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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Rest for Slumping Van Slyke

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania -- Andy Van Slyke, a three-time All-Star in the worst slump of his Pittsburgh Pirates career, is taking two days off in hopes of getting his batting stroke back. Van Slyke, voted as a National League starter in the last two All-Star games, did not start Monday's game against San Francisco, nor will he start Tuesday against the Giants, manager Jim Leyland said. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter in his only at-bat in the Pirates' 4-3 loss Monday. Van Slyke, 33, has been in a slump since his 8-for-9 doubleheader May 8 against Chicago jumped his average to .283. He is hitting .148 in 22 games since May 13 and two hitless streaks of more than 20 at-bats have lowered his average to .228. The five-time Golden Glove center fielder has just 16 RBIs in 202 at-bats despite hitting third in the order in 51 of the Pirates' first 53 games. Leyland emphasized he wasn't benching Van Slyke and he has contemplated for more that a week how to get Van Slyke untracked. "I don't want to pick up the newspaper and read the headline 'Van Slyke Being Benched,'" Leyland said. "He's going to get a rest and get away from it for a couple of days." However, Leyland doesn't anticipate moving Van Slyke down in the batting order once he returns to the lineup Wednesday. Leyland said he had a long talk with Van Slyke, who agreed a couple of days' rest wasn't a bad idea. "Face it, I'm not helping the team win games and I'm a big reason we're not winning," Van Slyke said. "If I'm hitting, we're right there." n Chicago White Sox right-hander Jason Bere, 15-1 since last August, was a 36th-round draft choice in 1990 out of Middlesex Community College in Burlington, Massachusetts. Credit scout Guy Mader with finding him and give Dewey Robinson, now the White Sox's bullpen coach and formerly the organization's minor-league pitching instructor, a chunk of the credit for drawing his potential out of him. More than just a hard thrower, Bere is a pitcher. "He has a very sneaky fastball, a curveball he throws on any count, and a good changeup," said Baltimore Orioles Manager Johnny Oates. n In a season when Ken Griffey, Junior's home run pace has been compared to that of Roger Maris in 1961 and he has underscored his status as baseball's best player, Griffey has found frustration intruding on his fun. He is 24, younger than either of 1993's rookies of the year, Mike Piazza and Tim Salmon, but it is easy to forget he is in his sixth year with a Seattle Mariners team that is 62 games under .500 during that span. "The fun is in the winning and we're not -- again -- so it isn't as much fun," said Griffey, who leads the league with 22 home runs. He was sitting in the leather lounger that serves as his private clubhouse chair in the Kingdome, but he had stood up one other day, questioning his team's heart and the future of the Mariners in Seattle, as well as his own future with the Mariners. The losing, he said, had begun to kill him. It was too easy, he said, for some players to roll over and quit. The headlines rocked Seattle. The implication was that Griffey wanted out, had asked to be traded. The Mariners doused the firestorm. "Hell would have to freeze over before I traded Ken Griffey," General Manager Woody Woodward said. Manager Lou Piniella said: "You don't trade the most talented and marketable player in the game." (AP, LAT, Baltimore Sun)