Mike MussinaHis projected role in 1996: Ace...


Mike Mussina

His projected role in 1996: Ace of the Orioles' starting rotation.

Number crunching: Mussina has the highest lifetime winning percentage of all active pitchers -- .703, from his 71-30 record.

Where he's been in the off-season: In his hometown of Montoursville, Pa. "Almost exclusively," he said.

What he's been doing: Coaching football and basketball at Montoursville High, his alma mater. "Almost exclusively. I was plowing snow for a couple of months, and I've been trying to fix my driveway because it got washed out in the flood we had up here."

What he thinks is the Orioles' most significant acquisition of the off-season: Pat Gillick. "I think he sat down and he figured out what positions we needed filled and he filled them. We don't have one position where we're counting on an unproven guy to step up, like last year, when we needed Armando Benitez to go from pitching in Triple-A to being an effective setup man in the majors. We're not sitting here in February wondering who's going to play a certain position."

What other AL team improved the most this off-season: "The Chicago White Sox. They helped their lineup getting Harold Baines and Tony Phillips."

Player to watch with the Orioles: "Chris Hoiles. I think what happened to him last year was just one of those tough years. I don't have the stats in front of me, but in August and September, he bounced back and went back to hitting and playing the way he usually does."

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