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If the Yankees make a trade this season, it's most likely to be one that doesn't require the use of important chips such as catchers Jesus Montero and Austin Romine.

Instead, the biggest piece could be Scranton / Wilkes-Barre shortstop Eduardo Nuñez, who turns 23 Tuesday and has displayed a high ceiling, while heeding the spring-training lessons from Derek Jeter.

"He's certainly making a name for himself," Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "He can do everything. Run, hit and hit for power. The guy has a chance to be an everyday player in the big leagues."

In a telephone interview last week, Nuñez - who brought a .351 on-base percentage and .388 slugging percentage into last night - spoke of how much he enjoyed the time he spent with Jeter in Florida.

"We have a good relationship," Nuñez said. "He talked to me a lot. He told me about the importance of concentrating on every pitch when you're in the field."

The presence of Jeter, very likely to re-up with the Yankees this coming winter, makes Nuñez dispensable. The youngster understands that. "It's all good for me," Nuñez said. "If I keep playing hard, something will happen."

Agent Tom O'Connell, the Long Island native who represents Nuñez, said: "Eduardo is a very talented player with a tremendous work ethic."

Strasburg's big picture

Washington's Stephen Strasburg, who will make his second big-league start Sunday, appears to wish this was 1960, and he could pitch all day without being restricted.

Yet his agent Scott Boras, who attended Strasburg's spectacular debut Tuesday, agrees with Washington management that the 21-year-old must proceed deliberately. The plan calls for him to pitch between 100 and 110 innings in the major leagues.

Boras represented lefthander Steve Avery, who shined with the Braves in the early 1990s. From 1991 through 1993, the seasons in which he turned 21, 22 and 23, he pitched 2101/3 innings, then 2332/3 and then 2231/3. He never again surpassed the 200 mark.

"I told Steve, 'Now that we have this information, we can make sure we utilize it,' " Boras said. "We want these performers to be elite as long as they can."

Family feud

The tensions between White Sox general manager Kenny Williams and manager Ozzie Guillen have escalated to unmanageable, a person familiar with the situation confirmed, and one of the season's most disappointing teams has a real mess on its hands.

Williams hired Guillen to replace the fired Jerry Manuel following the 2003 season, and together they won the 2005 World Series. Lately, though, the two men have battled over myriad topics. Most recently, Guillen became extremely upset that Williams didn't draft the manager's son, Ozney, until the 22nd round of the amateur draft.

Williams' concern is that owner Jerry Reinsdorf continually supports Guillen. If Williams leaves, he'll get a GM job somewhere else. Guillen? Based on his behavior of the past year, he might not get another chance. So he has extra incentive to turn the disappointing White Sox back around.

Draft notices

As per Major League Baseball, 797 pitchers went in the draft, compared with 765 last year. Teams selected 796 players from four-year colleges, 498 from high schools and 225 from junior colleges.

The most popular college? Auburn, which had 11 players drafted. California produced more players than any other state, with 278, followed by Florida (163), Texas (152), Georgia (72), Arizona and North Carolina (with 48 each).

Question of the week

In light of the report here last week that MLB had added golden parachutes into its collective-bargaining agreement with umpires, Bob Buscavage of Moriches pondered, "If Joe West was offered a golden parachute, I wonder if he would take longer than a Yankees-Red Sox game to decide."

Pop quiz

Well-known Red Sox fan Ben Affleck says he was one of thousands of extras in a scene filmed at Fenway Park - for what well-known baseball film?


Possible trade suitors for Cliff Lee

Reds. They could use him, they have a decent farm system and their fan base is starving for a playoff berth.

Braves. They are in win-now mode, as Bobby Cox winds up his Hall of Fame career, and they need another starter.

Mets. At the least, they'll be very engaged, to monitor the Mariners' asking price.

Possible free-agent suitors for Lee

Yankees. They seem the prohibitive favorites.

Mariners. Why not? The Mariners aren't a long-term rebuilding club.

Nationals. The Nats were willing to spend huge on Mark Teixeira, and how about Lee as Stephen Strasburg's running mate?

Debut of the week: There were a few notables (Mike Stanton, Carlos Santana), but no one eclipsed Stephen Strasburg's performance in Washington on Tuesday night.

Quietest gem of the week: Jon Niese's one-hitter against San Diego didn't generate Strasburg-esque heat, and came on the same day that Johan Santana lost.

Quote of the week: "What job has he had in baseball besides talking on television and radio? What has he done? Why isn't he a farm director and bring some kids around? Why isn't he a general manager or put the uniform on and been a pitching coach? Why hasn't he been a field manager? There are 30 teams out there that could use a guy's expertise like that."

- Cubs manager Lou Piniella, who unleashed a classic rant against White Sox broadcaster Steve Stone

Pop quiz answer

"Field of Dreams." Thanks to Jeff Korn of Patchogue for the suggestion.

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