense and his ability to call a game. Trevi�o hit .216 in only 167 at bats last season, but he's batting a rousing .372 as a Brave.
Says Torre, "I told Bruce, 'He's hot right now, and I'm going to try to win as many games as I can. This is good for me but bad for you.' But he accepts that."
George Brett made his first appearance of 1984 last Friday after recovering from a spring-training knee injury—and smacked two singles and a double. "I went back to my 1974 style, when I first worked with [the late] Charley Lau," said Brett, who felt he tried to pull too much last year. "I hadn't done anything for so long, when I started taking batting practice I told myself I was going to go out and learn to hit the ball to left again."
Tim Lollar is the best-hitting pitcher in the National League, so it was no shock when he drove in all four runs for the Padres on May 15 in their 6-4 loss to the Expos. But it was a shock when righthander Joaquin Andujar, one of the worst-hitting pitchers, "called" a grand slam batting lefthanded in the Cards' 9-1 victory over the Braves that same night. Andujar, who hit a homer batting right-handed earlier this season, had turned to the Cards' dugout and pointed to the rightfield seats before he went to the plate.