Quotes of the week

Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips, on a big game by teammate Laynce Nix: "It's great to have a guy in leftfield who can not only hit the ball, but catch the ball, too."

Nationals leftfielder Adam Dunn, who last year played the same position for Cincinnati, on the obvious reference to himself: "Nice, real nice. Brandon has to let it go. I'm not there anymore. Let me go."

Book-store note of the week

Mark "Frog" Carfagno once was as well known as any grounds-crew member in baseball. He participated in skits with the Phanatic, he appeared in the team's commercials. Then, in 2004, he was let go.

He says he still doesn't know why. But he has written a book about his experiences, good and bad. "Hardball & Hardship" is a raw but touching account of growing up in Philadelphia, full of his insights on a variety of topics, including why Dick Allen should be in the Hall of Fame.

Carfagno will be signing the book at 2 p.m. June 20 at Jimmy Mac's Tavern in Drexel Hill.

It's also available at www.frogcarfagno.com.

Surprise defense witness of the week

The person least upset by the surprising trade that sent Nate McLouth, presented as a cornerstone of the Pirates' future last winter, to Atlanta might just be McLouth himself. In fact, he defended the Pittsburgh organization from charges that the deal proves the front office doesn't care about winning.

"I'm convinced they want to put a winning team on the field or I wouldn't have signed the [3-year, $15.75 million] contract," he said. "I understand why they did it. They feel like they can help their organization by acquiring three prospects and they have a real good young player [Andrew McCutcheon] to plug into my spot."

Ugly game of the week

The Indians' Dominican Summer League team lost to the White Sox' team, 22-17, last Sunday.

The Indians made six errors. Their pitchers walked 10, had three wild pitches and hit five batters. And the whole fiasco lasted 4 hours and 20 minutes.

That couldn't have been easy to watch. *

- Paul Hagen