Down on the Farm, April 18

A bout of the flu cost Xavier Paul a chance to make a big leap this spring. Now he's making opposing pitchers sick. Paul, who won an award from the <b>Baby Blue</b> publication as the organization's Rookie of the Year for his strong performance at Ogden last year, had been considered likely to start in high A at Vero Beach this season but he was bedridden for several days at the time camp broke so the decision was made to place him at low A Columbus.

There he started slowly but he's healthy now as he banged out two hits for the third day in a row raising his average near .300 in leading the Catfish past Augusta (Red Sox) 5-2 Sunday. He had plenty of help in the attack as Alejandro De Aza had three hits while Chin-Lung Hu, Matt Kemp and Dom Laurin each had two as Columbus (6-4) swept the series by winning its fourth in a row.

Chuck Tiffany had a satisfactory first start, working four innings, scattering six hits for two runs. Mike Rodriguez came on for three hitless frames to earn his first victory. Jamaal Hamilton pitched a hitless ninth for save no. 1.

It was much more the Edwin Jackson that the Dodgers have been expecting for Las Vegas as he threw six innings of six-hit, two-run ball in a 7-2 triumph over Portland (Padres). Jackson, now 2-1, struck out three. A bases-loaded triple by Antonio Perez keyed the attack. Both Shane Victorino and Luis Garcia had two hits.

It was the third win in a row for the 51's, now 5-6.

However, poor relief pitching did in both Jacksonville and Vero Beach. The Suns lost for only the second time this season as West Tennessee (Cubs) came back after starter Derek Thompson had held them to just one run in five innings. But three relievers couldn't stop the Diamond Jaxx who won on an unearned run off Franquelis Osoria (0-1) in the ninth.

Some strong hitting was thus wasted for Derek Michaelis had a triple and two singles, Brennan King, a double and two singles and Wilkin Ruan, a double and single.

The Palm Beach Cardinals jumped on Mauricio Tequida (0-1) for four runs in the last two innings to pull past Vero Beach, 8-5. With two hits, Alex Requena raised his batting average to .410 for the Dodgers. He also stole three bases and now has six on the season. Russell Martin slammed his second home run.

Injury Update--Rodney Van Buizen came off the disabled list at Vero Beach and replaced Russell Mitchell at third base. Van Buizen is expected to leave later in the season to join the Australian Olympic team.