Leading first base candidate Dan Johnson -- hitting at an anemic .190 clip in a 4-21 slump -- continues to be outshined by upstart rival Daric Barton, who has gone 8-16, a .500 batting average in the early going.
Each has a homer.
Barton, 21, acquired from St. Louis in the Mark Mulder trade, is a student of the game, spending evenings reading books about Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and other greats. He has demonstrated a powerful yet easy, fluid swing since arriving in camp last month as a non-roster invitee.
Barton's chances of making the team remain slim, but he is winning many admirers.