First base

The Houston Astros chose outfielder Domingo Santana over three other Phillies minor-leaguers to complete the Hunter Pence trade. The other three names on their list: outfielders Jiwan James and Leandro Castro and pitcher Juan Sosa. All three are playing at single-A Clearwater. James, 22, went into Saturday hitting .269 with 24 doubles, six triples, four home runs, and 31 RBIs. Castro, also 22, has been on the disabled list since the middle of June. Sosa, a 21-year-old righthanded reliever, is a combined 4-2 with 11 saves and a 3.96 ERA at Lakewood and Clearwater this season.

Second base

Speaking of Santana, he made quite a first impression after moving from the Phillies' South Atlantic League affiliate in Lakewood to Houston's SAL team in Lexington, Ky., last week. In his second game with his new team, Santana lined an RBI single off Stephen Strasburg, who was pitching for Washington's Hagerstown team as part of his rehab that the Nationals hope leads him back to the big leagues in September. After Strasburg was removed from the game in the second inning, Santana delivered a two-run single off reliever Sam Brown. Those runs were also charged to Strasburg, who surrendered five runs on four hits and two walks in 12/3 innings.

Third base

The friction between Logan Morrison and the Florida Marlins is somewhat reminiscent of how the Phillies used to get along with Scott Rolen during the bad old days when winning seasons were as rare as compliments about beautiful Veterans Stadium. Morrison was demoted to triple-A New Orleans eight days ago after he failed to attend a team function with season-ticket-holders. He felt the team had failed to support his own charity event a few days earlier, and Wes Helms, the team's player representative, advised him he was within his rights to boycott the Marlins event. As upset as the Phillies were with Rolen at times, they never did anything close to that stupid.

Philadelphia, of course, is now viewed as baseball heaven and the players see it that way, too. One former Phillies player who also played for the Marlins told me in spring training that he never felt he was in the major leagues until he came to Philadelphia. And that was from a veteran who also spent considerable time in triple A.

Home plate

Maybe baseball is just cursed in Washington, and it didn't start with the elbow injury that prematurely ended Strasburg's season last year, the hamstring strain that has now sidelined super prospect Bryce Harper, or the disappointing first season for high-priced free-agent Jayson Werth. This is the 78th year that a major-league team has played in Washington, and those teams have finished first just three times. The last winning season by a Washington team was in 1969, which was the only winning season that incarnation of the Senators had before moving to Texas. The city can at least say that its only World Series victory, in 1924, was long after the Cubs last won it all in 1908. - Bob Brookover