Gregg ZaunHis projected role for the O's: Backup catcher...

Orioles one-on-one

February 17, 1996|By Buster Olney

Gregg Zaun

His projected role for the O's: Backup catcher, unless the Orioles acquire another catcher who cannot be sent to the minor leagues. For instance, if the Orioles trade for Toronto's Randy Knorr -- something that has been discussed -- they likely would keep Knorr over Zaun. Knorr is out of options and cannot be sent to the minors; Zaun has options and can be sent to the minors without being passed through waivers.

Number crunching: Orioles pitchers had a 4.29 ERA when throwing to Zaun last year.

Where he has been this off-season: Zaun intended to spend the entire winter in Baltimore, working out. But he returned to his home in California after the snowstorm in early January. "My blood is too thin for that," Zaun said.

What he has been doing: After fleeing Baltimore, Zaun spent a lot of time golfing with his mother, a golf coach at the University of Southern California.

Who he thinks is the Orioles' best acquisition of the off-season: "It's hard to say -- there's so many. Probably [Roberto] Alomar. But I'd say all the additions to the pitching staff are more important than that."

Another team he believes improved itself this off-season: "Cleveland got a little bit better with Jack McDowell and Julio Franco. They went from being a great team to being a little bit better. Seattle killed themselves in the off-season. How do you lose Tino Martinez and Mike Blowers?"

His expectations for 1996: "I want to be in Baltimore Opening Day. I want to come out of spring training with this team. I don't want to see Rochester this year. I want to go north with this team."

An Oriole to watch: "I want to see this Rocky Coppinger pitch. I've never seen him, but I've heard a whole lot of good things about him from guys I trust. He's big. He and [catcher] B. J. Waszgis showed up in a huge Blazer, and there was about 500 pounds of beef in there. The car raised up a foot when they got out."

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