A few stories that go deep

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:43 AM ET

New York Yankees advance scout Chuck Cottier remembers his introduction to George Bell like it was yesterday.

"Before his first game with us, I'm hitting pre-game," Cottier said.

Cottier was a Chicago Cubs coach while Bell was the new free-agent left fielder in the spring of 1991.

"We're in Palm Springs and the first ball I hit to left I top it, it goes rolling slowly out to left," Cottier said. "Now I don't know George and George doesn't know me.

"He comes chugging in and screams, 'Hit the ball like an (expletive deleted) man.' "

Cottier still had the competitive fire he had as an infielder with the Washington Senators.

"I hit the next one over the left-field fence off a building and yell at him, 'Now go climb the fence and field that one like a man!' "

That cemented a fast friendship between Bell and Cottier.

Before joining the Cubs, Cottier managed the Seattle Mariners.

"George was one of those guys you hated to play against, but you loved him when he was on your team," Cottier said.

Big dough

When Jays scouting director Jon Lalonde signed free-agent third baseman Balbino Fuenmayor at a Rogers Centre workout recently he gave the Venezuelan a $1.15-million US signing bonus.

That's the 10th highest amongst the Jays' bonus babies.

Lefty Ricky Romero, the Jays' No. 1 pick in 2005 is the top dog with a $2.4-million bonus.

The rest of the top 10:

Felipe Lopez ($2 million); Gabe Gross ($1.865 million); Russ Adams ($1.785 million); Travis Snider ($1.7 million); Aaron Hill ($1.675 million); Vernon Wells ($1.6 million); David Purcey ($1.6 million); and Billy Koch ($1.45 million).

Fuenmayor, 17, bumps Zach Jackson ($1.017 million) from the top 10.

Not so fast

Bengie Molina knows his limitations.

Asked recently to name the slowest major leaguer for a Sports Illustrated survey, the Jays catcher said, "You mean besides me?"

Players were not allowed to vote for teammates. Molina won/lost the poll, being named on 56% of the ballots.

Paul Konerko of the Chicago White Sox was second at 7%.

Smokin' mad

After a recent Yankees game a week ago, scout Bill Scherrer of the Chicago White Sox and his compatriots headed for the subway.

Scherrer lit up a cigarette on the walk but when he approached the entrance of the subway he encountered difficulties swiping his card at the turnstile.

When it wouldn't work he heard someone say, "Could I please see your identification."

It was one of New York's finest.

"He was going to give me a ticket for smoking on the subway, even though I wasn't on the subway yet," Scherrerr said. "I told him I'd just come from the game and worked for the White Sox. He let me off."

Then, the White Sox were still in contention to defend their World Series title. Now they have been eliminated.

That's it for the Braves

How strange must it have been to be in the Atlanta Braves dugout last night. They played their first meaningless game -- without a post-season to look forward to -- for the first time since 1990. Heck of a run.

Sounds good

Sam Cosentino has impressed a lot and added to Jays broadcasts with his reporting from in the seats.


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