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Portland Beavers

by: , RODRIGUEZ

Next: Portland (7-10) continues a four-game series at Las Vegas through Sunday. The Beavers then return to PGE Park to play four games each against Oklahoma, starting 7 p.m. Monday, and New Orleans.

• Salt Lake left Portland after Tuesday's rainout with a 17-1 record, the Pacific Coast League's best-ever start. The lone loss came April 11, 11-9, to the Bevos, who had 17 hits that night. The Bees rank first in the PCL in hitting and defense and second in pitching.

'I've never seen any team start 17-1,' Portland manager Randy Ready says. 'The (parent) Angels have to be excited about what they've got invested over there.'

• The Bevos' pitching staff ranks 12th (5.70 ERA) in the 16-team PCL. Starters have all seven wins, and closer Jared Wells only has one save.

'We just haven't had the right combination yet,' Ready says. 'We get a good pitching start, and can't hold it. Our starters give up runs early, and it's tough for our offense playing from behind.

'We're not hitting on all cylinders. We still have guys getting their feet wet (in Triple-A), and you'll start seeing better baseball when the game starts slowing down for them.'

• Infielder Luis Rodriguez, 27 and a 12th-year pro, was third in the PCL in hitting (.426) entering Thursday.

'Concentration,' Rodriguez says of his hot start. The Venezuelan speaks English, just not fluently.

He had a 12-game hitting streak snapped Monday and 'he hit a couple balls on the screws' in that game, Ready says. 'I thought about moving him up in the order, but I didn't want to take him out of his comfort zone.'

Rodriguez, who played 206 games with Minnesota from 2005-07, has been playing mostly shortstop after playing mostly second base and third in the past.

'I don't know if that's where they need me or not. It's where they put me,' he says.

Rodriguez, Oscar Robles, Craig Stansberry and Edgar Gonzalez were victims of numbers with parent San Diego, which opted to keep Rule IV player Callix Crabbe as their utility infielder (a Rule IV player must stay on the big-league roster or be returned to his previous team).

'They're insurance policies,' Ready says, of his four veteran utility players. 'Oscar and Luis might be the first two infielders to go up, because of their major league experience.'

• Veteran pitcher Shawn Estes has a buyout clause in his contract that he can execute May 15, if he hasn't been called up to the Padres. Estes' wife, Heather, graduated from Lincoln High, and he has relatives in the Portland area. He went to high school in Minden, Nev.

- Jason Vondersmith