Bill Ripken broke into the majors as a second baseman and has played the position virtually his entire major-league career. But if he makes the Orioles, much of his playing time probably will be at third base.
He's played the position before, for the Texas Rangers. One game in 1993, 18 in 1994. He spent most of 1995 on the left side of the diamond, as the shortstop for the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons (and played the position well, according to some scouts).
"The throwing part of everything has never bothered me, from second, short or third," Ripken said. "The one thing that's a little bit different at third base that you have to get used to is the actual ball off the bat. The angle is different. . . . I don't think it's that great of an adjustment."
When Bobby Bonilla played third for the Orioles last year, Cal Ripken positioned him, moving him in and off the line. Bill also would take his cues from Cal.
"The best thing about playing second base as long as I did next to him is that the infield moved as a unit," Bill Ripken said. "If he said he was going a step into the hole, I moved over a step, and I moved [the first baseman] over a step. I'd just bring him with me.
"When he makes a suggestion or a statement about where to play, he's doing it for a reason. Ninety-nine percent of the time it's for the right reason, so you go ahead with that."