Hermida's first at-bat is a grand memory

NL notebook

Baseball Week

September 04, 2005

It last happened 107 years ago, on April 21, 1898, to be exact.

It also was the only time in baseball history - until Wednesday when Florida Marlins rookie outfielder Jeremy Hermida homered to left against St. Louis pitcher Brad Thompson.

It was a grand slam. And it came in Hermida's first major league at-bat.

Only "Frosty" Bill Duggleby, a Philadelphia Phillies pitcher who played from 1898 to 1907, had ever accomplished that feat.

Duggleby, who died in 1944, 40 years before the 21-year-old Hermida was born, had just six total homers in an eight-season career.

The Marlins hope Hermida can do a little better than that over the next few years.

"Way to go. Your career's all downhill from here," pitcher Todd Jones joked with Hermida after the game.

Hermida swung and missed on the first pitch before hitting the third pitch 373 feet.

"You always dream of coming in and, not even hitting a home run, but just getting a hit," said Hermida, the 11th overall pick in the 2002 draft. "To do something like that is something I can't even describe."

D'backs catch break

The Arizona Diamondbacks still have a chance to sign No. 1 overall pick Justin Upton, a middle infielder who decided Tuesday not to enroll in a North Carolina junior college. If he had gone to class, it would have ended negotiations.

There had been a chasm of nearly $1.6 million; the Diamondbacks were offering $4.675 million and representatives of the Virginia prep star were reportedly looking for a $6.25 million bonus. The sides apparently have closed the gap, and hope to get a deal done before college's second semester in January.

Bradley's next move

Expect Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Milton Bradley to be traded or non-tendered in the offseason after wearing out his welcome. In two seasons, he has had public spats with a Dodgers beat reporter and teammate Jeff Kent and now it's been reported that three times this summer police have responded to his home for domestic violence claims.

His wife has never pressed charges, but the Dodgers apparently have seen enough.

Bradley, whose season has ended due to a knee injury, is arbitration-eligible this winter.

Saving Wood

Chicago Cubs right-hander Kerry Wood had successful shoulder surgery and hopes to be pitching again in March. When he returns, what will his role be? Wood, 28, wants to stay in the starting rotation and the Cubs brass agrees. But he's been plagued by injuries and may be more valuable in the bullpen. He was 3-3 with a 4.67 ERA in 10 starts this season and 0-1 with a 2.25 ERA in 11 relief appearances before being shut down.

Quick hits

Colorado is hoping to sign former Orioles reliever and pending free agent Mike DeJean to an extension. He has a 3.20 ERA since being traded to the Rockies in July. ... The Washington Nationals believe a tear in pitcher Ryan Drese's right labrum was there when they claimed him off waivers from Texas in June.

League notebooks are compiled from interviews, wire services and reports from other newspapers.

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