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Don’t Expect Cruz to Level Off

The Jose Cruz Jr. promotion watch is on.

Don’t be surprised if Cruz, the JetHawks’ outfielder, is moved to double A shortly after he plays in the California League all-star game Tuesday.

Cruz entered play Thursday night hitting .333 with five home runs and 42 runs batted in. He’s played nearly flawless defense. Cruz, considered the top prospect in the Seattle Mariner system, said he hasn’t received official--or even unofficial--word on when he might move up.

“It’s all hearsay,” he said. “I hope to keep moving up. I am really enjoying Lancaster, but hopefully I’ll be leaving soon.”

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The JetHawks won coin tosses to play host to a one-game playoff--if necessary--against the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes or the High Desert Mavericks on Monday. If a tie among more than two teams is still possible Saturday, the league will hold another coin flip to determine the scenarios. If there is a three-team tie, there would be a mini-tournament Monday, with two teams playing early in the evening and the winner facing the third team in a second game. All games would be in the same ballpark. . . . Right-hander Clint Gould returned to the JetHawks from triple-A Tacoma, Wash., on Thursday. To create a spot for Gould, the Mariners sent third baseman Luis Figueroa to short-season Everett, Wash.

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Because two of the JetHawks’ regular batboys were attending graduations Thursday night, the team had to improvise: with batmen.

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Wayne Berry, the JetHawks’ assistant general manager, made an offhand comment Wednesday night about being short of batboys for the game, and Antelope Valley College basketball Coach Newton Chelette overheard and volunteered himself and his friend, John Krueger.

The two middle-aged men, dressed in full uniform, scampered out to pick up bats during the game. Krueger was warned by JetHawk catcher Scot Sealy to watch out for angry players flinging helmets.

“It won’t be anything worse than what I usually go through,” said Krueger, who is a courthouse supervisor for the Sheriff’s Dept. in Lancaster.

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Tonight’s Game:

JetHawks (Chris Beck, 5-3, 3.48) at Lake Elsinore (Bryan Harris, 0-5, 3.86), 7:05.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

THE CAL LEAGUE RACE

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Southern Division W L Pct. GB Rancho Cucamonga (Padres) 36 31 .537 -- Lancaster (Mariners) 35 32 .522 1

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The JetHawks trail Rancho Cucamonga by one game in the race for the first-half division title with three games to play.

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