A Giant Step for Merkin 

Wow. I opened my BAPR e-mail this morning to find that Merkin Valdez made his triple-A debut last night. That means he has jumped from low single A to AAA in the span of what, less than a month?

The outing was inauspicious: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 BB, 5 K and 4 ER. But it's a sign that the Giants want to push him hard, and if he responds to this jump, he could be the alternative to making a trade for a starter before the July 31 deadline. Or he could be the trade bait, and this is the big showcase. I'd love to see him called up in late July and become this year's Francisco Rodriguez, i.e., the phenom that turns the pennant race upside down.


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