It's a curious situation, but you can't argue with the results. Maddux is a little soft in the win column at 4-1, but he ranks ## among the league leaders with a terrific 1.57 ERA.
Boston Dead Sox
The Boston Red Sox entered the weekend with 10 losses in a disastrous 11-game stretch that undid all the good things they had accomplished during the early weeks of the season and dropped them to the bottom of the American League East standings.
"It's slipping away no doubt about it," Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn told reporters after the club landed in the cellar. "It's not a good situation now. We've got to get ourselves in a position where we can play nine innings and give ourselves a chance like we were doing in the beginning. Right now, we're not doing that."
The recent slump refocused attention on the club's failure to re-sign pitching ace Roger Clemens and has left new manager Jimy Williams on the hot seat. Vaughn, who has been openly critical of general manager Dan Duquette, said that Williams is not the problem.
"He didn't put this team together; no he didn't," Vaughn said. "That comes from somewhere not even on [this] level. He's just working with what he has and I think he's doing a good job with what he's got."
You've got to admire his persistence, but Mitch Williams came up short again in his latest comeback attempt with the Kansas City Royals. He was released on Tuesday, when the club called up Triple-A reliever Allen McDill.
"We're satisfied that Mitch is not the answer," Royals manager Bob Boone said. "Bottom line, we think we've got somebody better and we're going to use him."
Williams, who wanted to retire with something better than Joe Carter's 1993 World Series home run as his career highlight, was 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA during his brief stay in the Royals' bullpen.
So much for the rumors that Cleveland Indians manager Mike Hargrove was on his way out. The Indians signed him to a two-year contract extension with an option for the 2000 season.
There has been some speculation that the deal was made over the head of general manager John Hart, who spun off the club's recent road trip on a scouting expedition and did not attend the Tuesday news conference to announce the contract.
Outfielder Ruben Sierra, who recently signed a minor-league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays, now is getting paid by four teams -- the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Cincinnati Reds and Blue Jays.
The Tigers are paying the bulk of his salary, but the Yankees picked up $1 million of his remaining guaranteed salary when they traded him to Detroit for Cecil Fielder, and the Reds agreed to assume $625,000 of his salary when they acquired him from Detroit. The Blue Jays get off easy; they only have to pay the prorated portion of the minimum major-league salary when he arrives from Triple-A Syracuse.
Bonilla goes deep
Former Orioles outfielder Bobby Bonilla finally hit his first home run as a Florida Marlin on Tuesday, a game-breaking grand slam that prompted an organizational sigh of relief.
Bonilla has been hitting for average, but he has been producing runs at about the same pace as he did early last year with the Orioles. Then, it was because he could not adapt to the designated-hitter role. Now, it's just because he's a slow starter.
Bottom line: He's going to hit 25 homers and drive in 90 runs this year, but he's still one of the most overpaid players in the game.
Florida rookie pitcher Tony Saunders understandably wanted the ball when he got his first major-league hit off Atlanta starter Glavine, but it got a little complicated.
Saunders' first hit also was a home run, and the fan who caught it wanted an autographed ball in exchange. Fair enough, but he didn't want Saunders' autograph, he wanted a ball signed by Gary Sheffield.
* New York Yankees general manager Bob Watson, asked about owner George Steinbrenner: "Appreciation is not in the man's vocabulary. The way I know I'm doing a good job is by getting paid a good salary. The fact that I'm still here tells me the man is pleased with my work. Whether he respects me or not, I don't care. I'm here to win."
* Colorado Rockies pitching coach Frank Funk, after minor-league call-up John Thomson pitched seven strong innings against the Phillies in his major-league debut: "He told me he was a little nervous in the first inning. I told him, 'If you're not, you should be embalmed.' "
* Florida Marlins outfielder Cliff Floyd, after Gary Sheffield injured his left hand diving for a fly ball on Tuesday: "Somebody needs to tell him to slide on his booty. Catch balls in the air. We need you to hit."
* Former Oriole Bobby Bonilla, after hitting his first home run of the season: "I guess it's all how you look at it. Now, nobody's asking me about my defense."
* Texas Rangers manager Johnny Oates on the line shot that Juan Gonzalez hit off Indians starter Charles Nagy on Wednesday: "That's as hard as you can hit a ball. I've got some wet clothes at home that could have dried on that home run."
In there pitching