Phillies outspoken shortstop (remember, he said Philly was the "team tobeat" in the NL East) is doing his usual hit collecting (126 throughSunday) and getting homer-happy, with 19. Warned Rollins after going 3 for 4 ina 9--0 win over the Padres, "We are capable of doing this on a consistentbasis."
He's healthy! Browns center whose torn knee tendon and subsequent staphinfection cost him all of last season says he's been O.K.'d to get out thereand start pushing people around—just in time for year two of his six-year, $36million deal.
What an offense, what a surge! The Yanks' anticipated second-half awakening mayhave begun: They'd won eight of 10, scoring 79 runs along the way. And it ain'tjust A-Rod (page 66). Hideki Matsui (above) was hitting .349 in July; RobinsonCano was at .377.
Ranked No. 21 but ready to rise with new coach Tony Roche (he's guided RogerFederer and Ivan Lendl) and havin' a blast: Hewitt drew gossip-page ink in Ozwhen he mingled backstage with comedian Kevin Bloody Wilson.
Padres outspoken lefty (see Perfect I'm Not, his book) has a fat 4.95 ERA inhis last four starts, and is nearing home run history: Two more dingersallowed, and he'll be the 10th to surrender 400. Explained Wells after yieldingthree Philly long balls last Saturday, "I wasn't hitting my locations verywell."
He's gone. That right knee (torn up in Minnesota in 2005) never served him wellin Miami, which let him go just 10 days before he was to come to camp thisweek. At best, Culpepper, who has a few suitors, will have to learn a whole newO on the fly.
No offense, no surge. Oakland (.634 post-All-Star Game winning percentage from1999 to '06) had scored 27 runs in 10 postbreak games, losing eight thanks tothe punchless likes of Mark Kotsay (right, hitting .148 since the break) andDan Johnson (.125).
Ranked only 79th but making history. Radionova became the second player everdisqualified from a WTA match, after swatting a ball in the direction ofhecklers at the Cincinnati Open. Radionova, who cried afterward, advised fans,"If you're afraid of the ball, don't sit in the front row."
SI PLAYERS MLB POLL
Who has the majors' best pickoff move?
¬´ Andy Pettitte, Yankees LHP 55%
Chris Capuano, Brewers LHP 17% ¬ª
Kenny Rogers, Tigers LHP 8%
Mark Buehrle, White Sox LHP 5%
FAST FACTS: Players were not allowed to vote for ateammate.... Pettitte has picked off three runners this year and allowed justseven SBs in 11 attempts. He drew 65% of the vote from lefty pitchers....Detroit's Justin Verlander was the only righty among the top ninevote-getters.... Buehrle led the majors with 10 pickoffs in 2006; Capuano ledwith 12 in '05.... Arizona's Doug Davis (1%) and Washington's Jason Simontacchi(no votes) lead the majors this season with five pickoffs each.
[Based on a survey of 464 MLB players] For an expandedversion of the poll, go to SI.com/players.
JOHN W. MCDONOUGH (ROLLINS)
ROBERT BECK (WELLS)
DAMIAN STROHMEYER (KOTSAY)
JOHN BIEVER (CAPUANO)
JOY R. ABSALON/CAL SPORT MEDIA (PETTITTE)
ALASTAIR GRANT/AP (HEWITT)
BRAD MANGIN (MATSUI)