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Burkett is just short of hitting-futility record

Some notes and quotes about the San Francisco Giants:

His record was 13-9, but in one way the season was a hit for pitcher John Burkett. Barring a weekend pinch-hitting appearance, Burkett will finish the season with a batting average of .018 _ the result of a 1-for-55 performance. Burkett just missed the record for lowest batting average for a player with at least one hit _ the .016 recorded in 1956 by a Brooklyn pitcher named Roger Craig. Since a double in his eighth at-bat of the year, Burkett settled into a comfy 0-for-47 slump.

Third baseman Matt Williams said the disappointment of this season (.230, 20 homers, 66 RBI going into the weekend) will be a motivating factor this winter. "A year like this would make anyone hungrier," Williams said. "By no means last winter did I coast, but now I'm going to work as hard as I can to be the best player I can be."

Closer Rod Beck, one of the season's bright spots, went into the weekend having given up just one earned run in his last 23 innings.

The Giants went into play Friday with a record of 19-32 since the Tampa Bay purchase offer was announced.

Jeff Brantley, making his fourth start, ran his scoreless-innings streak to 20 by pitching 5 innings Wednesday and striking out eight. "He might be that David Cone or Greg Maddux we've been looking for," Craig said. "You go out and look for a horse, and he might be right here."

Craig said that if it is up to him, NL ERA leader Bill Swift will definitely be in the bullpen next season.

The Giants received minor-league outfielder Rob Katzaroff from the Mets to complete the trade for Kevin Bass. Katzaroff, a third-year pro out of UCLA, won the 1990 New York/Penn League batting title with a .364 average. This past season he hit .282 in 119 games for Double-A Williamsport, with 23 stolen bases.

_ MARC TOPKIN

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