* Pirates pitcher Paul Wagner said he started to feel really good about his no-hit chances after Dante Bichette, 7-for-14 lifetime against Wagner, tried to bunt in the seventh. The way Wagner figured it, Bichette must have thought Wagner was throwing good stuff to feel as if he needed to try a bunt.
Can you take a hint?
First St. Louis traded for Cleveland third base prospect David Bell. Last week, it acquired third baseman Jose Oliva from Atlanta. Think Scott Cooper has a future with the Cardinals?
* Montreal's Wil Cordero has been moved from shortstop to left field.
* Cleveland pitching coach Mike Wiley is pushing reliever Jose Mesa for the Cy Young Award and the MVP. "When you consider what he's accomplished this year, breaking the record [for consecutive saves], with all the great closers in a game the last 15 years. I think a closer that means that much to his team should get considered," Wiley said.
* Portly Expos reliever Mel Rojas shocked his teammates by deftly fielding a bunt Tuesday. "I guess someone in our dugout must've yelled, 'HAMBURGER,' and Mel dove," said left-hander Jeff Fassero.
The numbers game
* Should Seattle designated hitter Edgar Martinez finish the year with an on-base percentage of higher than .500, he'll become only the sixth player to do so since 1900. The others: Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Babe Ruth, Rogers Hornsby and John McGraw.
* Cardinals first baseman John Mabry has batted in every spot in the batting order this year.
* Cincinnati utilityman Mariano Duncan drew his first walk in 318 at-bats on Tuesday. His last walk occured June 19, 1994.
* The California Angels were 11-15 since shortstop Gary DiSarcina, through games of Wednesday.
* Cleveland, its magic number under 10, should break easily the record for the quickest clinching of a division title. The record is Sept. 13, by the 1969 Orioles.
* Bryan Rekar came within three outs Wednesday of being only the second pitcher in Colorado franchise history to throw a complete-game shutout, but was pulled by manager Don Baylor. David Nied shut out Houston on June 21, 1994.
* The Giants are on their way to their worst pitching performance in club history, their team ERA of 4.76 worse than the franchise low of 4.61 in 1930. And last we checked, the Giants are in the running for a wildcard bid.
* The Padres are 5-14 in series-openers on the road, 14-5 in road finales.
* Indians No. 8 hitter Paul Sorrento hit 22 homers in his first 287 at-bats.
* Lenny Webster, one of the Phillies' replacements for injured catcher Darren Daulton, had thrown out only three of 37 runners attempting to steal through Wednesday's game.
* Going into Friday's start against California, Roger Clemens had a 2.19 ERA in his last six starts. His career record following Boston losses is 106-43. Jose Canseco loves to criticize the Athletics and tweak former manager Tony La Russa, and so he was taking a veiled shot at La Russa when he complemented Red Sox manager Kevin Kennedy. "We have a relationship totally different from any other manager I've had," Canseco said, "which is one other manager (La Russa). It's individual respect. Kevin understands me. I understand him. That makes me want to play for him even more." La Russa never backs off a challenge: "The Red Sox were playing their rears off when he was not there, and now he's enjoyed what they've done in the first half of the season, teaching them how to win. He's going to teach Mo Vaughn and Tim Naehring and those guys how to win? ... Jose has a selective memory. The respect quote ticked me off most of all. We respected him when he was here _ at first. But as oon as they need him, as soon as he doesn't care when they need him to
care, they'll stop respecting him." An Orioles fan sent a letter to manager Phil Regan this Week:
Dear Baltimore Orioles and Mr. Phil Regan, I am writing you guys because now I need your help.... I love the Orioles, but I did something maybe I should not have done, I've never bet on anything before. (But) after Mr. Regan took over as manager he made me believe the Orioles could do anything with his leadership, and I know he's a strong-willed man...so I took a risk. I had $700 for a lower and upper plate (of teeth). They cost $980. I had no other way to get any more money, so I bet on the Orioles games with the Red Sox and Yankees (Aug. 6-13). I lost all the money with you, Mr. Regan, Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro and Bobby (Bonilla).... Is there anything the team could do to help me get my teeth? You could go to the dentist with me; I can't chew my food. Please write -- I believe you'll come through for me.