Veteran infielder Brook Jacoby, who was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Oakland Athletics last year, may end up starting for the Indians this season.
A year ago, Jacoby had been told that the Indians were stopping negotiations on a new contract for him. On July 26, he was traded to Oakland for two minor-leaguers -- outfielder Lee Tinsley and pitcher Apolinar Garcia.
However, the Indians signed the Jacoby, 32, on Jan. 24 as insurance at first and third.
"You never know how things are going to work out, do you?" said Jacoby.
With injuries to first baseman Reggie Jefferson and third baseman Jim Thome, Jacoby could end up in the starting lineup when the Indians open the season in Baltimore.
* ATHLETICS: Joe Slusarski, who came into spring-training camp as a candidate for the No. 5 job in the starting rotation, has done himself one better.
Because of the uncertainty of Bob Welch's health, manager Tony La Russa announced that Slusarski would be among the first four starters, joining Dave Stewart, Mike Moore and Ron Darling.
* YANKEES: Managing general partner nominee Joe Molloy talked to White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf about the possibility of a trade involving Jesse Barfield. Then he talked generally about the Yankees' chances to deal for much-needed starting pitching.
Molloy characterized the club's chances to make a pitching deal as "50-50." If they do not make a trade, Molloy said, moving reliever Greg Cadaret into the rotation is a strong possibility.
* WHITE SOX: More than any other Chicago player, from rookie Johnny Ruffin to veteran Carlton Fisk, Ozzie Guillen has exceeded new manager Gene Lamont's expectations.
"I'd seen Ozzie, but I didn't realize he was such a good player," Lamont said. "Not only is he an outstanding player, he has fun all the time.
That's important -- to have fun playing this game."
* BLUE JAYS: The situation was familiar -- Dave Stieb leaving the mound and being replaced by Tom Henke.
The setting, however, was certainly different -- 9:30 a.m., no infielders anywhere in sight and only a handful of spectators and other interested onlookers scattered about the ballpark.
Henke faced three batters in an exhibition game three weeks ago before experiencing a recurrence of the shoulder tendinitis that sidelined him for almost three weeks in the final month of last season. The 34-year-old closer received a cortisone shot March 14 and had just thrown on the side until yesterday.
Stieb didn't have Henke's velocity and was reluctant to throw one of baseball's nastiest sliders. Still, it was an encouraging step forward for another 34-year-old who hasn't pitched since the end of May.
* TWINS: Minnesota is trying to become the first team to repeat as World Series champion since the 1977-78 New York Yankees. The acquisition of 20-game winner John Smiley should help.
The Twins will have someone to replace ace Jack Morris in the rotation, and the players are no longer questioning the organization's desire to compete.
The Twins won their division by eight games last year, but they spent the off-season losing Morris, Dan Gladden, Al Newman, Steve Bedrosian and Terry Leach.
"I thought it was strange," said pitcher Scott Erickson, who says his elbow is fine and he is ready to win 20 games again. "Everybody was making moves, and we were just sitting there, losing guys. I was more than a little worried."