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Pudge saga continues

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  • When Rangers owner Tom Hicks met with Pudge Rodriguez, he told him he wouldn't be traded and he'd like to get him signed. Pudge told him he'd like to get it done right now and for Hicks to call agent Jeff Moorad. Problem is, when Pudge called Moorad 24 hours later, he hadn't heard from Hicks. And likely won't.

  • Ruben Mateo is still moving so tentatively that his trade value has diminished for the time being. Several teams, including the White Sox and Indians, have looked at him as a center fielder, but there are doubts, for now. If Mateo comes back and the Rangers keep him and they get Georgia Tech's Mark Teixeira, their 2003 team could have Carlos Pena at 1B, Mike Young and Jason Romano at second, Teixeira at third, A-Rod at short and Rafael Palmeiro at DH.

  • David Berg on Mike Hampton: "He belongs in the American League playing a position. He can hit, run, bunt, field. He's better than I am. I'd put him at shortstop."

  • That calls for a scout's assessment of the Twins defense, which several Yankee players have said is the best they've ever seen. "Their outfield has three center fielders, their infield has three shortstops -- Guzman, Rivas and Mientkiewicz," one of them said.

  • Indians manager Charlie Manuel brought in right-hander Danys Baez for a look, then sent him down and brought in sidewheeler Roy Smith, a legend in the making. In the process, he allowed two very talented relievers he will need in time to see the majors; the Indians staff got to look at them and so did opposing teams.

    "Baez has the hardest curveball in the American League," says one scout. "And with three closers, these two kids and Ricardo Rincon, they will have the best bullpen in baseball by October. With the league's best lineup, that will account for a lot."

    And there's a chance Scott Radinsky will be back from rehab by early July.

  • Tom Glavine's shoulder started bothering him in spring training, but he was assured that problem was the AC joint and that it would heal in time. So for six weeks he pitched in pain and struggled with his command, leading the league in walks, before he finally admitted it publicly when he pitched well.

    A few years ago, Glavine's velocity suddenly dropped and he was waffled for five months. After the season he revealed he had cracked ribs. "If I told anyone publicly," explained Glavine, "teams would have tried to bunt on me and they'd have more of an advantage."

    This is one man who couldn't find an excuse if he looked in the dictionary.

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