Oakland's pitching this spring has done nothing to calm manager Tony La Russa's fears after last season, when the A's walked more batters than anyone but Texas and only the Orioles had a higher ERA than Oakland's 4.57.
This spring, A's pitchers already have walked 50 in 87 innings. And the A's finished the weekend with a team ERA of 7.03, the worst in baseball.
"I'm not as much concerned about the bases on balls as I am about some of the other things we're doing," La Russa said. "Early in the spring, it's understandable. Everybody's excited, so they are overthrowing.
"After two or three times, you start asking more of them. I'd say it's about that time."
The pitchers say there's no reason to worry. Still, no one is quite sure what to make of this A's staff, least of all general manager Sandy Alderson.
After all, Dennis Eckersley is 37, Dave Stewart is 35 and Bob Welch is 36 and complaining of a bad knee.
"We have the capability of winning the American League West," Alderson said over the weekend. "And, I think, we have the ability to finish sixth."
* TIGERS: Detroit voters may have to take a second look at the wording of a ballot question on whether tax dollars can be used to pay for a new Tiger Stadium.
On today's ballots, Detroit residents are being asked to decide whether "no public tax shall be used for any stadium construction."
Voting "yes" means opposing use of Detroit tax money on a new stadium.
A "no" vote is one for spending city money on a new stadium.
* RED SOX: One day after talks on a new contract broke off, the agent for Wade Boggs said any negotiating would have to take place by April 7.