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Cranking out the hits in LA

Page 4 of 4 -- Sweet Lew Helping to keep the Twins afloat while Torii Hunter recovers from a strained hamstring is former Sox farmhand Lew Ford, a 12th-round draft choice out of Dallas Baptist in 1999 who was traded the following year to Minnesota for reliever Hector Carrasco. Ford entered the weekend leading the AL in batting with runners in scoring position with a .571 average, and led the team with 15 RBIs. He also is something of a flake; during a spring training game against the Sox, he asked a teammate if the Sox pitcher they were facing is someone they'd seen in Pawtucket the year before. The pitcher was Keith Foulke . . . Here's what Jason Giambi said about Wakefield when he heard that the Yankees wouldn't be facing the knuckleballer this weekend: "He's the guy that's lights out for them. They should pitch him every day against us." . . . After watching the Sox overshift against Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, and Carlos Delgado, is there anyone who would dare to call the strategy a failure? Francona was in charge of setting up Oakland's defense as Ken Macha's bench coach . . . Phillies manager Larry Bowa appears to be feeling some heat over his team's slow start, accusing a couple of reporters of backstabbing him. According to Paul Hagen of the Philadelphia Daily News, Bowa last week challenged reporters to "find out if I went out the other night. See if I got in by 11 o'clock." That isn't going to help Bowa . . . After losing series at home to the Dodgers and Padres, the Giants entered this weekend's series in Los Angeles four games under .500, the first time since May 23, 2000, they were that far under. Even with Bonds, the Giants ranked 13th in the league in runs . . . The Rangers started the weekend hitting .304, 98 points better than their short-lived captain, Alex Rodriguez . . . Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay put the knock on Garciaparra for not showing up last weekend in Fenway, even though he is rehabbing at Boston University. Kay had some bum information. Garciaparra was in the Sox clubhouse, though he ducked out early . . . Those nightly card games in the Sox clubhouse would be in trouble if Lou Piniella were around. The Devil Rays manager was upset to learn that a group of his players were playing dominoes after the team bus arrived, a violation of a team rule. "If they want to play, they should join a social club," Piniella said . . . More bad news for Bobby Jenks, the Angels' ballyhooed pitching prospect with the 100 mile-an-hour fastball. He was diagnosed with a stress reaction -- a precursor to a fracture -- in his right elbow. That's the same injury that sidelined Jenks for two months last season . . . With newspaper guys becoming regulars on radio and TV, it's only fair that broadcasters are taking to print. Jerry Remy has a book on the business -- "Watching Baseball: Discovering the Game within the Game" with Corey Sandler -- while Joe Castiglione weighs in with the anecdote-rich "Broadcast Rites and Sites: I Saw It on Radio with the Boston Red Sox," written with Douglas B. Lyons. Remy's book is available in bookstores, while Castiglione's book can be ordered at the National Book Network (1-800-462-6420). Both are available at amazon.com.

Material from personal interviews, wire services, other beat writers, and league and team sources was used in this report. 

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