Gio Gonzalez

, one of the pitchers the Phillies sent to the White Sox for

Freddy Garcia

, is off to a great start at double-A Birmingham. He went 4-1 with a 1.91 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 281/3 innings in his first five starts.

Gavin Floyd

, the other pitcher in the deal, was 1-2 with a 3.94 ERA in his first five starts at triple-A Charlotte. . . . All that base-stealing instruction that

Greg Golson

received from Phils coach

Davey Lopes

in spring training seems to be paying off. Golson was 8 for 9 in steal attempts over his first 27 games. In that span, he had 13 extra-base hits. Golson was the Phils' top pick in the 2004 draft. . . .

J.A. Happ

has pitched well for the Phils' triple-A Ottawa club. He is 1-1 with a 2.33 ERA in five starts. In 27 innings, he has allowed just 21 hits while walking 14 and striking out 31. Offensively, the Ottawa club entered Friday with just one home run in its first 22 games. Indianapolis had the next fewest homers (11). League leader Syracuse had 27. ... Mets general manager

Omar Minaya

raised some eyebrows at Shea Stadium on Tuesday when he had a 10-minute conversation with Marlins slugger

Miguel Cabrera

during batting practice. Was Minaya doing a little networking in preparation for Cabrera's hitting the free-agent market after the 2009 season? That technically would be tampering. Marlins general manager

Larry Beinfest

saw the conversation but declined to comment when asked about it by reporter

Juan Rodriguez

of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Cabrera, who has 110-plus RBIs the last three seasons and is off to a big start this year, will turn 27 early in the 2010 season. On his current course, he'll be one of the most coveted free agents ever. "He's half man, half amazing," pitcher

Dontrelle Willis

told reporters last week. "He's the best player in the league; you can quote me on that. He's a Hall of Fame guy." . . . Nice to see the Reds are going to officially retire

Dave Concepcion

's No. 13. We say "officially" because no Reds player has worn the number since he stopped playing in 1988. The Reds' equipment managers made sure of it. That's how respected Concepcion was. . . . Switching to left field, the position he played in Washington last season, has agreed with

Alfonso Soriano

. He hit .245 with no homers and one RBI in 12 games as a centerfielder and .382 with two homers and three RBIs in his first seven games in left. . . . And finally, happy birthday, Ann. You've always hit 95 on this radar gun.

- Jim Salisbury