(Through Thursday's games)
UPS AND DOWNS
Trade talk -- UP -- Changes, they are a-comin'.
Eddie Murray -- HORZ -- It'd be great if he hit No. 500 in an Orioles uniform. But the Orioles lineup would become heavy with left-handed hitting.
Jeffrey Hammonds -- DOWN -- His stock seems to be plummeting by the day among scouts.
Benito Santiago -- UP -- Among all the available options, he's really the best.
Brady Anderson -- UP -- How great is that - the Dude can concentrate on hitting homers in the All-Star derby and nobody will complain about it.
Rafael Palmeiro -- UP -- He should be in Philly. But on the other hand, AL manager Mike Hargrove had his hands tied by rules of picking players.
Bobby Bonilla -- UP -- He's hitting again, and his value, unlike Hammonds', goes up. Says here the chances of his staying with the Orioles all year are less than 50-50.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"I'm looking for aggressive leadership on the field, which he can do better than anyone else, and if he does, this team can play as a unit and rise to the occasion." - Orioles owner Peter Angelos, on Cal Ripken.
The week ahead
Monday-Tuesday off, Wednesday workout at Camden Yards
The Orioles players will rest, but the front office should be busy in Philadelphia, trying to find a catcher and at least one outfielder. They'll probably continue talks with the Phillies about Benito Santiago, and with Cleveland about Eddie Murray, Jeromy Burnitz, et al. The players work out Wednesday, with Jeff Huson rejoining the team, and that day, the Orioles will have to decide whether to squeeze him back onto the roster.
Thursday-Sunday, vs. New York
Another big four-game showdown, after which, unbelievably, the Orioles will be finished playing the Red Sox and Yankees at Camden Yards for this season. It's expected that Darryl Strawberry will be activated for this series. Mike Mussina could pitch the first game of the series on six days' rest, in an attempt to set the tone for the series.
Stat of the week
Coming into this year, Brady Anderson had never hit more than 21 homers in a season, and had a career total of 72. Already he has 29 homers, including the 100th and 101st homers of his career last week, and has 29 percent of his lifetime total in the first three months of this season.
A move that paid off...
Switching Anderson to the No. 2 spot in the lineup hasn't affected Anderson, who hit three homers in three games last week.
... and one that didn't
On the other hand, switching Roberto Alomar to the leadoff spot didn't ignite the All-Star second baseman. His average continues to drop, and on Thursday, he fell out of the league lead in hitting for the first time since April.
Cal Ripken hit three homers on May 28, the night that Orioles manager Davey Johnson intended to move him to third base, and since then Ripken has been tremendous at the plate and solid in the field; he and Palmeiro were perhaps the club's two best players in June.
Chris Hoiles' average dipped back under .220 last week, amid rumors that the Orioles were intensifying their search for an everyday catcher.
Luis Polonia has hit into nine double plays already this season. He joined the team in May and leads the club in grounding into double plays.
By the numbers
Atlanta's Marquis Grissom is hitting .483 against his former team, the Montreal Expos.
Eric Young stole six bases for Colorado last Sunday -- one more than the Florida Marlins stole in the month of June.
Seattle's Ken Griffey led the American League with 3,064,814 All-Star votes, more than the total of nine teams.
Milwaukee drew a total of 738,088 votes, fewer than 14 AL players got, including Cal Ripken, Brady Anderson and Roberto Alomar.
During the four-game series between the Rockies and Dodgers last weekend, Colorado hit .416 with 12 homers, 52 runs and 69 hits.
The last time Houston had three straight complete-game victories, before last week, was April 25-27, 1986, when Nolan Ryan, Mike Scott and Bob Knepper accomplished the feat. Ah, the good ol' days of complete games and shutouts.
Pittsburgh gradually is falling out of the National League Central race, mostly because of its woeful home record of 17-24.
The Astros are 10-0 in games started by Donne Wall.
Pittsburgh's Jason Kendall became only the fifth rookie catcher to make the NL All-Star team. The others: Johnny Bench, Gary Carter, Mike Piazza and Greg Olson.