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David Brown

The Juice: Vernon Wells homers again to lead Blue Jays uprising

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Gather 'round, because it's time to recap the most recent diamond doings. Roll Call starts in the Great Republic of Texas, where rejuvenated slugger Vernon Wells(notes) hit another home run to spark a comeback victory for the Toronto Blue Jays. Wells, who could blame some of a miserable 2009 season on injuries, is the hottest hitter in baseball so far and the Jays are 2-1. Nice, eh?

Game of the Day: Blue Jays 3, Rangers 1

One of baseball's priciest players, Wells' performance has been below average in two of the past three seasons, presumably because of injuries. But in three games so far this season, he's got four homers, seven RBIs and is batting .600. His ninth-inning solo shot tied the score against Frank Francisco(notes) and Wells' teammates piled on from there.

Video: There goes a baseball!

Hey, Vern: Wells didn't reach four homers last season until the Jays' 27th game on May 3. Dogged by a bad wrist, Wells finished with 15 deeps and a .711 (unlucky) OPS. He seems healthy now.

"It's cool to hit homers," Wells said. "But I'm not going to hit homers all year long like that, so I'm going to enjoy them while they come."

If he keeps up this pace — well, he won't — but if he does, he easily could earn what he's owed on a $126-million contract that runs through 2014.

Aside from their 3 2-1 start, this is the best news possible for the Jays, who couldn't afford Roy Halladay(notes) and can't really afford to pay Wells — for example — the $26.643 million he's due next season. Twenty-six million! That's, like, Derek Jeter(notes) money. A healthy, productive Vernon Wells is a tradable Vernon Wells.


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t's nice to have him around now, of course, especially when he's hitting and being funny. After slow-footed Lyle Overbay(notes) followed the tying homer with a triple, Wells dryly delivered a classic description:

"It was slow developing."

Leftist incursion: Ricky Romero and C.J. Wilson(notes) (right) dueled to a virtual draw for seven innings. Romero allowed a run and five hits with four strikeouts. Wilson, a former closer for the Rangers, allowed five hits and two walks while striking out nine.

Frasor firm: After blowing a save opportunity on opening day (boy, this could have been a sweep), Jason Frasor(notes) closed out the Rangers in the bottom of the ninth.

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They, Too, Played

Cubs 2, Braves 0: If you haven't yet referenced that the Cubs "can't go 0-162," you're late, let's hear it.

Oh, noes! After rookie Tyler Colvin(notes) hit his first major league homer, a fan in the stands at Turner Field threw the ball back on the field. Great, so Colvin gets the ball back, right? Well, a ball boy tried to make the ball a souvenir again by tossing it back into the stands, even as the Cubs dugout protested. Did not Colvin's rookie status precede him? The ball's whereabouts have not been confirmed.

"If I get it, I'll send it to my granddad and let him put it up somewhere," said Colvin, who grew up a Braves fan in North Augusta, S.C.

Randy Wells(notes) outpitched Tommy Hanson(notes). No word if anyone saved him a damn ball, either.

WDJHD?: Jason Heyward(notes) went 0-for-4 (boo) with a three-pitch strikeout against Carlos Marmol(notes).

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Twins 10, Angels 1: Are we gonna crown the Twins? Then crown 'em! They are who we thought they were! ... Three-run homer Jim Thome(notes). Nah, the White Sox couldn't use him at all.

Dodgers 10, Pirates 2: I felt sorry (a little) for Ronnie Belliard(notes) after he lost all that weight as requested and then Joe Torre awarded Blake DeWitt(notes) — who was born skinny — the second base job. You wonder, then, if Belliard stuffed himself with Primanti Bros. sandwiches after missing the cycle by a lousy single and driving in four in a spot start. Don't fall off the (chuck) wagon, Ron!

Hey, Judes: It's a little late because Passover has ended but, from (some of) my people to yours: Maholm!

Tigers 7, Royals 3: Good first outing for Dontrelle Willis(notes), and Miguel Cabrera(notes) sure knows what do with a bat in his hands, doesn't he? ... There's no need to perform heroic measures, because it's already impossible to save the Royals, but Dayton Moore needs to find some relief pitchers. Six should be plenty.

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Reds 2, Cardinals 1: A game-ending homer for Jonny Gomes(notes)? Did someone say party?

We should be grateful for Gomes, who is a little unbalanced but a lot of fun and, sometimes, a beast at the plate.

From Joe Kay's AP story:

He came up with one out in the ninth to face Jason Motte(notes). Motte ran the count to 2-2, throwing all fastballs. The homer came on yet another one, this one well above the belt.

"You're going to see that late in the game with a guy who throws hard," Gomes said. "That's power on power right there."

Gomes ended a good pitching matchup that began with Brad Penny(notes) against Bronson Arroyo(notes). Did you know Arroyo had a 2.07 ERA from July 10 forward in 2009? You'd better know, considering I just told you.

Arroyo, who allowed only a solo homer to Matt Holliday(notes), also drove in the Reds' first run with a single.

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Orioles 5, Rays 4: It's been said about Orioles closer Mike Gonzalez(notes) that he pitches like Mitch Williams, which means a lot of "excitement" in store for the O's and manager Dave Trembley.

"From what I understand and the people that I talk to, more times than not he's going to keep you on the edge of your seat," Trembley said. "It's not always pretty, but he gets it done."

Nationals 6, Phillies 5: Such a big day for the Nats, who got a key two-run homer from slugging right fielder Willie Harris(notes). Not only did they knock off the NL champs, but another team suffered embarrassment because it had a massive spelling fail on one of its jerseys. The "Natinals" can now rest in peace, and with some company.

Indians 5, White Sox 3 (11 inn): The Tribe didn't wilt after getting schooled on opening day, coming back to take a pair. I like the gumption of closer Chris Perez(notes), who is fired up after most picked the Indians to finish in or near the rear of the division.

"We want to prove them wrong," said Perez, who has saved the past two games as a substitute for injured closer Kerry Wood(notes). "Every year, every single person in the media usually is wrong."

I want that last part on a coffee mug.

Marlins 3, Mets 1: That's how Fredi Gonzalez likes it. A night after the Fish staff walks nine, it allows none behind new/old guy Nate Robertson(notes), Burke Badenhop(notes) and Leo Nunez(notes), who saved.

Athletics 6, Mariners 2: It took the A's four games to start left-hander Brett Anderson(notes), who I think is their best pitcher, and pretty clearly so.

Transaction action: The A's claimed outfielder Jai Miller(notes) off waivers from the Marlins, which is funny because they already have Rajai Davis(notes) on the 25-man roster. Jai, Rajai — the Oakland Jais. Is Billy Beane trying to turn the A's into a bunch of Jai Turkeys?

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