The Week That Was in Baseball: August 3-9, 2009
Baseball's Brave New Post-Trade Deadline World Big Papi's Nutritional Nightmare
Jeffrey Loria Goes for Broke
Matt Holliday's Mile-High Debut in St. Louis

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After Two Weeks Under an Arch...
Once upon a time, the great dancer-actor Fred Astaire was cleaning up at the Emmy Awards for some special he put on. Late in the program, Jack Benny came on as a presenter and quickly mentioned, “I’m sorry but I just arrived…tell me, has Fred Astaire won anything?”

I thought of that comment as I came back from two weeks on the road in the Southwest, lost among numerous national parks, often away from Internet or ESPN (the latter in part because my two kids hijacked any TV we had in favor of Spongebob Squarepants and iCarly.

So tell me, in the past few weeks:

• How’s David Ortiz, our Great Clean Hope, playing? (Oh.)

• How about that Josh Hamilton and his continued triumph over addiction? (Oh.)

• How’s Jack Wilson, Freddie Sanchez, Ian Snell, John Grabow and Tom Gorzelanny doing for Pittsburgh? (Oh.)

• How’s Cliff Lee, Victor Martinez, Ryan Garko, Carl Pavano and Ben Francisco doing for Cleveland? (Oh.)

• How about the job those Boston reclamation projects like John Smoltz are doing? (Oh.)

• How long is Jake Peavy going to keep turning down trade offers? (Oh.)—Eric

A Rare Collector's Item in the Making
Victor Martinez was traded from the Indians to the Boston Red Sox a day before Victor Martinez Bobblehead Night at Cleveland.

Has Jeffrey Loria Lost His Mind?
How strange was it to see the Florida Marlins actually trade a prospect for an established hitter (Norm Johnson), and not vice versa?

From Triple-A to Triple Digits
Texas reliever Neftali Perez had an impressive first week as a major leaguer, which followed the hype of his 100-MPH-and-up fastball. In three appearances, Perez hurled 4.2 innings, allowing one run (a solo home run by the Oakland A's Adam Kennedy), struck out eight and walked none. It will be interesting to see how quickly scouts can help opposing hitters figure out Perez—if they can, that is.

Hooray for Harang
Cincinnati starting pitcher Aaron Harang won his first game in 13 starts—a stretch that began in late May—when he and the Reds prevailed at San Francisco on Sunday, 5-2. During his dry spell, Harang was 0-9 with a 5.49 ERA; the hard-luck pitcher is 12-30 over his last two years, although his ERA during this time is under 5.00.

This Week's Challenger to Joe DiMaggio
Orlando Cabrera ended this past week with the majors’ longest active hitting streak, at 19 games—the last eight of which have come in the uniform of the Minnesota Twins, following his trade from Oakland. The 34-year old shortstop has gone hitless in just one of his last 27 games, a span during which he has been hitting .390.

Steroids Suspect of the Week
This has not been a good year for David Ortiz. He started the year in a terrible and prolonged slump, and now he’s been tagged as the latest leaked steroid user from the “secret” tests of 2003. This past Saturday, Ortiz faced the music and offered up the explanation that he unknowingly taken a mix of supplements and vitamins gone wild.

The roundabout admission of good guy Ortiz was painful for followers of baseball (except those who root for the Yankees), but it also underscores the notion that, maybe, the ballpark figures of 50-to-80% steroid usage within the majors from perceived loudmouths Jose Canseco and Curt Schilling are edging closer to a possible truth.

What Comes Around Goes Around
When the Mitchell Report was released, it was noted how players from the Boston Red Sox seemed to be spared; many Red Sox haters believed the fact that George Mitchell was chummy with the Sox had something to do with it. Forget that now; the two power sluggers that helped deliver Boston its first two world championships since the 1910s—Ortiz and Manny Ramirez—are now soiled by steroids accusations. Additionally, Cincinnati pitcher Bronson Arroyo, then a member of the Red Sox, claims he too took andro and amphetamines from 2003-05.

Hitting Like It's a Mile High
A few weeks back we said how Matt Holliday’s numbers, reduced by his absence at offensive-minded Coors Field, were shown for what they really should be. His trade from Oakland to St. Louis gave him the best opportunity to reclaim his statistical greatness without stepping foot into Colorado—by hitting behind Albert Pujols. As of the end of this past week, Holliday is hitting a whopping .466 (27-for-58) with four home runs and 15 RBIs since joining the Cardinals.

Slumpless in Seattle
It has been nearly a year—or 144 games, as of this past Sunday—since Seattle hitting machine Ichiro Suzuki has gone hitless in two straight contests. It's the longest such streak since 1954, and 20 shy of the AL mark held by Earl Sheely of the Chicago White Sox from 1923-24.

Wounded of the Week
There were very few optimists to be found in the world when the subject of Brandon Webb’s chances of returning to the mound in 2009 came up. Sure enough, after hurting his shoulder in his very first start of the year—and then trying to find someway to make a quick repair—Webb finally caved into shoulder surgery, which will sideline him for the rest of the season. He is expected to fully recover in time for spring training 2010; the question will be whether the Diamondbacks will pick up his $8.5 million option to have Webb pitch in an Arizona uniform.

Also sidelined for varying lengths of time this past week are Texas second baseman Ian Kinsler (hamstring), Arizona outfielder Justin Upton (side), Boston shortstop Jed Lowrie (left arm numbness) and outfielder Rocco Baldelli (ankle), Chicago Cub ace Carlos Zambrano (back), Los Angeles of Anaheim starting pitcher Joe Saunders (shoulder) and, yet again, Los Angeles starting pitcher Jason Schmidt (shoulder).

The Comebacker’s Greatest Hits
Click here to look at the TGG Comebacker archive going back to the start of the 2007 season.