The Waiting Game

March 05, 1995|By Buster Olney

Greg Zaun

What he would be doing if there were no strike: Zaun had hoped to compete for a job with the major-league team, in the event that new manager Phil Regan decided to keep a third catcher behind Chris Hoiles and Matt Nokes. Zaun, 23, was the regular catcher at Triple-A Rochester last summer, hitting .237 with seven homers and 43 RBIs in 123 games, with defense being his strong suit.

Where he is instead: Zaun is at his parents' home in Glendale, Calif., in the Los Angeles area.

How he's filling his time: rr Every day except Sunday, Zaun says, he gets up in the morning and lifts weights. Zaun's goal this off-season was to increase his strength and size, and he has gone from 170 pounds to 185. His regimen was tested this off-season in Venezuela. "It was tough over there," he said, "because we didn't have the same sort of resources we do here. Our team did have an agreement at a workout club that was something like . . . I guess you'd call it a yacht club." Zaun also takes hacks at a nearby batting cage, where he has taken a job as part-time instructor.

What he's doing when he's not working out: "I'm spending a lot of time with my parents, because I don't get to see them very often during the season. We go to dinner, go to the movies. I just went golfing with my mom. . . . She's my best friend."

The last time he wasn't playing baseball in spring: "A long time ago. When I was 7. We didn't have a T-ball league here."

How he's handling the wait: "It's really difficult, because I really thought I was going to have a chance to compete for a [big-league] job. Now they've signed a couple of guys, the salary cap isn't there anymore . . . and my chances are hurt. And even if I don't go to the big leagues, I want to start the Triple-A season on time. . . . If this thing drags out any more, I won't be ready for the Triple-A season, and the guys behind me will have a competitive advantage."

When he thinks the strike will end: "I would hope it would be settled by St. Patrick's Day. If that happens, I think we'll get a full season in. I really think if they don't settle it soon, [the strike] will go into the middle of the season."

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