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Were probably a few weeks away still before teams really get serious about moving pitchers, possibly the likes of Jeff Samardzija, David Price, James Shields and Jason Hamel. In fact the way the Royals are playing and Shields is pitching, you can probably scratch him off the list completely. The Royals have won seven in a row and have climbed to within a game and a half of the Central-leading Tigers heading into a key four-game set at Comerica Park in Detroit on Monday night. Shields is their staff ace at 8-3 and is on a personal 5-0 run. One more quality arm might be all it takes to make the Blue Jays the team to beat in the American League. Thinking about that brought back memories of the greatest pitcher the Blue Jays almost acquired at the July 31st non-waiver deadline, but didnt. Pat Gillick was looking for that something extra in 1993 to put the Blue Jays over the top for a second straight World Series title. He was talking to Oakland about Rickey Henderson, and also Seattle about towering lefty Randy Johnson who was just beginning to come into his own at age 29. Gillick preferred the Johnson deal that would have sent right-handers Steve Karsay and Mike Timlin to the Mariners. Trouble was Seattle GM Woody Woodward was out golfing and in the era before cell phones, Gillick couldnt get a hold of him. In the meantime, As GM Sandy Alderson called back and accepted the Henderson deal for Karsay and a player to be named later (outfielder Jose Herrera). But even then, there was a minor hitch. Rickey wanted to be compensated for giving up his right of refusal on a trade. While that was being negotiated, Woodward called Gillick back and wanted to do the Johnson deal. Gillick had already given his word to Alderson and turned down the Johnson deal. As the clock ticked down, the Jays finally got the Rickey Henderson deal completed. In the short term, all of this paid off for the Blue Jays as they won their second straight championship. Rickey wasnt a huge contributor, but he was always a threat for the other team to worry about at the plate and on the bases. Henderson, though, was in a contract year and left as a free agent in the off-season. Would the Jays have been better off with Randy Johnson? Hard to say. There is no question Johnsons career really took off from that point. Through the 93 season, Johnsons record was 75-69 and he had been an All-Star twice and a runner-up for the Cy Young Award. After that he went 228-97 was an All-Star eight more times and won the Cy Young five times. Yet for all of that, he only won the World Series once, with Arizona in 2001. The Blue Jays in 1997 went out and signed Roger Clemens as a free agent after he opted to leave Boston. Clemens won back-to-back Cy Youngs with the Blue Jays yet they didnt make it to the post-season and attendance didnt get the boost most expected, even on the days Clemens was pitching. You wonder as well if the Jays had already landed Johnson, would they even have bothered to pursue Clemens in 97? If they did, the Jays could have had the same double barreled threat Arizona did when they had Johnson and Curt Schilling and defeated the Yankees in 2001. It makes for a great talking point, but at the end of the day, the Blue Jays still have that second straight World Series crown from 1993. Everything else is supposition. Tiger of the Future? When Tigers shortstop Jose Iglesias went down for the season with stress fractures in his legs, Detroit was left with a huge hole to fill at short. Danny Worth, Alex Gonzalez and Andrew Romine were all found wanting. But the Tigers may finally have their answer in rookie Eugenio Suarez, a 23-year-old out of Venezuela. Granted hes only had 24 at-bats, but Suarez is hitting .375 with three homers. This past Saturday against the Twins, he had a homer, a double and a triple. The last Tigers rookie to pull that off was catcher Bill Freehan back on May 7, 1963 versus the Yankees. A couple of Hall of Famers, Frank Robinson and Ted Williams managed to pull off that feat in their rookie seasons as well. If the Tigers still choose to go the veteran route at short, the Phillies Jimmy Rollins could be available after all. After breaking Hall of Famer Mike Schmidts franchise hit record on Saturday, Rollins added another one Sunday bringing his career total to 2,236. He said afterwards he would consider waving his no trade rights if the Phillies brass decided it was time to "blow it up" and rebuild. Swing and a Miss White Sox slugger Adam Dunn is in "hot" pursuit of a rather dubious record. He has moved into fourth place on the all-time strikeouts list with 2,295. He is only 11 back of Sammy Sosa for third and 302 back of strikeout king Reggie Jackson. Interesting that three of the top 10 are in Cooperstown, including Jackson, Willie Stargell and Mike Schmidt. Rough Ride Whether the Jays are fast-tracking Aaron Sanchez for a trip to the Majors or are showcasing him for a trade to get a veteran arm, his first start for Triple-A Buffalo was a little bit rocky Saturday at Toledo. The first-round draft pick from 2010 was knocked out in the 5th inning after giving up four earned runs, six hits and four walks. The Mudhens also stole four bases. Though a tad wild, Sanchez did hit a peak of 97 miles per hour on the radar gun. Blank Mexico Jersey . But San Diego had even more trouble against right-hander Tanner Roark, who pitched a three-hitter for the first complete game of his career as the Nationals shut out the Padres 4-0. The 27-year-old set down the first 16 batters before San Diego catcher Rene Rivera, an . Alfredo Talavera Jersey . Kelli Stack and Alex Carpenter also scored for the Americans, who avoided a repeat of Finlands upset at the Four Nations Cup in Lake Placid, N.Y., in November. Finnish goalie Noora Raty made 58 saves in that one, but the three-time Olympian could stop just 40 of 43 U. http://www.nationalsoccermexico.com/gio ... co-jersey/. "Im not doing enough to help them," Durant told The Oklahoman on Monday of his 28-9 team. "Im shooting too much. Im shooting too many threes. Im not helping them out at all. Javier Aquino Jersey .Chanathip Songkrasin opened the scoring in the sixth minute before Kroekrit found the target twice in the 57th and four minutes from fulltime.Vietnam and Malaysia play their second leg on Thursday. Vietnam won the first leg 2-1. Miguel Layun Jersey . McCutchen was cut before the series opener against Seattle on Monday night, when Lewis was set for his first start for Texas since July 18, 2012. Texas selected Lewis contract from Triple-A Round Rock.Only a year ago, Brampton, Ontarios Anthony Bennett was making a splash in the NCAA at UNLV, averaging 16.1 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, shooting .533 per cent from the field and .375 per cent from the three-point line with a good mix of power and range. The 68" freshman was drawing comparisons to former alum and Naismith Player of the Year Larry Johnson, and was considered a cant-miss NBA lottery pick. Today, two months into his rookie NBA season after being selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2013 Draft, ESPNs NBA Insider Chad Ford says "hes looking like the worst #1 draft pick of the last twenty years." Bennetts season averages of 2.5 points and 2.1 rebounds per game, shooting .275 per cent from the field, .556 per cent from the free throw line and .148 per cent from behind the arc in 10.5 minutes per game do little to contravene Fords claim. Bennetts agent and former AAU coach Mike George feels the media criticism is making a bigger story than necessary and is tinged with bias. "Obviously hes the #1 pick so theres a lot of pressure in that regard," George says. "I also think the fact that hes Canadian [means] a lot of the American media are not telling both sides of the story." Yet, Ford was also the biggest champion of the now since forgotten, Serbian 7-footer Darko Milicic, who in 2002 was drafted behind LeBron James and ahead of Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. So how did Bennett go from stud to dud? Last January, he developed a torn left rotator cuff which he played through, until the Runnin Rebels were eliminated from the NCAA tournament in March. After declaring for the draft, he had shoulder surgery in May and wasnt cleared for basketball activity until September, missing all of Summer League. He finally was able to participate in Clevelands training camp, with a focus of getting back into game shape, working on his conditioning and losing weight. The other side of the story that George refers to - the unfair media criticism - is that the Cavaliers strategy was always to ease Bennett in. Mary Schmitt Boyer of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, who covers the team, agrees. "They actually are kind of stacked at power forward," she says. "So bringing him along slowly, on what they anticipated was going to be a playoff team, was definitely part of the plan. I know that they are a little sensitive to critticism of him, compared to some of the other players.dddddddddddd. They say if he played as many minutes as some of these other players, his stats would be better. Im not sure I am totally in agreement on that." But minutes are hard to come by for a rookie on an underperforming 11-21 squad searching for wins. Sending him down to the D-League isnt an option that the Cavaliers are entertaining, so is their master plan working? "For the past two months, hes been going two-a-days and getting himself back in shape," George says. "Thats why hes cut his weight down to 243 right now, and you see the difference between his play today and the start of the season. He looks different on the floor, hes running better, and playing with more confidence." Schmitt Boyer offers a more measured assessment. "Its very, very incremental," she says. "Hell do little things that coaches see and will point out to him when they are going through game footage. But I do think hes catching on and getting a little better, although theyve set the bar pretty low. I sense that his confidence is actually getting better. Even if it might not be totally showing up in his stats, theyre showing more confidence in him." That confidence, coupled with opportunity, may be the shift Bennett needs, as he has lost 17 pounds since training camp. The Cavaliers have indefinitely suspended centre Andrew Bynum, freeing up minutes in the frontcourt and have ended the small forward experiment, moving him back to his natural slot in the power forward position. "Is he starting off slower than a number 1 pick should?" Schmitt Boyer asks. "Yes, and Im not trying to soften what hes doing in any means. A couple years ago, people were really down on Tristan Thompson and now Im not sure he wouldnt be the second pick in that draft. Its a little quick to determine him the worst number one pick in twenty years. He may well be a bust, I just dont think its fair to say that after two months in the NBA." The end result of Bennetts rookie campaign lies somewhere in between. He wont go down as the worst pick in the last twenty years, yet is hard pressed to live up to the standard of a number one draft pick. Make no mistake, no one will pencil him in for the All-Rookie team just yet, but chances are high Bennett will prove that Ford may have been suffering from a case of premature proclamation. ' ' '


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