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MLB week


A scout's take

On Nick Swisher, Oakland's 26-year-old outfielder

Offense -- He has really been the catalyst for the Athletics most of the season. He has had surprising power and is not chasing out of the strike zone. He has good bat speed and he's getting some lift that he never had before.

Defense -- He's a good defender, but he can't throw. He has a below-average arm. Besides that, he is a good outfielder.

Makeup -- He was very impressed with himself when he came up. He was real cocky, and he didn't defer to the veterans the way rookies should. He was like a cocky 18-year-old in the big leagues, but he wasn't 18. He has gotten better with that. He's growing up some.

Note: "A scout's take" features one major league scout's opinion on a particular player each week. A revolving roundtable of scouts is used. Because of potential tampering, the scouts are anonymous.

Say what?

"I've always been hyper as it was. Could you imagine me on 35 milligrams? Holy smoke."

Always energized Orioles first base coach Rick Dempsey, on whether he ever took amphetamines during his playing career. Dempsey said the drugs were readily available when he arrived in the majors in the late 1960s, but that he never used them.

Numbing number


That's the American League's All-Star Game unbeaten streak, as it has gone 9-0-1 in the past 10 against the National League, including 2002's 7-7 tie and Tuesday's 3-2 win in Pittsburgh. The last time the AL lost was July 9, 1996, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia.

What's up?

The Orioles can spend the next three days dreaming of next year as Oakland's Barry Zito, the best free-agent-to-be pitcher comes to Camden Yards. The most intriguing matchup is in Detroit, where the Tigers and Chicago White Sox clash for three games starting Tuesday. Cincinnati's revamped bullpen gets tested this week as the Reds host the New York Mets and Milwaukee Brewers.

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