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Your morning hot-not

Hot: The weather. 98 degree-high today.

Kind of hot, but only if you like free time: Rob Mackowiak, who's now out of a job, but not out of his $1.5 million.

Not hot at all: Felipe Lopez, whose average has dropped from .281 on May 4 to .236 after yesterday's 0-for-2. He didn't hustle whatsoever when grounding out into a late-game double play. After the game, Lopez was miffed about the team's lack of offense, saying that he'd done his part -- a statement you'll only agree with if you haven't been watching. "I hit [Sanchez] hard," Lopez said. "I've been hitting the ball for three weeks, so I don't know what to say. I can't speak for everybody else, because I don't know what they're going through. I can only speak about me. I saw him really good."

Ice cold: My game story. The writing just wasn't flowing last night. See for yourself.

Relatively lukewarm, if I can give myself some credit: The notebook, which described the intriguing scenario we'll now see with Destin Hood, the team's second-round pick. The several hundred words I wrote on Hood had to be trimmed for the final edition to make space for news about the Mackowiak release, so I'll just paste the full Hood story below.

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With the 55th pick in Thursday's draft, the Washington Nationals made one decision that officially launched another. The team used its second-round pick on a high school shortstop-outfielder from Mobile, Ala., named Destin Hood. Scout Ed Durkin predicted that Hood will someday develop into a No. 4 hitter, "hit a lot of home runs, and bring people to the ballpark."

But that's all predicated on Hood's own decision -- the one that now awaits.

Hood is also a football star. In February, he signed a scholarship to play wide receiver at the University of Alabama; Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban will allow Hood to also play baseball in college. Hood calls the option a "great opportunity."

Which is the same terminology he uses for the chance to skip college, sign with Washington and begin his professional career this summer.

"It just depends on how the negotiation goes," Hood said yesterday of the choice. "I can report for football at any time. I'm just going to wait it out and see what happens."

Baseball is Hood's first love. He's played since age 4. His talent in both sports, by most accounts, is prodigious. Washington scouts, who say they wouldn't have drafted him if they didn't believe they could sign him, compare him to Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter. General Manager Jim Bowden compares Hood's vision with that of Barry Bonds, his bat speed with that of Vladimir Guerrero.

If Hood does not sign with Washington by Aug. 15, the Nationals will lose all rights to him, but receive a compensatory second round draft pick in 2009. Just last weekend, Hood worked out at Nationals Park and took batting practice. His impressions of the experience: The Nationals have a lot of young talent, and they bring their young guys up to the majors.

"I sat in the clubhouse and talked to him for quite some time," Bowden said. "A couple conclusions I had: No 1, he wants to play baseball. He said, 'Everyone thinks I'm a football player and a wide receiver, but Jim, baseball is what I want to play. I want to play, I want to sign. I want the Nationals to take me to where I want to be. I believe him."

By Chico Harlan  |  June 8, 2008; 10:24 AM ET
 
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