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Spring training 1997

THE BALTIMORE SUN

American League

East Division

Orioles

Site: Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) Stadium

Manager: Davey Johnson (2nd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: P Jimmy Key, SS Mike Bordick, OF Eric Davis, P Scott Kamieniecki.

Old news: P David Wells, OF Bobby Bonilla, 1B/DH Eddie Murray, OF Mike Devereaux, 3B Todd Zeile, C Mark Parent, P Roger McDowell.

What's up this spring: Durability of Key and Davis could be big issues this spring, but biggest story will be Cal Ripken's moving to third base to make room for Bordick at shortstop.

Boston Red Sox

Site: City of Palms Park, Fort Myers, Fla.

Manager: Jimy Williams (1st season).

Full squad reports: Saturday.

New blood: P Bret Saberhagen, OF Shane Mack, P Steve Avery, P John Wasdin.

Old news: P Roger Clemens, OF/DH Jose Canseco, OF Mike Greenwell.

What's up this spring: Williams will spend the spring trying to piece together a decent pitching staff and trying to figure out if he has enough offensive punch to allow young Nomar Garciaparra to supplant unhappy John Valentin at shortstop.

Detroit Tigers

Site: Joker Marchant Stadium, Lakeland, Fla.

Manager: Buddy Bell (2nd season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: OF Vince Coleman, P Dan Miceli, P Todd Jones, SS Orlando Miller, OF Brian Hunter, C Brian Johnson, P Willie Blair.

Old news: OF Ruben Sierra, C Brad Ausmus, P Jose Lima, P Joey Eischen, SS Alan Trammell.

What's up this spring: The Tigers are building from the bottom up, so Bell will spend a large part of the spring trying to put together a pitching staff. The organization will be watching the progress of promising pitchers Justin Thompson and Mike Drumright closely.

New York Yankees

Site: Legends Field, Tampa, Fla.

Manager: Joe Torre (2nd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: P David Wells, P Mike Stanton, OF Mark Whiten.

Old news: P John Wetteland, P Jimmy Key, C Jim Leyritz, 2B Tony Fernandez.

What's up this spring: The outcome of the season could hinge on the performance of expensive left-handers Wells and Kenny Rogers. Wells won't be able to pitch right away because he broke his hand in an off-season fight. Rogers needs to get out of George Steinbrenner's doghouse. Should be an interesting camp.

Toronto Blue Jays

Site: Dunedin (Fla.) Stadium.

Manager: Cito Gaston (9th season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: P Roger Clemens, OF Orlando Merced, 2B Carlos Garcia, P Dan Plesac, C Benito Santiago, P Robert Person.

Old news: 1B John Olerud.

What's up this spring: The spring performance of Clemens, defending Cy Young Award winner Pat Hentgen and 1996 ERA champion Juan Guzman should give an indication of how serious a contender the Blue Jays might be. Gaston probably is eager to see how Merced looks after off-season surgery.

Central Division

Chicago White Sox

Site: Ed Smith Stadium, Sarasota, Fla.

Manager: Terry Bevington (3rd season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: OF Albert Belle, P Jaime Navarro, P Roger McDowell, P Doug Drabek.

Old news: P Alex Fernandez, DH Danny Tartabull, P Kevin Tapani.

What's up this spring: Belle figures to be the center of attention early in the spring, but Bevington will be focused on his outfield alignment -- more specifically, who will play right field -- and the starting rotation.

Cleveland Indians

Site: Chain O' Lakes Park, Winter Haven, Fla.

Manager: Mike Hargrove (7th season).

Full squad reports: Tomorrow.

New blood: 3B Matt Williams, P Mike Jackson, OF Kevin Mitchell, OF Chad Curtis, 2B Tony Fernandez, 2B Robby Thompson.

Old news: OF Albert Belle, IF Jose Vizcaino, IF Jeff Kent, P Julian Tavarez, P Dennis Martinez.

What's up this spring: Should be rather peaceful without Belle, but Kenny Lofton contract situation figures to be an issue.

Hargrove's biggest decision may be the choice of a fifth starter, from a field of candidates that includes promising Bartolo Colon, Brian Anderson and Albie Lopez.

Kansas City Royals

Site: Baseball City Stadium, Haines City, Fla.

Manager: Bob Boone (3rd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: DH Chili Davis, IF Jeff King, SS Jay Bell.

Old news: P Mark Gubicza, 3B Joe Randa.

What's up this spring: The off-season brought a slight course correction for the youth-oriented Royals, who added three veterans to their developing club. Boone has some offensive punch now but still has to sort out an uncertain pitching situation.

Milwaukee Brewers

Site: Compadre Stadium, Chand- ler, Ariz.

Manager: Phil Garner (6th season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: No major moves.

Old news: No major moves.

What's up this spring: The Brewers made most of their major moves during the 1996 season, but Garner still has a new set of challenges this spring -- like finding a way to compete without much offensive punch. Biggest question: Who will play center field, Gerald Williams or Chuck Carr?

Minnesota Twins

Site: Lee County Sports Complex, Fort Myers, Fla.

Manager: Tom Kelly (12th season).

Full squad reports: Friday.

New blood: C Terry Steinbach, P Bob Tewksbury, 1B Greg Colbrunn.

Old news: C Matt Walbeck.

What's up this spring: The Twins hope that the addition of Steinbach and Colbrunn adds some punch to otherwise powerless club, but biggest priority for Kelly is pitching. Minnesota's bullpen was a major deficiency last year.

West Division

Anaheim Angels

Site: Tempe (Ariz.) Diablo Stadium.

Manager: Terry Collins (1st season).

Full squad reports: Tuesday.

New blood: P Mark Gubicza, P Allen Watson, C Jim Leyritz, DH Eddie Murray.

Old news: DH Chili Davis, 1B J. T. Snow, OF/IF Rex Hudler.

What's up this spring: The Angels are attempting a major pitching reclamation project, with Jim Abbott coming back from a 2-18 season and Gubicza trying to re-establish himself as a premier starter. If all goes well, this could be a competitive team. The spring should be a good barometer.

Oakland Athletics

Site: Phoenix Stadium.

Manager: Art Howe (2nd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: OF/DH Jose Canseco, C Dave Valle.

Old news: SS Mike Bordick, P John Wasdin, C Terry Steinbach.

What's up this spring: The return of Canseco is going to generate some excitement, but the off-season was a net loss for the A's, who don't figure to be competitive. Howe needs some of his young pitchers to step up this spring, or it could be an ugly year.

Seattle Mariners

Site: Peoria (Ariz.) Sports Complex.

Manager: Lou Piniella (5th season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: P Jeff Fassero, P Scott Sanders, 3B Mike Blowers, 3B Chris Sabo.

Old news: P Mike Jackson, OF Mark Whiten, P Sterling Hitchcock, P Terry Mulholland.

What's up this spring: All eyes will be on Randy Johnson, who is coming off back surgery and isn't ready to go full speed. If he can return, the Mariners should be right on course for division title, especially with the addition of Fassero.

Texas Rangers

Site: Charlotte County Stadium, Port Charlotte, Fla.

Manager: Johnny Oates (3rd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: P John Wetteland, P Xavier Hernandez, OF Mike Devereaux.

Old news: P Mike Stanton, C Dave Valle, SS Kevin Elster, OF Darryl Hamilton.

What's up this spring: The Rangers made some big moves in the off-season, but the division title defense may hinge on the health of AL MVP Juan Gonzalez, who recently had surgery to repair thumb ligament. He won't be back until May at the earliest. The biggest spring question for Oates is the configuration of the outfield with Gonzalez down and Hamilton out.

National League

East Division

Atlanta Braves

Site: Municipal Stadium, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Manager: Bobby Cox (8th season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: P Paul Byrd.

Old news: P Steve Avery, P Greg McMichael, 3B Terry Pendleton.

What's up this spring: Speculation about veterans David Justice and Fred McGriff, both of whom have been the subject of trade talk throughout the off-season. More contract talk about Greg Maddux, who can become a free agent after this season.

Florida Marlins

Site: Space Coast Stadium, Viera, Fla.

Manager: Jim Leyland (1st season).

Full squad reports: Friday.

New blood: P Alex Fernandez, OF Moises Alou, 3B Bobby Bonilla, OF Jim Eisenreich, P Dustin Hermanson.

Old news: 1B Greg Colbrunn, 2B Quilvio Veras, OF Andre Dawson.

What's up this spring: The Marlins tried to build the best team money could buy during the off-season, spending $89 million on new players plus a big contract for Leyland. Now for the chemistry experiment.

Montreal Expos

Site: Municipal Stadium, West Palm Beach, Fla.

Manager: Felipe Alou (6th season).

Full squad reports: Saturday.

New blood: P Lee Smith, C Chris Widger.

Old news: OF Moises Alou, P Jeff Fassero, P Mel Rojas, P Mark Leiter.

What's up this spring: The latest edition of baseball's best bargain-basement team. The Expos allowed their best outfielder, starting pitcher and reliever to leave, and will try to show again that they have the best minor-league system in baseball.

New York Mets

Site: St. Lucie County Stadium, Port St. Lucie, Fla.

Manager: Bobby Valentine (1st full season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: 1B John Olerud, P Greg McMichael, P Toby Borland, 3B Howard Johnson.

Old news: 1B Rico Brogna, P Robert Person, P Paul Byrd, P Doug Henry.

What's up this spring: Great young rotation could step up this year, but health of promising starters will be in question this spring. Newly acquired first baseman John Olerud should be hot prove that he isn't washed up at 28.

Philadelphia Phillies

Site: Jack Russell Stadium, Clearwater, Fla.

Manager: Terry Francona (1st season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: OF/IF Rex Hudler, 1B Rico Brogna, C Mark Parent, P Mark Leiter, P Scott Ruffcorn, OF Derrick May.

Old news: C Benito Santiago, OF Jim Eisenreich, P Sid Fernandez, P Toby Borland.

What's up this spring: Catcher/first baseman Darren Daulton is attempting a comeback after apparently retiring because of bad knees last season. Francona inherits a team that cannot compete in the NL East.

Central Division

Chicago Cubs

Site: HoHoKam Park, Mesa, Ariz.

Manager: Jim Riggleman (3rd season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: SS Shawon Dunston, P Mel Rojas, P Kevin Tapani, P Terry Mulholland, 3B Dave Hansen.

Old news: P Jaime Navarro, OF Luis Gonzalez.

What's up this spring: Cubs did enough over winter to improve on 1996 performance, but Riggleman needs to establish winning chemistry early. Club president Andy MacPhail isn't going to wait forever for a playoff-caliber club.

Cincinnati Reds

Site: Plant City (Fla.) Stadium.

Manager: Ray Knight (2nd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: OF Deion Sanders, OF Ruben Sierra, P Kent Mercker, P Ricky Bones, 3B Terry Pendleton.

Old news: OF Eric Davis, OF Kevin Mitchell, 3B Chris Sabo, P Lee Smith.

What's up this spring: Everybody will be looking at Deion, but a healthy and motivated Sierra could be key to the Reds' chances of upending the Cardinals. Sanders is just a sideshow.

Houston Astros

Site: Osceola County Stadium, Kissimmee, Fla.

Manager: Larry Dierker (1st season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: P Sid Fernandez, OF Luis Gonzalez, C Brad Ausmus, P Jose Lima, IF Pat Listach.

Old news: P Doug Drabek, P Todd Jones, P Doug Brocail, SS Orlando Miller, OF Brian Hunter, P Xavier Hernandez, C Kirt Manwaring, OF Derrick May.

What's up this spring: Dierker needs to establish credibility in the clubhouse, which won't be easy after coming from the broadcast booth to replace Terry Collins.

Pittsburgh Pirates

Site: McKechnie Field, Bradenton, Fla.

Manager: Gene Lamont (1st season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: SS Kevin Elster, 3B Joe Randa.

Old news: SS Jay Bell, IF Jeff King, OF Orlando Merced, 2B Carlos Garcia, P Dan Plesac, P Dan Miceli.

What's up this spring: A reason for Pirates fans to be even slightly interested. The club has traded away all of its established players and will spend the spring sorting through more than 60 players in the major-league camp.

St. Louis Cardinals

Site: Al Lang Stadium, St. Petersburg, Fla.

Manager: Tony La Russa (2nd season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: 2B Delino DeShields.

Old news: SS Ozzie Smith.

What's up this spring: It has been awhile since a spring training opened without Smith in the Cardinals' infield, but the team finally can focus on the future with flashy double-play combo Royce Clayton and Delino DeShields.

West Division

Colorado Rockies

Site: Hi Corbett Field, Tucson, Ariz.

Manager: Don Baylor (5th season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: C Kirt Manwaring.

Old news: P Bret Saberhagen.

What's up this spring: Baylor again is faced with the daunting task of piecing together a solid pitching staff to go with the club's big-swinging lineup. Big spring for 22-year-old pitcher Jamey Wright, who already is penciled into the starting rotation.

Los Angeles Dodgers

Site: Holman Stadium, Vero Beach, Fla.

Manager: Bill Russell (1st full season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: 3B Todd Zeile.

Old news: 2B Delino DeShields, 3B Mike Blowers, OF Chad Curtis, 3B Dave Hansen.

What's up this spring: Russell will be managing in the spring for the first time after taking over at midseason from Tom Lasorda. If tradition holds, the Dodgers won't miss a beat. Just a matter of figuring out who will be NL Rookie of the Year -- likely 2B Wilton Guerrero.

San Diego Padres

Site: Peoria (Ariz.) Stadium.

Manager: Bruce Bochy (3rd season).

Full squad reports: Wednesday.

New blood: 2B Quilvio Veras, P Sterling Hitchcock, C Don Slaught, P Joey Eischen.

Old news: P Scott Sanders, P Bob Tewksbury, C Brian Johnson, P Willie Blair, P Dustin Hermanson.

What's up this spring: The Padres are looking for a quick recovery from Ken Caminiti, who underwent shoulder surgery after an MVP performance last year.

San Francisco Giants

Site: Scottsdale (Ariz.) Stadium.

Manager: Dusty Baker (5th season).

Full squad reports: Thursday.

New blood: OF Darryl Hamilton, 1B J. T. Snow, IF Jose Vizcaino, IF Jeff Kent, P Julian Tavarez, OF Darrin Jackson, P Doug Henry.

Old news: 3B Matt Williams, SS Shawon Dunston, 2B Robby Thompson, P Allen Watson.

What's up this spring: Tremendous off-season turnover makes Giants an unknown product. Baker will be looking to formulate good chemistry and get always disgruntled Barry Bonds to be a part of it.

Pub Date: 2/16/97

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