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THE WAITING GAME

Mark Eichhorn

What he would be doing if there were no strike: Eichhorn, 34, would be preparing for his 11th major-league season and his second with the Orioles. The right-handed sidearmer was a jack-of-all trades last year, leading Orioles relievers with 71 innings pitched. This season, Eichhorn could see action in short, middle and long relief, and even some time as the closer. The club exercised the option year in Eichhorn's contract, which brings him a salary of $537,500.

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Where he is instead: Eichhorn is at home with his family in Aptof, Calif., just outside Santa Cruz.

How he's filling his time: Eichhorn had been working out with friends Randy Kramer and Ron Gerstein at Cabrillo Junior College until they decided to become replacement players. Kramer is now with the Colorado Rockies, and Gerstein is with the Milwaukee Brewers. Eichhorn also has been playing golf and basketball.

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What he's doing when he's not working out: Eichhorn has been taking care of his three sons, including his family's newest addition, 3-month-old Steven. Yesterday he bought a pair of cowboy boots for his 5-year-old son, Kevin. His friends have begun calling him Mr. Mom. "I eat a lot, but I can't gain any weight," Eichhorn said. "They run me rampant."

The last time he wasn't playing baseball in spring: "I was 7 years old, before I got into Little League. I wasn't working out or playing some kind of baseball. That was 1967, almost 30 years ago, holy mackerel."

When he thinks the strike will end: "I really don't know. It would just be the biggest guess, like anybody. I think the owners want to try to bring in the replacements. I think as soon as we find out the replacement stuff doesn't work."



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