Chicago White Sox general manager Ron Schueler was quoted last week as saying that new manager Terry Bevington is more aggressive than his predecessor, Gene Lamont. That didn't sit well with Lamont, who called Schueler's comments, in so many words, a bunch of garbage. "Anybody," Lamont said, "who says I wasn't aggressive and didn't hit-and-run is full of it." . . . . Montreal Expos general manager Kevin Malone got into a shouting match with Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman last weekend, after Malone heard Brennaman say on the air that Expos pitchers Pedro Martinez and Carlos Perez were out of control. Brennaman said that it was the first time in his 22 years with the Reds that he has been verbally challenged by a club official. . . . There is a huge gap between No. 1 pick Darin Erstad and the team that selected him, the California Angels, in signing bonus negotiations. They're believed to be about $500,000 apart. "My optimistic feelings of a quick resolution have been replaced by the inevitable feeling that the Angels have to see more signings [by other teams] before they move forward," said Erstad's adviser, Jeff Moorad, who added that the talks "show no signs of life." . . . Texas Rangers shortstop Benji Gil is getting raves. Last week, he stole a hit away from the Blue Jays' John Olerud, spearing a liner as he dived away from the infield. "Incredible," said pitcher Bob Tewksbury. "That play that Benji made . . . I was with arguably the best shortstop ever to play in baseball, and Ozzie [Smith] never made a player better than that." . . . After the Red Sox held a players-only team meeting this week, left fielder Mike Greenwell said, "Somewhere along the line, the players have to talk. I've got it on tape. I'll play it for you. And the three fights that broke out, I've got that on video." In case you were wondering, Greenwell was kidding.
Wendell reigned in
Chicago Cubs manager Jim Riggleman believes that basically, superstitions are ridiculous, so it's no surprise that he has asked struggling pitcher Turk Wendell, the king of juju, to tone down his weirdness. Wendell jumps over foul lines, chews licorice on the mound and brushes his teeth between innings. "I asked him not to let it be an issue," said Riggleman, "that he should be recognized for his accomplishments [as a pitcher]. If he needs to do those things, do them out of sight of the cameras." If Wendell were getting hitters out, Riggleman probably would leave him alone. . . Word is the Angels may be interested in signing ex-Orioles catcher Matt Nokes. Something you'll never see again, ever:
On Wednesday, Twins outfielder Pedro Munoz hit a foul ball into the upper deck in Oakland, and a fan dropped it. The next pitch, Munoz hit a foul directly at the same kid, who caught it. "It was fate," said Jeff Corthell. "I had to get it -- from goat to hero."
The numbers game
* In the 22 games David Justice missed with an injured right shoulder, clean-up hitter Fred McGriff, who bats ahead of Justice in the lineup, compiled a .215 average with one homer and seven RBIs. When Justice has been in the lineup, McGriff is hitting .321 with nine homers and 30 RBIs (through Thursday's games).
* Eric Anthony started at first for the Reds Wednesday, then Craig Worthington started there Thursday; it was the major-league debut for each at that position.
* On June 17, Cleveland left fielder Albert Belle hit a single, triple and homer, needing only a double to hit for the cycle - and at the time, Belle led the AL in doubles.
* New Angels leadoff hitter Tony Phillips had drawn 44 walks through Wednesday's game. Last year, California leadoff hitters combined for 43 walks.
* Andy Van Slyke was the fifth center fielder used by the Phillies in the past month (after Lenny Dykstra, Dave Gallagher, Tony Longmire and Jim Eisenreich).
* Twice in Montreal this week, umpires failed to correctly keep track of ball-strike counts and awarded walks only after the pitcher had thrown five balls.
* Padres first baseman Eddie Williams has hit into 11 double plays already and may threaten Ernie Lombardi's league record of 30, set in 1938.
* During a five-game Colorado Rockies losing streak that ended Wednesday, opposing left-handers allowed just five runs in 311Z3 innings to the Rockies. Before that streak began, lefties had allowed 40 runs in 402Z3 innings to Colorado. AL East
Troy O'Leary, Boston: Dumped by the Milwaukee Brewers after 46 games, he was hitting .348 going into the series with the
Orioles and has essentially taken a job away from Mark Whiten.
Paul Sorrento, Cleveland: The Minnesota Twins cast away Sorrento because they had Kent Hrbek, and because it didn't look like he'd ever be a complete player. They were right, but he's an exceptional No. 8 hitter for the Indians.
Jim Edmonds, California: One of those guys who grows on managers because, although he's not overwhelmed with talent, he plays hard and helps you in one way or another every day. Has emerged as one of Angels' best run producers.
Tyler Green, Philadelphia: The Phillies waited for months and years for the former No. 1 pick to develop, and almost out of sheer frustration, they threw him into the rotation and ` voila ` he's been superb, with a 6-4 record and a 2.88 ERA.
Ron Gant, Cincinnati: He broke his leg and signed. . . . Then again, Baltimore knows all about what Ron Gant is doing this year.
Ismael Valdes, Los Angeles: The way he's pitching, he could make the All-Star team, although he's been overshadowed by Hideo Nomo. He started the year in the bullpen, but has moved into the Dodgers' rotation and is effectively their ace.
WRONG IN RIGHT