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CBSSports.com Senior Writer

Weekend Buzz: Phenoms arrive; happy days for the Dodgers


The Dodgers are off to a great start and will finally see their new ownership group take over. (US Presswire)  
The Dodgers are off to a great start and will finally see their new ownership group take over. (US Presswire)  

LOS ANGELES -- The Weekend Buzz while you were seeking shelter from the NFL draft. ...

1. Youth not wasted on these young: The major league season is squeezed into a calendar of roughly 180 days. So out of all those, the game's runaway two best prospects were summoned to the majors on the exact same day, Saturday.

Who's concocting this stuff? John Grisham?

Bryce Harper, 19, debuted in the Nationals' lineup with a booming double and a beautiful laser throw from left field while he was still supposed to be learning the game at Triple-A Syracuse, and he's 2 for 6 (.333) in his first two games.

Mike Trout, 20, led off for the Angels a couple of days after manager Mike Scioscia said the phenom would not be called up. He's 0 for 7 so far.

"That is pretty crazy," says another former first-round pick, Nationals' third baseman Ryan Zimmerman (2005). "Trout played a little last year, but talk about two guys who can be pretty good players for a long, long time.

"You don't get to see that too often. It's fun. It's good for the game."

The buzz at Dodger Stadium for Harper's debut Saturday night was playoff-worthy. Sellout crowd, into it every pitch, booing Harper's every plate appearance. That it was right on the outskirts of Hollywood was perfect.

Hey, 19?

"I was a freshman in college, trying to figure out how to make it to class," says Nationals utility man Xavier Nady, who went to Cal.

"I was hitting .175 at Double-A," says shortstop Ian Desmond, who also was stuck with his roommate -- Zimmerman -- sleeping on his sofa.

Trout last year played in 40 games for the Angels, batting .220 with five home runs. Even at that, the starting pitcher he faced Sunday, Cleveland's Derek Lowe, was drafted by Seattle two months before Trout was even born in August, 1991.

While Harper (2 for 6, .333, in his first two games) is said by the Nationals to be here temporarily, for just a couple of weeks until Zimmerman (shoulder) returns from the disabled list, the Angels are looking for a spark from Trout (0 for 7 in his first two). Center fielder Peter Bourjos was hitting just .178 with a .245 on-base percentage, and Angels leadoff hitters this season rank last in the American League in OBP (.250) and 13th in average (.195).

Whether or not these moves are quick fixes or turn out to become permanent, both Harper and Trout have one thing going for them now that they didn't last week in Syracuse and Salt Lake: A foot in the door.

"My attitude with Bryce is, when you're in the big leagues, you control your own fate," says Harper's agent, Scott Boras, in a thought that covers both of these kids. "If you're here, you're doing something others can't do.

"If he performs at a high level, I don't think anybody's going to take it away from him."

2. Eye of the Misbehaving Tiger: Delmon Young's out-of-control drunkenness the other night, during which he allegedly hurled an anti-Jewish slur and physically assaulted a man, was despicable enough on its own. But when paired up with other incidents in his career, discussed here by colleague Jon Heyman, and when measured against what little the Tigers apparently intend to do with him, discussed here by colleague Danny Knobler, the situation becomes even more disgusting. Before this guy is allowed to play again, he should be required to complete a three-week study at this place.

3. Hot Dodgers, sold Dodgers? If you're a Dodgers fan, which is the better news: That, at 16-6, they're off to their best 22-game start since Fernando Valenzuela's salad days of 1981? (Did the affable and great Fernando do salads, by the way?) Or that Monday is the anticipated transfer of the club from Frank McCourt to the group fronted by Magic Johnson? I'll accept both answers. Talks between the two sides and their lawyers finalizing the sale continued through the weekend, according to sources, and are expected to finish Monday. Look for a Tuesday press conference/public unveiling of the new Dodgers ownership group.

4. Hot Dodgers, Part II: The sensational Matt Kemp, whose home run Saturday night lifted the Dodgers past the Nationals, has six home runs in his past 26 home at-bats -- while the Cubs have seven total homers this season (per STATS LLC). Kemp leads the majors with a .425 batting average and 11 homers. And entering Sunday's game, his .346 lifetime April batting average ranked as the 10th highest in major-league history in a list ranging from No. 1 Rogers Hornsby (.387) and 2 Ty Cobb (.369) to No. 9 Tony Gwynn (.347), also according to STATS LLC.

5. Buck Showalter, geologist: The Orioles' win Sunday over Oakland moved the Birds to six games over .500 (14-8) for the first time since July of 2005. Not only that, Taiwanese lefty Wei-Yin Chen has been one of the finds of the year. He's 2-0 with a 2.22 ERA. "It beats the alternative," manager Buck Showalter told reporters following Wilson Betemit's game-ending homer Sunday. "It's like the right side of the earth."

6. Did they seize the Pfister Hotel, too? Though St. Louis dropped Sunday's series finale to Milwaukee, the Cardinals, first in the NL Central, have beaten the Brewers in four of six games this season and in 13 of the past 18 games between the two clubs, including last October's NL Championship Series.

7. Tour De Rockies: Colorado lost starter Jeremy Guthrie to the disabled list when he sprained his pitching shoulder in a bicycle accident while pedaling to Coors Field. Guthrie, an avid cyclist who has pedaled to and from whichever is his home park for years, took a hard spill when his chain broke. "I think a part had a malfunction but I have always been pleased with my Cannondale bikes," he tweeted (@JGuthrie46). So who wears the yellow shirt now for the Rockies pitching staff, Jamie Moyer?

8. Ryan Howard cleared for baseball activities: The Phillies slugger can scratch himself and spit, but he's still a little ways away from running the bases.

9. Hey Albert Pujols, check the schedule: The Angels' $246 Million Man remains stuck on zero in the home run department through 22 games and 88 at-bats (even Seattle's Chone Figgins has two homers), and he's fast approaching the longest homerless streak of his career -- 105 at-bats last April and May. But things are looking up: No AL pitching staff has surrendered more homers than the Twins (32) and Blue Jays (33). And guess who drops by Angel Stadium this week? Yep, Minnesota (Monday-Wednesday) and Toronto (Thursday-Sunday).

10. Where have you gone, Andre Thornton? Cleveland's homerless streak now stands at 11 games, the longest drought for the Indians since April, 1983. Not since Carlos Santana deposited one over the fence in Seattle on April 17 have the Indians gone deep. They're 6-5 during that span.


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