Quick hits column

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

David Eckstein, who the Los Angeles Angels didn't want back and signed a three-year deal for $10.5-million US with the St. Louis Cardinals, not only has been a good leadoff man for them, but he is third in RBIs at 54. This includes such varied game-enders as a grand slam against Atlanta Braves, a squeeze against the Chicago Cubs and a more conventional game-winning single Tuesday night to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates. The 5-foot-6 shortstop has an on-base percentage of .359.

TRAVELLING SOUTH

Colorado Rockies lefty Jeff Francis, who starts today, is 1-5 in his past seven starts, leaving him with a 12-12 record. Francis, of North Delta, BC, has failed to survive five innings in five of his past seven starts, allowing 32 earned runs in 341/3 innings.

FLYING SOUTH

Cambridge's Scott Thorman will be at Turner Field next weekend in Atlanta to be presented with the Braves double-A player of the year award, along with the other minor-league winners. Thorman hit .305 with 15 homers and 65 RBIs for the Mississippi Braves before being promoted to triple-A Richmond, where he hit .276. Earlier, Thorman was voted the best defensive first baseman in a Baseball America poll of Southern League managers.

GOOD HIT, BAD TIMING

If Andruw Jones could have picked a game to hit a historic homer, it would not have been in a 12-4 loss to Philadelphia. He hit his 50th of the season and 300th of his career in the eighth with the Braves down by 11 runs. Jones became the 12th major leaguer to hit 300 homers before turning 30, and the youngest Brave to do it. Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews also got to 300 before turning 30.

INDIANS HEATING UP

The Indians won seven in a row heading into the weekend.

"After we won them all, I called (manager) Eric Wedge and told him: 'If you want me, I'll be in Las Vegas. I'm hot'," said general manager Mark Shapiro.


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