American League Spring Training Capsules East Division

February 21, 1993|By Peter Schmuck

BALTIMORE ORIOLES

Spring priorities: It should be no secret by now that the Orioles will spend the next six weeks searching for the final piece of manager Johnny Oates' five-man starting rotation. . . . Oates also will face a big decision in right field, where Luis Mercedes, Chito Martinez and Sherman Obando will compete for playing time. . . . Getting starting catcher Chris Hoiles (wrist surgery) and backup Jeff Tackett (broken collarbone) back to full strength also will be important.

New faces: Second baseman Harold Reynolds, outfielder/DH Harold Baines; minor-league free agents Steve Searcy, Jamie Moyer, Mike Cook and Wayne Edwards.

Hot prospects: Left-handed reliever Brad Pennington, outfielder Jeffrey Hammonds and outfielder Obando.

Big question: Will Glenn Davis be healthy enough to play regularly at first base?

BOSTON RED SOX

Spring priorities: Red Sox manager Butch Hobson hopes to establish the good health of Mike Greenwell and newcomers Ivan Calderon and Andre Dawson. He also will have to choose between Tim Naehring and newcomer Scott Fletcher at second base, and choose a fifth starter. Joe Hesketh, John Dopson and prospect Scott Taylor are contenders for the final spot in the rotation.

New faces: Outfielder Dawson (signed as a free agent); first tTC baseman Calderon (acquired in trade with Montreal Expos); second baseman Fletcher (signed as a free agent); catcher Bob Melvin (signed as a free agent); reliever Jose Melendez (acquired in trade with San Diego Padres); pitcher Scott Bankhead (signed as a free agent).

Hot prospects: Pitcher Taylor, center-field and leadoff prospect Jeff McNeely and left fielder Greg Blosser.

G; Big question: Can anyone win the full-time leadoff job?

CLEVELAND INDIANS

Spring priorities: The Indians need to find enough starting pitching to back up ace Charles Nagy and fulfill rising expectations of young club. They also need to settle on the left side of the infield, where shortstop Felix Fermin and third baseman Carlos Martinez have moved ahead of youngsters Mark Lewis and Jim Thome.

New faces: Left-hander Bob Ojeda (signed as free agent); right-hander Mike Bielecki (signed as free agent); infielder Jeff Treadway (signed as free agent).

Hot prospects: Right-handers Paul Byrd, Chad Ogea and Dave Mlicki and left-hander Alan Embree.

Big question: Will catcher Sandy Alomar, who has been hampered by injuries the past two seasons, re-emerge as an impact player?

DETROIT TIGERS

Spring priorities: The struggling Tigers need to piece together a pitching staff in a hurry if they are to stay out of the AL East cellar. The acquisition of veterans Mike Moore and Bill Kreuger should help, but manager Sparky Anderson still needs a couple of youngsters to emerge if the club is to come up with enough pitching to complement one of the most potent offensive clubs in the league. The Tigers led the league in runs scored last year and ranked last in ERA. If they can get some pitching, they could surprise some people.

New faces: Pitcher Moore (signed as a free agent); left-hander Kreuger (signed as a free agent); left-hander Tom Bolton (signed as a free agent).

Hot prospects: Right-hander Greg Gohr; right-hander David Haas; catcher Rich Rowland.

Big question: Have the Tigers done enough to bounce back from a schizophrenic season in which they led the league in runs and were still outscored by their opponents?

MILWAUKEE BREWERS

Spring priorities: The Brewers need to fill out their starting rotation, which begins with Bill Wegman, Jaime Navarro and 1992 late-season sensation Cal Eldred. The major contenders for the two remaining spots are Ricky Bones, Mark Kiefer and veteran Ted Higuera. Manager Phil Garner also needs to determine whether B. J. Surhoff can make a successful switch from catcher to third base and whether Bill Spiers can come back from knee surgery to adjust to a new role at second.

New faces: Outfielder Tom Brunansky (signed as a free agent); infielders Dickie Thon and Bill Doran (signed as free agents), and outfielder Kevin Reimer (acquired in trade with Colorado Rockies).

Hot prospect: Right-hander Kiefer.

Big question: How will the Brewers rebound from the loss of free-agent pitcher Chris Bosio and longtime team leader Paul Molitor?

NEW YORK YANKEES

Spring priorities: The Yankees need to straighten out a bothersome catching situation. Matt Nokes was ineffective last year, throwing out just 18 percent of the runners who tried to steal on him. If he doesn't improve on that, Mike Stanley could play regularly. . . . The club needs sore-backed Don Mattingly, Wade Boggs and Danny Tartabull to play every day.

New faces: Third baseman Boggs (signed as a free agent); left-hander Jim Abbott (acquired in trade with California Angels); left-hander Jimmy Key (signed as a free agent); outfielder Paul O'Neill (acquired in trade with Cincinnati Reds); shortstop Spike Owen (signed as a free agent).

Hot prospects: Pitcher Sam Militello; outfielder Gerald Williams; pitcher Brien Taylor.

Big question: What effect will return of owner George Steinbrenner have on a young and improving Yankees club?

TORONTO BLUE JAYS

Spring priorities: Rebuild a rotation that was seriously diminished by the loss of free agents David Cone and Jimmy Key. Decide on a successor to departed veteran Kelly Gruber at third base. Develop new bullpen chemistry after departure of stopper Tom Henke.

New faces: Infielder/DH Paul Molitor (signed as a free agent); right-hander Dave Stewart (signed as free agent); infielder Luis Sojo (re-acquired in trade with California Angels).

Hot prospects: Outfielder Derek Bell.

Big question: Did the team do enough to offset the losses of Gruber, Cone, Key, Henke, Dave Winfield and Candy Maldonado?

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