The Waiting Game

March 01, 1995|By Buster Olney

Alex Ochoa

What he would be doing if there were no strike: He would be competing, as a long shot, to win a job in the Orioles' outfield. Ochoa, who turns 23 later this month, batted .301 with 25 doubles, two triples and 14 homers for Double-A Bowie last year. Scouts say he has one of the best throwing arms in baseball.

Where he is instead: Ochoa is waiting at his parents' home in Miami Lakes, Fla., for a resolution.

How he's filling his time: Almost every day, Ochoa says, he meets with Reds infielder Lenny Harris and Astros shortstop Ricky Gutierrez, and the three throw batting practice and hit grounders and fly balls to each other. Ochoa lifts weights near his home, at a gym called Heavenly Bodies.

What he's doing when he's not working out: "Just hanging

out. Last weekend, I went up to Ithaca, N.Y., to visit a friend at Cornell."

The last time he wasn't playing baseball in spring: "Jeez, that had to have been when I was . . . 12 years old. I would've been playing with my friends -- hide and seek, football, that kind of stuff."

How he's handling the wait: "Pretty well -- as good as you can hope for. It's kind of weird, because this time of year you're eager to get to spring training. You don't know when anything's going to happen. You can't get your mind set on a date; before, you knew you were going to report on a certain date. Now, you just don't know."

When he thinks the strike will end: "I really can't predict that at all. Hopefully, the meetings this week will help them get something worked out."

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