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Valentine: Steals not a concern

Published Sep. 27, 2005

Opponents are stealing on Mets catcher Mike Piazza, but manager Bobby Valentine says he isn't worried.

Arizona had seven steals against New York on Friday.

"I don't totally want to negate the stolen base, but it is probably the most overrated statistic in my mind," Valentine said.

Piazza, who allowed an NL-high 115 stolen bases last season while catching only 30 runners, has thrown out five of 40 this season.

"Obviously I'm not going to throw everybody out, but I think I rushed some throws," Piazza said. "I have to stay composed and not feel like I can make up for a good jump."

While Piazza is still struggling at times _ one throw to second on Friday hit the mound _ Valentine said the pitchers deserve some blame.

"I think Mike is throwing fine," he said. "All he can do is throw it on the money. The pitchers have to help out. Our pitchers are in between a mode of getting the hitter out and holding runners on."

BRAVES: Second baseman Quilvio Veras (sore knee) is doubtful.

BREWERS: Davey Lopes' gamble paid off in Friday's 11-10 win over the Giants. In the 10th inning, James Mouton pinch ran for starting catcher Henry Blanco, who led off with a walk. Backup catcher Tyler Houston went on the disabled list before the game and his backup, Raul Casanova, arrived from Triple-A Indianapolis during the late innings. Mouton stole second, was sacrificed to third and scored on a sacrifice fly. "I don't see that as a gamble. It was an extra-inning ballgame, and when you get an opportunity to win the ballgame, you try to win the ballgame," Lopes said.

DIAMONDBACKS: Tony Womack singled in the sixth to tie his career high with a 16-game hitting streak. Outfielder Steve Finley was scratched after being hit on the right elbow by a pitch Friday. Travis Lee got his first career start in centerfield and made a two-base error in the seventh.

TWINS: Eric Milton, who allowed 18 earned runs in three outings before blanking the Athletics: "I'm capable of pitching like that every time out. I can do it. I just forgot the last couple times."