21 Aug

the frontrunner

Lots of games left, of course, but Fred Lewis, the former Stone County High and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College star, may have moved to the front of the pack in the competition for the second Cool Papa Bell Award. Lewis, found wanting in San Francisco after a poor 2009 season, has blossomed as Toronto’s leadoff batter. He’s hitting .275 with 31 doubles and eight home runs for a team that might yet make a playoff run. Hot on Lewis’ heels is Texas lefty Cliff Lee, the Meridian CC product who is 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA for the playoff-bound Rangers. Edge goes to the position player.
P.S. Former Jackson General Billy Wagner has tied former JaxMet Jesse Orosco for No. 1 on the all-time strikeouts list for lefty relievers with 1,169. … If the New York Mets make a managerial change in the off-season — a pretty safe bet — a strong candidate might be former Jackson Mets infielder Wally Backman. The feisty Backman is currently managing the Mets’ short-season Class A Brooklyn club. He’d be a good fit in Queens. … Former Mississippi State standout Mitch Moreland is showing some staying power with the Rangers. The lefty-hitting first baseman belted his third home run Friday night and is batting .292 since Texas called him up a couple weeks back; he might make the postseason roster.

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