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Verlander, Kazmir still showing their age

6/13/2006

BASEBALL TONIGHT EXTRA

By Mark Simon, ESPN Research

Pitching's future was on display Monday night as two of the best young arms in baseball went head to head in Detroit. Scott Kazmir and Justin Verlander were both quite impressive, though neither was around when the game was decided.

Both Kazmir and Verlander have been dominant at times this season, but they've also shown their age at other times. Kazmir has run high pitch counts throughout his career, making it difficult for him to go deep into games. Verlander has had the occasional blip in his performance when he runs into a potent offense. Both will improve over time. Health likely will determine their success, because the talent is very evident.

MAUER NOW THAN EVER

By Peter Gammons, ESPN.com Insider | Archive

Joe Mauer


Joe Mauer is now, at the age of 23, the Twins' franchise player and will be so visibly when Torii Hunter is gone at the end of either the 2006 or 2007 season. Where he will be on the field is another issue. He's had the knee operation and some leg problems, and some on the Minnesota staff believe that eventually getting him out from behind the plate will free his legs and allow him to be a middle-of-the-order star.

Not that Mauer isn't a good catcher. He is. He has soft hands, an excellent presentation, a good arm and a selfless approach. But like Joe Torre and Craig Biggio, sometimes a player is so good offensively that he needs to get out from behind the plate and let his offense be a priority. Ron Gardenhire believes Mauer is so athletic that he will have no problem playing third base.

More from Gammons' blogInsider

MONDAY'S NEWS AND NOTES

• Injured starter A.J. Burnett (sore right elbow) tossed five
hitless innings in a rehab start with Syracuse. Burnett walked one, struck out seven and didn't give up a run. He's expected to make
one more rehab start before rejoining the Blue Jays' rotation at Atlanta June 22.

• RHP David Weathers was advised not to throw a ball
for a few days. Weathers left Sunday's game after feeling numbness
in his arm. The Reds have no immediate plans to put him on the DL.

• Nationals RHP John Patterson made a rehab start for
Triple-A New Orleans, giving up two runs, four hits and two walks in 4 2/3 innings. He's been sidelined since April
with a right forearm strain.

• Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo has dropped 3B Melvin Mora from
second in the order to third. Perlozzo said he'll continue to do that as long as LF Brandon Fahey continues to hit.