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Originally published Tuesday, June 19, 2012 at 7:00 PM

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Blue Jays' draft pick really puts the 'short' in shortstop | Sideline Chatter

Good luck finding the strike zone on this diminutive infielder.

The Seattle Times

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Freddie Patek lives!

The Toronto Blue Jays' 19th-round draft pick — and now a member of the Class A Vancouver Canadians — is 5-foot-5 shortstop Jorge Flores. No big deal, says Canadians manager Clayton McCullough.

"The good thing about baseball is that it's played on the ground," McCullough told The Vancouver Sun. "If this was the NBA, maybe I would be worried. Or if he was playing first base. ...

"He has the hands and enough arm to stay at shortstop. I haven't even thought about his size. If our catchers are airmailing balls to second base, then we're not getting people out anyway."

Better stick the landing

Commissioner David Stern says the NBA is looking into ways to crack down on the league's flagrant floppers.

Possible penalties include a fine, suspension, red card and, depending on degree of difficulty, a 5.7 from the French judge.

Headlines

• At TheOnion.com: "NASCAR to discontinue having kids rush onto track to wipe up skid marks during races."

• At SportsPickle.com: "R.A. Dickey caught on mound with Wiffle ball."

Bowie, Oden, ...

NBA doctors have red-flagged Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger because of back issues, multiple sources told ESPN.com. In other words, "With the sixth pick in the 2012 NBA draft, the Portland Trail Blazers select ... "

That's the spirit

The Skirvin Hilton hotel in Oklahoma City — used by some visiting NBA teams — is supposedly haunted.

"The ghosts ain't knocked on my door," the Heat's Udonis Haslem told The Associated Press, "so we're cool."

Braking a losing skid

NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally ended his four-year Sprint Cup victory drought on Sunday.

In lieu of a racing suit, he drove in a Cubs jersey.

Talking the talk

• Greg Cote of The Miami Herald, after French Open champ Rafael Nadal reported a $347,000 watch stolen from his Paris hotel room: "If I'm spending $347,000 for a watch, it had better be able to turn back the hands of time."

• R.J. Currie of SportsDeke.com, on the $11 cost of a beer at the London Olympics: "They're charging more per head than the New Orleans Saints."

• Marty Burtwell, via Facebook, with a suggested nickname for Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey after his back-to-back one-hitters: "Johnny Vander Near."

• CBS/Golf Channel analyst David Feherty, describing an errant tee shot: "That ball is so far left, Lassie couldn't find it if it was wrapped in bacon."

Prune that jury pool

Jury selection is under way for the trial of the Alabama football fan accused of poisoning the oaks at rival Auburn's Toomer's Corner.

Defense lawyers, taking no chances, have already invoked pre-emptory challenges on Warren Sapp, Ryan Leaf and the Stanford Tree.

Dwight Perry: 206-464-8250 or dperry@seattletimes.com

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