Quick Hits column

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:20 AM ET

AU NATUREL

- With the Montreal Expos moving to Washington, it meant the Nationals remained as the Blue Jays' interleague rival this season. Washington will be twinned with the Baltimore Orioles next season and it was assumed that would leave the Philadelphia Phillies to become the Jays' "natural rival." But the Phillies' early draft of the 2006 schedule shows that they will play a home-and-home interleague series with the Boston Red Sox. Does that mean that the Jays will hook up with the Atlanta Braves, who had been twinned with the Red Sox? The Phillies will also play regular interleague games at Baltimore and Toronto while hosting the Yankees and Devil Rays.

FOND FAREWELL

- Al Boyle, 70, coached his final game yesterday morning at the shrine known as Talbot Park in Leaside. He left the field the final time to cheers from two waiting teams, the team he'd just played and his own Pickering Red Sox. Boyle has coached sandlot ball for 42 seasons, the past 11 with Pickering and, before that, West Hill for 31 summers. The good-natured Boyle touched the lives of hundreds of young players.

CROWNING SEASON?

- Second baseman Kenny Holmberg, the son of single-A Auburn manager Dennis Holmberg, is chasing the triple crown in the rookie-class Pioneer League. Drafted in the 22nd round in June, he went 4-for-5 with a homer and six RBIs in Helena's 10-1 win against Missoula. Holmberg ranks second with a .374 average, four points off the pace, is tied for third with 48 RBIs and is locked in a four-way tie for second place with 11 for the home-run lead.

EIGHT, UNASSISTED

- You think you had have seen it all, and then Angels' Maicer Izturis hit a bloop to centre that Oakland A's shortstop Marco Scutaro and second baseman Mark Ellis both chased. When the ball fell in, no one covered second, so as Izturis charged toward the base, Payton opened the barn door and away he went. Payton tagged Izturis out for the 8-unassisted putout.

FLAME-THROWER

- Etobicoke's Rob Findlay was named to the single-A Appalachian League all-star team. Findlay, the Texas Christian University's single-season saves record holder, dominated in his debut season with the Princeton Devil Rays. He set a team single-season saves record for with 15, going 3-1 with an ERA of 1.88 and 34 strikeouts in 24 innings.


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