The Waiting Game

March 20, 1995|By Buster Olney

Jeff Manto

What he would be doing if there were no strike: Manto, 30, had a monster season in Triple-A last year, hitting 31 homers in 131 games, and at the very least, he would've been given a shot to make the club as a bench player. The Orioles also were looking at Manto as a possible replacement for Leo Gomez.

What he's doing instead: Manto is home in Pennsylvania. "I'm putting Scotts No. 1 on my lawn," Manto said. Because of the length of the strike, Manto's chances of making the club may have diminished. Infielder Jeff Huson, in the Orioles' camp on a minor-league contract, has impressed new manager Phil Regan, who acknowledged that Huson and Manto basically will be competing for the same spot on the team. If the Orioles don't keep Manto, they'll have to pass him through waivers, because Manto is out of options.

How long he thinks it would be before players report to camp after a resolution: "I would think about five to seven days. It's going to depend a lot on what's on the free-agent market. There's going to be a lot of time needed to sign players."

Why he thinks the strike has lasted so long: "I think both parties don't want to give in. I think they're both afraid of giving something substantial away. As far as the players are concerned, that's giving something back -- if we do, we might return to the pre-Marvin Miller days. The players definitely don't want to see that happen."

What he thinks must happen for the strike to be resolved: "The luxury tax -- it's the killer. I know the players aren't happy with it, and we need to get that adjusted. I think if they drop the luxury tax rate, we could be back next week."

Who he thinks will win the NCAA tournament: "I'd like to see North Carolina. My first choice was Temple, because I went there, but that's done. UNC has that tradition, they're stacked, and I don't think they have a weak spot."

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