Roch around the clock


The Kickoff

July 04, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO

I can't seem to get interested in Wimbledon this year. As a kid, I used to duck inside my house, dripping wet from the backyard pool, to catch Connors-McEnroe, or Connors-Borg, or McEnroe-Borg or Evert-Navratilova.

No matter how hard I try, I'm just not feeling Ancic-Djorovic or Stepanek-Verdasco, though there's always Nieminen-Tursunov to get your blood pumping.

Man, I must be getting old. Somebody fetch my wooden racket.

It would be nice to see Ramon Hernandez make the American League's All-Star team through Internet fan voting - two Orioles are better than one - but how can rookie pitchers Justin Verlander and Francisco Liriano be excluded? My guess is one of them makes it. I'll go with Verlander.

On the National League side, it has to be Nomar Garciaparra, unless a .361 average no longer carries much weight.

Pedro Beato, the Orioles' supplemental pick in this year's draft, threw a scoreless ninth inning for short-season Aberdeen on Sunday in his professional debut. He struck out two.

Speaking of the IronBirds, first baseman Chris Vinyard, signed recently as a 38th-round draft-and-follow out of Chandler-Gilbert Junior College in Arizona, is batting .432 with seven doubles, two homers, 12 RBIs and a 1.227 OPS in 44 at-bats. It shouldn't be long before he moves up to Single-A Delmarva.

He might already be the best first baseman in the organization.

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