Positions Players

April 01, 2001|By Profiles by Joe Strauss and Roch Kubatko

Greg Myers

Catcher (37)

Hgt.: 6-2. Wgt.: 225. Age: 34.

Contract status: Signed through 2001 with option for 2002.

Projected role: Backup catcher.

Career year: 1996. Hit .286 when receiving career-high 329 at-bats with Twins.

By the numbers: Last year's 12 RBIs were his fewest for full major-league season. Only five hits before June. ... Has hit 53 of 55 career homers off right-handers. ... Last year, threw out 17.2 percent of would-be base-stealers compared with career mark of 30.9 percent.

X-factor: Contract status ($1.2 million this season plus $200,000 buyout) makes him ill fit within rebuilding mindset. Presence on Opening Day roster does not suggest lack of effort to move him this spring.

Mike Kinkade

Utility (68)

Hgt.: 6-1. Wgt.: 210. Age: 27.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected roles: Utility player, spare catcher.

Career year: Rookie.

By the numbers: Led all Double-A hitters with .358 average last season and was third and fourth in on-base and slugging averages, respectively. ... Batted .207 with 3 RBIs in nine games for Team USA in Olympics. ... Has 57 major-league at-bats in three seasons.

X-factor: Could never crack Mets lineup because of inability to project at single position. That very quality endears him to Orioles, where he may spell Cal Ripken at third base, serve as third catcher and act as enforcer vs. lefty relievers.

Fernando Lunar

Catcher (51)

Hgt.:6-1. Wgt.: 190. Age: 23.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: Backup catcher.

Career year: Rookie.

By the numbers: Considered "project" at plate, Lunar is special when behind it. Threw out 64.7 percent of would-be base-stealers last season at Double-A Bowie and seven of 16 with Braves and Orioles. ... Owns .221 career minor-league average and became pupil to hitting coach Terry Crowley this spring. Shrinking his strike zone is priority. ... Has one extra-base hit in 70 major-league at-bats and 22 homers in 1,768 minor-league at-bats.

X-factor: Is out of minor-league options, so Orioles must develop him at this level.

Mike Bordick

Shortstop (14)

Hgt.: 5-11. Wgt.: 175. Age: 35.

Contract status: Signed through 2002.

Projected role: Starting shortstop.

Career year: 2000. At 35, first-time All-Star continued climb as potent offensive player with career highs in home runs (20) and RBIs (80).

By the numbers: RBI totals have risen since 1997 from 46 to 51 to 77 to 80. ... Has scored 181 runs past two years, only 17 fewer than leadoff hitter Brady Anderson. ... Set Orioles record with 29 RBIs last April. ... First player to go to All-Star Game for AL, then play in World Series for NL team.

X-factor: Range more of a concern. ... When signed in December 1996, was viewed as complementary offensive player; with this lineup, he's cog.

Jeff Conine

Utility (18)

Hgt.: 6-1. Wgt.: 220. Age: 34.

Contract status: Signed through 2001 with option for 2002, pending free agent.

Projected role: Utility player.

Career year: 1995. Drove in career-high 105 runs in only 133 games. Was named All-Star Game MVP.

By the numbers: Suffered power fade in second half of last season that coincided with complicated birth of third child. He had 10 home runs and 31 RBIs before All-Star break, 3 and 15 after break. ... Played four positions plus DH last season.

X-factor: His versatile skills are largely redundant with rookie Mike Kinkade's, leading to trade speculation throughout spring training. ... No longer appears to be alternative to Cal Ripken at third base.

Delino DeShields

Outfielder (11)

Hgt.: 6-1. Wgt.: 175. Age: 32.

Contract status: Signed through 2001, pending free agent.

Projected role: Starting left fielder.

Career year: 1997 with St. Louis. Raised average from .224 to .295 while leading majors with 14 triples. Set career highs in runs (92) and home runs (11).

By the numbers: Last season, obliterated career high in RBIs with 86 and hit .346 with runners in scoring position. Stole 37 bases to rank third in AL and tied for sixth in franchise history. ... Ranks fifth all-time among active base-stealers (430).

X-factor: Remains No. 3 hitter and offers versatility key to younger, less-powerful lineup. ... Augmented value with last August's shift from second base to left field.

Jay Gibbons

Infielder/outfielder (83)

Hgt.: 6-0. Wgt.: 200. Age: 24.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected roles: Pinch hitter, backup first baseman.

Career year: Rookie.

By the numbers: Has hit .333 during three-year minor-league career. Last season, ranked second in Double-A Southern League with .321 average while hitting 19 home runs at Tennessee. ... Lefty batter hit for higher average against left-handers (.329) than right-handers (.317).

X-factor: Selected in December's Rule 5 draft from Blue Jays, he impressed everyone watching this spring with compact, powerful swing. Must remain on major-league roster all season or be offered back to Blue Jays.

Jerry Hairston

Second baseman (15)

Hgt.: 5-10. Wgt.: 175. Age: 24.

Contract status: Signed through 2001.

Projected role: Second baseman.

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