Baseball 2000 : Orioles Profiles

April 02, 2000|By PROFILES BY JOE STRAUSS

14 Mike Bordick SS

Age: 34. Height: 5-11. Weight: 175.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Pending free agent.

Projected role: Shortstop, No. 2 or 9 hitter.

Career year: 1999. Had career highs of 77 RBIs and 93 runs and led AL shortstops in fielding percentage and total chances.

What's up in 2000: The Orioles may wake up next February and notice Bordick gone. Bordick plays a National League game in a city traditionally fed American League bash.

By the numbers: Off-season conditioning allowed him to compile career-high 14 steals and seven triples in 631 at-bats last season.

X-factor: Bordick is glue of a veteran infield. He may be team's most indispensable player.

23 Will Clark 1B

Age: 36. Height: 6-1. Weight: 200.

Bats: Left. Throws: Left.

Contract status: Pending free agent.

Projected role: First baseman.

Career year: 1989. Narrowly lost NL MVP Award to Giants teammate Kevin Mitchell after hitting career-best .333 with 29 homers and 111 RBIs.

What's up in 2000: Clark insists he is pain-free. Just as his '98 season with the Texas Rangers salvaged his value, Clark needs to make another statement this year before re-entering free agency.

By the numbers: Ten home runs and 29 RBIs last season represented career lows as he appeared in only 77 games.

X-factor: Will new, improved left elbow allow Clark his first pain-free season in almost 15 years?

18 Jeff Conine 1B-OF

Age: 33. Height: 6-1. Weight: 220.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2001, option for 2002.

Projected role: Part-time first baseman, designated hitter, left fielder and third baseman.

Career year: 1995. Drove in career-high 105 runs in 133 games.

What's up in 2000: Re-signed for two years, Conine will play a reserve role this season before moving into a more prominent position next season.

By the numbers: Batted .360 as a pinch hitter, leading the league; .331 with runners in scoring position.

X-factor: Conine may have to scrape for at-bats this season given a healthy Will Clark and a productive Harold Baines.

11 Delino DeShields 2B

Age: 31. Height: 6-1. Weight: 175.

Bats: Left. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: Second baseman, backup center fielder.

Career year: 1997. Raised his average from .224 to .295 while leading the majors with 14 triples.

What's up in 2000: After an injury-plagued '99, no player has more to prove this season and no one made a bigger statement during spring training. Again healthy, DeShields exhibited a quick bat and the range to handle center field.

By the numbers: Played in career-low 96 games last season between three stays on the disabled list. Batted .301 in his last 74 games.

X-factor: If DeShields again proves himself productive, will it be for the Orioles or another team?

1 Jesus Garcia 1F

Age: 26. Height: 5-10. Weight: 171.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2000 (under team control).

Projected role: Utility infielder.

Career year: 1999. Made the Opening Day club after arriving at spring training a nonroster player.

What's up in 2000: He may not be projected as an everyday position player, but Garcia represents an important asset to a veteran infield.

By the numbers: A career .253 minor-league hitter, Garcia hit .204 at Rochester in August after returning from a wrist injury but managed .238 after Sept. 7 recall.

X-factor: The rookie must become adept at little ball to give himself more opportunities and the bench more flexibility.

15 Jerry Hairston 2B

Age: 23. Height: 5-10. Weight: 175.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Signed through 2000 (under team control).

Projected role: Second baseman.

Career year: 1999. Received 175 major-league at-bats, hitting .269 with nine stolen bases.

What's up in 2000: Undoubtedly the Orioles' second baseman of the future, he has to deal with being overlooked as their shortstop of the present.

By the numbers: Did not commit an error in 269 chances with Orioles. Homered in 19th major-league at-bat. Had three or more hits in six of 48 starts.

X-factor: Should DeShields remain, Hairston must satisfy himself with reserve status or a return to Rochester.

8 Cal Ripken 3B

Age: 39. Height: 6-4. Weight: 220.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Pending free agent, no-trade protection.

Projected role: Third baseman.

What's up in 2000: Ripken emerged from a troubled camp last spring to construct a satisfying, albeit injury-riddled season. Only nine hits away from 3,000.

Career year: 1983. Won first of two MVP awards and only world championship while setting career marks for runs, hits and doubles.

By the numbers: Despite two stays on the disabled list, Ripken hit a career-best .340 in a career-low 86 games.

X-factor: Questions about his back follow Ripken into the season but manager Mike Hargrove says he will put him in the lineup daily.

6 Rich Amaral OF

Age: 38. Height: 6-0. Weight: 175.

Bats: Right. Throws: Right.

Contract status: Pending free agent

Projected role: Fourth outfielder, emergency second baseman.

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