A scout's take

MLB week

May 14, 2006

On Ryan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals 21-year-old third baseman

Offense -- He's a consistent hitter and he'll have power. Maybe he won't be a 40 home run guy, but he'll have 25 to 30 and hit .300.

Defense -- I think he could play shortstop. He's a better defensive shortstop than what they have now [Royce Clayton], but he'll probably grow into third base a little more. He has great hands and feet and a plus-arm, a real good arm.

Intangibles -- He's very similar to Cal Ripken Jr. The demeanor is even-keel, the way he approaches the game. He's the closest thing to Cal I have seen. He knows how to play and he does it easy; he stays under control. He has the same type of vanilla-ice-cream makeup.

Note: "A scout's take" features the opinions of one major league scout on a particular player each week. A revolving roundtable of scouts is used. Because of potential tampering, the scouts will remain anonymous.

Say what?

"To me, he looks like a little lost boy."

New York Yankees pitching coach Ron Guidry on 6-foot-10, 42-year-old left-hander Randy Johnson, who is going through his worst skid in eight years. In his past five starts, Johnson has posted a 7.09 ERA - and that includes a one-run, eight-inning win over the Orioles on April 23.

Numbing number

4

That's how many home runs Kansas City Royals outfielder Reggie Sanders had entering yesterday's game against the Orioles. He led all Royals in the category, and he missed a week with a hamstring injury. The club had just 22 homers through its first 32 games. The St. Louis Cardinals' Albert Pujols had 18 homers in his first 34 games.

What's up?

Interleague play begins

That means the long-awaited and terribly contrived Battle of the Beltways rivalry gets underway when the Orioles travel down Interstate 95 to play the Washington Nationals on Friday. It's not necessarily good news for the Orioles, who were 6-9 against the Nationals' predecessors, the Montreal Expos. Overall, the Orioles have the third-worst interleague record since play began in 1997. Some other intriguing interleague matchups this weekend include the New York Yankees at the Mets, the Chicago Cubs at the White Sox and the Texas Rangers at the Houston Astros.

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