As long as the Mets continue to insist Lasting Milledge (0 for 5 in Norfolk’s 5-2 win over Richmond Sunday) isn’t going anywhere, their hopes for a veteran arm to take the 4th or 5th spot in the starting rotation probably won’t revolve around past Cy Young Award winners. Arizona, however, might have the requisite chips to play with, writes the East Valley Tribune’s Jack Magruder “And Loud”.

The Diamondbacks scouted Dontrelle Willis™ start against Atlanta last Tuesday and certainly would find the Marlins pitcher attractive as another young building block for the rotation, sources said Monday.

But the sources also were firm that there have been no trade discussions between the teams.

Florida owner Jeffrey Loria has said since the season began that Willis and Miguel Cabrera will not be traded.

Of course, things can change. Loria told Carlos Delgado last year he would not be traded, but Delgado was sent to the New York Mets in the offseason.

œIt hasn™t gotten to the point of, ˜This is what it would take,™ ™™ a source said, although another added œof all the scenarios, Arizona seems to be the most viable™™ because of its wealth of minor league talent.

The D-Backs™ minor league system is considered among the best in baseball, with hitting prospects such as Stephen Drew (above), Carlos Quentin, Chris Young, Chris Carter and Scott Hairston in Triple-A Tucson alone.

With Rob Bowen coming off the DL, Padres manager Bruce Bochy is actually discussing the possibility of Mike Piazza playing a game or two at first base. Apparently, they were too busy playing night games in San Diego a couple of years ago to catch the footage of Piazza’s Dick Stuart impersonations on “Baseball Tonight”.

In addition to reporting the Dodgers are suing an insurance company to recover a big chunk of Paul Shuey’s salary, the LA Times’ Bill Shaikin writes that reliever Eric Gagne should begin a rehab assignment with the PCL’s Las Vegas 51’s this weekend. The 51’s traveled are in CSTB’s ‘hood this week, and proceeded to tee off on recently demoted Astros P Esquivel Astascio, clobbering the Round Rock Express 12-3 on Monday, with Vegas C Edwin Bellorin hitting a pair of homers.

The Angels have called up 1B Kendry Morales, the 22 year old Cuban defector whom this correspondent was lucky enough to catch in his California League debut less than a year ago. Morales, who’d been hitting .318 with 5 HR’s and 29 RBI’s for the PCL’s Salt Lake Bees, will become the 7th Angels first baseman so far in ’06, writes the LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanna. The Oklahoma Redhawks probably wish said move had come a few days earlier, after Morales had gone 9 for 16 against them last weeken.

The junior portion of the Angels’ Wevie Stonder brothers, Jered Weaver, tossed a complete game shutout last night as Salt Lake defeated New Orleans, 9-0. Weaver ran his scoreless innings streak to 27 1/3 in the process.