Quick hits column

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 9:05 AM ET

PERFECT TIMING

- Respected Yankees broadcaster Jim Kaat on Blue Jays centre fielder Vernon Wells: "Baseball people talk about Alex Rodriguez winning the triple crown ... Wells is the best guy in the league right now with the chance of winning a triple crown some day. He has Albert Belle power." Kaat had just finished speaking when Wells hit the next pitch for a homer.

ALL IN THE WASH

- One of the jewels the Jays have their eyes on when the free agent market opens is Angels lefty Jarrod Washburn. The latest update in negotiations for a contract extension was this recent exchange between the Angels left-hander and GM Bill Stoneman: "Bill said hello to me," Washburn said. The Angels say they will wait until after the season to decide whether to offer a contract to Washburn. Meanwhile, rookie righty Ervin Santana is 7-5 with a 4.41 ERA, and with lefty Joe Saunders' solid start against the Jays on Aug. 16, it's becoming clear Washburn has little chance of remaining with the Angels beyond 2005.

WAY UP NORTH

- Toronto's Kris Dabrowiecki gained the win in the final game of the regular season to give the Thunder Bay Bordercats home field in the Northwood League championship series. Jimy Williams' son, Jeremy Williams, played first and pitched for Thunder Bay. The Bordercats beat the Madison Mallards 8-5 before 3,000 in Game 2 and then followed it up with a 4-3 win in front of more 3,300 to win their first league title. Other players in the college loop for the Cats, included P.E.I. lefty Morgan Carlile and B.C. righty Andrew Koop.

JUST ASK DAVE

- In the midst of his spitting match with outfielder Milton Bradley -- which Bradley turned into a racial issue -- Dodgers second baseman Jeff Kent said: "Ask Joe Carter, ask Dave Winfield." Well, that got us to thinking about the work out day before the opener of the 1992 season. Winfield had pulled a hamstring and was doubtful for the opener the next day. We spoke to him for five minutes about his condition -- as Kent interjected wisecracks every answer or so. Winfield moved the interview to the other side of the room and asked who Kent was and whether the rookie always acted so immaturely.

STILL UP NORTH

- John Milton, of the Jays, staged an instructional clinic in Thunder Bay which drew a crowd of 144 players and raised $2,100 for local baseball. In all, the 45 clinics this year helped raise more than $46,000 for baseball associations across Ontario.

VOTTO SOARS

- Etobicoke's Joey Votto had moved into fourth place in the single-A Florida State League runs batted in race. Votto has knocked in 82 runs in 121 games this season for the Sarasota Reds, a Cincinnati affiliate. Votto, formerly coached by Bob Smyth, has 16 homers and is hitting .259.


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