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DOWN THE LINE

Dr. Jekyll, Mr. Hyde and Adrian Gonzalez

The San Diego Padres had maintained they wouldn’t trade Jake Peavy so long as they had a chance to win. They fell 10 1/2 games behind the Dodgers, tried to trade their ace, then reeled off a 10-game winning streak.

No, Peavy is not off the trading block. There was nothing sustainable in that streak.

The Padres batted .230 during the streak. Their bullpen gave up one run in 33 innings, for an earned-run average of 0.27. They gained all of two games on the Dodgers.

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They did climb above .500 by the end of the streak, and they did close to within three games of the wild-card lead. But those 10 consecutive wins followed six consecutive losses, and a 4-19 skid.

“We’re still trying to figure out who we are,” General Manager Kevin Towers said. “We’re taking it series to series.

“I consider myself potentially a buyer and a seller. We have to be ready to move if the right deal presents itself. We’re in that boat with all our players, not just with Jake.”

All of the players, that is, except for the first baseman.

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“Adrian Gonzalez has pretty much been a one-man wrecking crew,” Towers said.

It’s a wonder Gonzalez ever sees a strike. He entered the weekend leading the majors in home runs, and he had accounted for 37% of the Padres’ homers. No other player had accounted for even one-third of his team’s home runs.

The Padres need a mass infusion of talent. Gonzalez would command a far greater return in trade than Peavy.

Peavy, 28, is guaranteed $33 million in 2010-11, with a $22-million option in 2012. Gonzalez, 27, is guaranteed $4.75 million next year, with a $5.6-million option in 2011.

Yet incoming owner Jeff Moorad ought to go right back out if he approves a Gonzalez trade.

Gonzalez is the big bat every team craves. He is Tony Gwynn for a new generation in San Diego, a local kid who grew up on both sides on the border, and he is a living rebuttal to any teammate who might complain about hitting at Petco Park.

“We’re not entertaining offers for him,” Towers said.

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Hello, Bud: I’m ba-a-ack!

Manny Ramirez could have played in the All-Star game even if his suspension were still in effect. Baseball’s drug policy specifically mandates that “the commissioner’s office shall not exclude a player from eligibility for election or selection because he is suspended.”

When Barry Bonds tied Hank Aaron’s home run record, Bud Selig just stood there, hands stuffed in pockets. We’d love to see Selig’s reaction if fans vote Ramirez into the All-Star game and Ramirez hits a home run.

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It takes one to know one

We’ve always had a soft spot for the Cubs’ Milton Bradley, one of baseball’s most intelligent and thoughtful players, at least when he wants to be. His reputation as volatile is not undeserved, given the angry episodes that inevitably pop up wherever he goes. He’s on his fifth team in five seasons.

But we had to smile at Bradley’s reaction to the meltdown of the season. After Carlos Zambrano was ejected Wednesday, the pitcher gestured as if he were ejecting the umpire, hurled a baseball across the field as far as he could, slammed his glove against the dugout wall, then seized a bat and repeatedly attacked the Gatorade dispenser in the dugout.

“That was pretty impressive,” Bradley told the Chicago Tribune. “That was on a Bradley level.”

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-- Bill Shaikin


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