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Scott Pianowski

Closing Time: A word about Junior Hairston

Just four games on the sandlots Monday, and there's no dominant theme, so we'll go right to the notebook and bullet the blue sky.

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For some reason I've always had a fantasy fondness for Jerry Hairston Jr.(notes) Maybe it's the three-position eligibility, maybe it's the sneaky combination of speed (lots) and power (well, a little), maybe it's because of the run he took a few of my teams on last year. Hairston didn't hit a lick earlier in 2009 but he's worked his way back onto the radar with four straight multi-hit games, including Monday's 4-2-2-2 line at Arizona. I can't guarantee he'll do anything Tuesday against Dan Haren(notes), but let's give Hairston a look for the rest of the week; he's getting an extended trial as Cincinnati's No. 2 hitter, and his ability to play all over the field will come in handy when Alex Gonzalez (oblique) returns to action at some point.

Emmanuel Burriss(notes) has been sizzling since the calendar turned to May (.486, four steals), and with that in mind the Giants gave him a shot in the leadoff slot Monday. It didn't turn into anything (0-for-5, walk), but let's keep an eye on this story. It's a monstrous upgrade for a speedster to shift from the eighth spot to the leadoff position; batting before the pitcher limits base-running chances for obvious reasons.

Laynce Nix(notes) had a couple of hits (including a homer) in Cincinnati's win at Arizona, but this looks like a story that's going to end badly; when you've got 16 strikeouts over 52 at-bats, you're not supposed to be carrying a .327 average. Nix kept the left-field spot warm last week with a host of single-hit games, but even Dusty Baker is bound to realize the reality of the situation at some point later this month and start open auditions again.

Why is Logan Kensing(notes) wearing a major league uniform right now? Is Manny Acta trying to throw ballgames? Kensing's specialty is allowing multiple runs in any game he pitches; he turned the trick Monday in San Francisco for the fifth time in his last eight appearances. Shield your eyes away from this radioactive line: 12.1 IP, 26 H, 18 R, 9 BB, 9 K, 13.14 ERA. I realize the Nationals aren't looking at a ton of pitching depth in the organization right now, but there have to be better options available. Get on the horn, Mike Rizzo.

There are some pretenders in the Washington rotation as well. Daniel Cabrera's(notes) calling card this year is the unearned run – it's the only thing keeping his ERA below five. He's allowed a whopping 13 unearned tallies this year, to go with the 19 earned runs the opponents have put on his tab. Cabrera still can't find the plate with a GPS system (28 walks against 13 strikeouts), and the Nats have lost each of his seven starts. Washington's lineup really isn't that bad – the top four hitters are over .300 and Elijah Dukes(notes) follows them – but with a staff like this, you're not going to win many ballgames.

The Indians might be the worst team in the American League right now (I guess it depends on how you feel about the A's), but don't pin the blame on Asdrubal Cabrera(notes), who's been one of the biggest profit players of the year, post-hype sleeper makes good. Cabrera posted another rich line Monday, collecting two hits and two runs against the White Sox (with a walk mixed in), and he swiped his sixth base of the year. Sure, that pretty .400 BABIP isn't going to last forever, but when you're nailing a line drive 27.5 percent of the time, you're earning that .325 average. He's a keeper.

Not an Injury Blog: Josh Hamilton(notes) (ribs) reached base three times in his final rehab start Monday and should be in Tuesday's lineup with the Rangers. "I'm done sitting," Hamilton told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "There's a lot of time left to have a good year." … The nightmare season continues for Lastings Milledge(notes); he broke a finger trying to bunt in a Triple-A game and is out indefinitely. … Carlos Delgado(notes) (hip) didn't play Monday and is expected to miss multiple games. … John Lackey(notes) (forearm) made a minor league rehab turn Sunday and might make his next turn with the Angels. Ervin Santana(notes) (elbow) pitched the day before Lackey and doesn't look far off, either. …Troy Tulowitzki was roping the ball at the end of last week, but hold everything now that he's battling a strained quad. … Derrek Lee(notes) (neck) should be able to avoid the disabled list, according to Carrie Muskat, and might be able to play in the San Diego series. … Conor Jackson(notes) (illness) didn't start Monday but was able to pinch hit.

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Speed Round: We're all trained to hate Willy Taveras(notes) for some reason, but what's wrong with 24 runs, eight steals and a .315 average? … I'd like to congratulate Fred Lewis(notes) for managing to keep a toothless .286 average, and a full-time job, through the first five weeks. He's just 2-for-4 on the bases, and somehow he's got just two RBIs on the year through 105 at-bats. … Carl Pavano(notes) grabbed his third win of the year, albeit the White Sox touched him up for 10 hits and four runs. You want to roll with his 6.45 ERA, you go right ahead. … Mark Buehrle's(notes) next turn has been pushed back to Wednesday, giving him five days of rest before he gets back on the mound. … You don't need me to validate Ryan Zimmerman(notes) for you, right? He threw four hits and two homers at the Giants on Monday, extending his hitting streak to 29 games in the process. Imagine what he could do hitting against the pitchers on his own staff. … Johan Santana(notes) lowered his ERA to 0.78, but his teammates let him down again – two unearned runs, and mediocre support. We've seen that story before.

Handshake: It was pretty darn close to being a night without a save, but Washington's ninth-inning rally at San Francisco made Brian Wilson(notes) owners happy. Bruce Bochy managed by the save rule, but of course, and Wilson was summoned to put out the "fire" – striking out Josh Willingham(notes) while the tying run stood perilously in the on-deck circle. Whew, that was a close one.

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