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Sunday reading: The Dodgers, Alex Rodriguez, Howard Johnson and Stephen Strasburg

My Sunday Insider features thoughts on the Dodgers, the Mets and the Pirates. In an item I couldn't fit here, I asked Dodgers general manager  Ned Colletti if, in his mind, finances would not be a consideration in who would manage the team next year.

"Yeah," Colletti said. "You’d have to ask Joe for his perspective."

It still seems a slam-dunk that Joe Torre will not be managing the Dodgers next season.

--At the Yankees game, Mark Herrmann wrote that the Yankees will be all right with Alex Rodriguez on the disabled list. One reason why that's the case: A-Rod is having his worst, full major-league season.

As for Javier Vazquez, 1) He'd have to rank fifth on the Yankees' starting rotation depth chart at the moment, which would relegate him to long relief if the playoffs started today, if not the old "We're going to send him to Tampa to try to get him straightened out for the second round" deal; and 2) Unless he really rallies in these final six weeks, I don't see how the Yankees can offer him arbitration this coming winter, when he's a free agent. He'd be sure to accept it.

--Chad Gaudin pitched well in relief of Vazquez, but that probably won't make too many Yankees fans (or the Yankees themselves, for that matter) feel better.

--Eduardo Nunez picked up his first major-league hit and RBI.

--John Jeannsone wrote about Roger Clemens, and I was intrigued by the final paragraph - a quote from a law professor: "We either learn, or are reminded, that being under oath means something."

Now, let's take that in a different direction: Let's say Clemens beats the charges, hardly an outrageous possibility. Doesn't that mean that he gains points for going up there, putting it all on the line and coming out on top? Call me a contrarian, but two and a half years later, I still think Clemens deserves some credit for calling our bluffs - "Hey, Roger, if you're really telling the truth, then go and say it in front of Congress" - and putting everything on the line.

Again: Why are so many of us outraged by his actions? It's not like our livelihoods or personal safety are impacted by them.

--The Mets have hit well in two straight games following an out-of-character hitters' meeting called by Howard Johnson. A cynic might point out that HoJo picked a good time to call such a meeting, given the Mets' opponent this weekend. But in light of Jerry Manuel's "pathetic" comment Thursday night, it probably made some sense, anyway.

--Jonathon Niese has some innings limits coming up, and Manuel should of course have zero say on this one. Jeff Wilpon has to step in and decide, one way or the other. But I also don't understand where pitching coach Dan Warthen is coming up with his numbers. Niese pitched a total of 178 innings in 2008, so there shouldn't be much cause for concern with Niese at 144 and another seven or so turns coming up in the starting rotation.

--Stephen Strasburg suffered his second injury scare of the season, and we'll have to wait to see how serious this one is. It's just hard to throw a baseball brilliantly and stay healthy.

--The great Vin Scully will make an announcement today concerning his professional future, according to T.J. Simers of the Los Angeles Times. Simers seems to think that Scully might very well broadcast Dodgers home games only in the 2011 season. I'd bet that Dodgers fans - and subscribers everywhere to the MLB Package - would be very pleased with such an arrangement.

--Very cool record: Matt Stairs passed Cliff Johnson for most pinch-hit home runs.

--And with that, I'm outta here for a week. Vacation. Super-secret location, the whole thing. This has been a very busy summer, and for that, I'm grateful. But I feel more fried than Colonel Sanders' chicken. I feel more fried than worms in a book for fifth-graders. I feel more fried than rice at a Chinese restaurant.

So this'll be one of those non-blogging vacations, I anticipate. Although I might drop by Twitter, if I come up with a thought on what the Yankees' and Mets' season-ending records might be.

But before I fully check out, I'll be on "Sports Extra" at 10:30 tonight on Fox 5 in New York, with host Adam Zucker.

Have a wonderful week. See you on August 30.

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