Francisco Liriano is a key with Kevin Slowey sidelined but can't get himself turned around, going 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in his last four starts. It will be a surprise if the Twins get much strong work out of Carl Pavano. . . . Only two second basemen have hit 20-plus home runs in each of their first four big league seasons: new Hall of Famer Joe Gordon and the Marlins' Dan Uggla. . . . Mets GM Omar Minaya could be a fall guy for an injury-plagued year, which just keeps getting worse. If anyone loses a job in Cleveland, it probably will be Manager Eric Wedge, not GM Mark Shapiro. . . . The Nationals have not wrapped up the 30th spot in the standings, otherwise known as victory in the Bryce Harper Derby. They opened the second half 11-9 under interim Manager Jim Riggleman, while the Royals went 5-15. This could be a fun battle to watch down the stretch, except for fans in Kansas City and Washington. . . . The Mariners really did discuss a Felix Hernandez trade with the Red Sox before the trade deadline. It was a trial balloon from GM Jack Zduriencik, who would prefer to sign Hernandez to a long-term contract, and at one point they became three-way talks with the Padres to send Adrian Gonzalez to the Mariners and a ton of great prospects to San Diego.



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