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Portland Beavers

Next: The Bevos, returning home from Colorado Springs, open a three-game series with Las Vegas at 7 tonight, with fireworks lighting up PGE Park and neighboring streets after the game.

Observations: Manager Craig Colbert watched enough of Oregon State's College World Series run to proclaim that outfielder Cole Gillespie and pitcher Jonah Nickerson would be good pros. 'He knows what he's doing,' Colbert says of Nickerson. 'You can see it.' Gillespie 'has a good approach at the plate,' Colbert adds, but making the moves to pro baseball 'is a whole new ballgame. … Hitters see harder pitching and wooden bats. Pitchers won't throw 140 pitches; you're always concerned about guys breaking down.' Reliever Kevin Gunderson would never throw 5 1/3 innings one day and an inning the next in the pros, Colbert says.

Colbert, a former catcher with the San Francisco Giants, played on the same Triple-A team at Phoenix in the early 1990s as Gunderson's uncle, former pitcher Eric Gunderson.

Young talent: The Beavers have predominantly veteran players, with a few prospects dotting the lineup - such as pitchers Jared Wells and Cesar Carrillo; outfielder Ben Johnson; and infielder-outfielder Paul McAnulty. Contrast that with Salt Lake City, Tucson and Tacoma, who have multiple prospects and good ones.

'It's unbelievable,' Colbert says. 'But it comes in cycles - it's hard for a system to sustain that talent level coming through.'

Three prospects who have caught Colbert's eye are Tacoma's Adam Jones ('reminds me of Eric Davis'), Salt Lake's Howie Kendrick (.386 average) and Tucson shortstop Stephen Drew (J.D. Drew's brother).

Notes: Jon Knott went 4 for 5 with a homer (giving him 17) and three RBIs on Sunday, continuing his hot streak. He had two triples and a homer and five RBIs last Friday. … Knott's 17 homers and 59 RBIs place him near the top of the Pacific Coast League; he's having another good year for the Bevos, but the Padres have still not placed him on the 40-man roster. … The Bevos went 11-18 in June, with a 5.06 team ERA. McAnulty batted .366 in June.

Portland's starting rotation seems to be getting back to normal with the optioning of Mike Thompson from the parent Padres and the activation of Eric Junge from the disabled list. John Hudgins, acquired in the Freddy Guzman trade, started Sunday's game, going five innings and giving up seven hits and four runs (two earned). Wells was to start Monday, followed by Ryan Meaux today and Roger Deago on Wednesday. … Reliever Cla Meredith had a 3-0 record and 1.39 ERA in Portland, allowing only five earned runs in 32 1/3 innings, before his promotion to San Diego.