Dan Schlossberg's Weekend Notebook • Latino Sports

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Dan Schlossberg’s Weekend Notebook

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Now that the All-Star Game is history, baseball is looking ahead to the July 31 deadline for non-waiver trades.

Contenders always try to bulk up for the stretch drive, while also-rans try to shed high-priced veterans — especially those who can be free agents in the fall.

That means players like Brian McCann and Paul Maholm (Braves), Matt Garza

A no-hitter and a trade in the same season for Tim Lincecum?

A no-hitter and a trade in the same season for Tim Lincecum?

(Cubs), and Tim Lincecum (Giants) might be moving on over the next few weeks.

Looking at the standings, buyers figure to include everyone but Toronto in the AL East; Detroit and Cleveland in the AL Central; and both Oakland and Texas in the AL West.

National League contenders seeking a midseason boost are everyone but San Diego in the West, all but the Mets and Marlins in the East, and the three top teams of the Central: St. Louis, Cincinnati, and the surprising Pittsburgh Pirates.

Two surprises among the sellers are the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Toronto Blue Jays. Both stocked themselves with veteran talent during the last off-season but never got started once the gates opened in April. Even an 11-game winning streak couldn’t thrust the Blue Jays into contention.

Trades are still permitted in August but only after waivers are secured from other clubs. Teams sometimes claim players to block them from moving to rivals.

Whatever happens, the next few weeks figure to be a lot more interesting than the lackluster, hitting-deprived All-Star Game.

Other thoughts as the second half starts:

The current issue of Sports Illustrated predicts the Atlanta Braves will lead the majors with 101 wins and win the NL East by 15 games . . .

Even before the second half starts, the Yankees took a hit when Derek Jeter went back on the 15-day disabled list with a quad strain. The team needs to face the fact that the 39-year-old captain is getting more fragile as he ages . . .

There’s not much of a Rookie of the Year race in the American League but the National League has a trio of contenders in Evan Gattis (Braves), Shelby Miller (Cardinals), and Yasiel Puig (Dodgers) . . .

Puig will be challenged for NL rookie honors by Gattis and Miller

Puig will be challenged for NL rookie honors by Gattis and Miller

Ike Davis (Mets) is on a short leash now that his hitting has fallen off again . . .

Bryce Harper (Nationals) was the youngest National League starter in All-Star history . . .

Still wondering how American League manager Jim Leyland, plagued by bullpen problems, could ignore Baltimore closer Jim J0hnson (best-in-majors 32 saves) in filling out his pitching staff . . .

General managers Jerry DiPoto (Angels) and Dave Dombrowski (Tigers) and long-time Arizona executive Roland Hemond are members of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) . . .

Could catchers win batting crowns in both leagues for the first time in baseball history? Yadier Molina (Cardinals) leads the NL at .341 while Joe Mauer (Twins)  ranks third in the Junior Circuit at .320. The latter could catch Mike Trout (Angels) but will have a daunting task if he hopes to approach front-runner Miguel Cabrera (Tigers) and his best-in-baseball .365 . . .

Yadier Molina would be a surprise batting champion

Yadier Molina would be a surprise batting champion

Jacoby Ellsbury, leading the majors with 36 stolen bases and serving as a great leadoff guy for the first-place Red Sox, should have been an All-Star . . .

Chris Wheeler (Phillies) is a great example of a one-time PR man making a smooth transition to the broadcast booth . . .

Two-time All-Star Game MVP Steve Garvey is recovered now from a nasty bout with prostate cancer. He’s become a celebrity spokesman for prostate cancer prevention, urging all men to get their PSAs checked as often as women are checked for breast cancer . . .

It’s funny to read about Alex Rodriguez (Yankees) and Melky Cabrera (Blue Jays) being on rehab. Just wondering whether it is for baseball-related injuries or something else.

MLB has come to Cuban television for the first time in a half-century. With all the Cuban expatriates starring in the big leagues, all we can say is, “It’s about time.”

About Dan Schlossberg

Former AP sportswriter Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ has produced 35 baseball books, including autobiographies of Ron Blomberg, Al Clark, and Milo Hamilton. Also a broadcaster, he is the host and executive producer of Braves Banter and Travel Itch Radio and a contributor to Sirius XM.

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