The 2002 Orioles

The Orioles open their 2002 season tomorrow at Camden Yards against the New York Yankess.

March 31, 2002|By Profiles by Roch Kubatko

RHP Chris Brock

Height: 6-1. Weight: 182. Age: 31.

Projected role: Long relief.

Contract status: Signed through 2002.

Career year: 2000. Brock was 7-8 with a 4.34 ERA in 63 games with Philadelphia.

By the numbers: Got into only 24 games with the Phillies in 2001, spending much of the season in the minors. Was 3-0 with a 4.13 ERA. Had a 2.19 ERA on grass and 5.31 ERA on turf. Pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his last win on June 16 vs. Orioles.

X-factor: His innings in spring training were limited by a sore shoulder, which the Orioles will continue to monitor. Has experience as a starter, which could come in handy.

LHP Buddy Groom

Height: 6-2. Weight: 201. Age: 36.

Projected role: Left-handed setup, closer.

Contract status: Signed through 2004.

Career year: 2001. Groom went 1-4 with a 3.55 ERA and a career-high 11 saves.

By the numbers: Six consecutive seasons of 70 or more games, tied with Arizona's Mike Myers for the major-league record. Held the lead 40 times in 42 opportunities. Stranded 41 of 50 inherited runners, seventh-best percentage in the AL. Left-handers batted .194 against him.

X-factor: He could be the Orioles' most dependable closer, but they can't afford to lose his talents in a set-up role. And he seems happier pitching the seventh or eighth.

RHP Scott Erickson

Height: 6-4. Weight: 227. Age: 34.

Projected role: No. 1 starter.

Contract status: Signed through 2003.

Career year: 1991. In his first full season, Erickson went 20-8 with a 3.18 ERA and finished runner-up to Roger Clemens for the American League Cy Young Award.

By the numbers: Has averaged more than 6 2/3 innings a start since joining the Orioles in 1995. Has averaged 231 1/3 innings in four full seasons with the Orioles. His 16 career shutouts are tied with Curt Schilling for ninth among active pitchers.

X-factor: Erickson hasn't pitched since needing ligament-transplant surgery in August 2000, yet he's supposed to anchor the rotation. Can he become an innings monster again?

RHP Rick Bauer

Height: 6-6. Weight: 208. Age: 25.

Projected role: Starter, long relief.

Contract status: Signed through 2002.

Career year: 2001. Bauer went 10-4 at Rochester before making six starts with the O's, including Cal Ripken's final game.

By the numbers: Lost all five decisions with the Orioles despite making three quality starts. Orioles were held to one run or fewer in four of his starts. Pitched six shutout innings against Seattle in his major-league debut.

X-factor: Could take Calvin Maduro's start on April 7 if Maduro isn't ready to leave the disabled list. Also a potential long reliever, but the Orioles would like for him to pitch every fifth day.

3B Tony Batista

Height: 6-0. Weight: 208. Age: 28.

Projected role: Starting third baseman.

Contract status: Signed through 2003.

Career year: 2000. Batista hit 41 homers with 114 RBIs with the Toronto Blue Jays.

By the numbers: Batted .207 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs in 72 games with Toronto, .266 with 12 homers and 42 RBIs in 84 games with the Orioles. Had a .305 on-base percentage with the Orioles. Was batting .183 through May 3. Hit .321 in September. Started 17 of his last 20 games at shortstop.

X-factor: Batista seems to have the right temperament to handle the attention that comes with replacing Cal Ripken. The O's aren't asking him to be Ripken, just the same long-ball threat as 2000.

SS Mike Bordick

Height: 5-11. Weight: 174. Age: 36.

Projected role: Starting shortstop

Contract status: Signed through 2002. Career year: 2000. Made the All-Star team and batted .297 with 16 homers before July 31 trade to the New York Mets.

By the numbers: Appeared in only 58 games before season-ending shoulder injury. Orioles were 27-31 with a .982 fielding percentage with Bordick in lineup, 36-67 with a .978 fielding percentage without him. Hit five homers in his last 10 games. Had 23 RBIs in his last 28 games. Led the AL with a .429 average with a full count.

X-factor: Will Bordick's shoulder hold up over a full season? The Orioles hope it does because they need his dependable glove at short.

OF/IF Jeff Conine

Height: 6-1. Weight: 219. Age: 35.

Projected role: Probable No. 4 hitter who can play outfield and infield corners. Contract status: Signed through 2004.

Career year: 1995. Conine batted .302 with 25 homers and 105 RBIs with the Florida Marlins.

By the numbers: Voted team MVP after batting .311 with 14 homers and 97 RBIs. Also scored 75 runs. Batted .400 with runners in scoring position. Batted .352 with runners on base. Reached base via hit or walk in 121 of 139 games.

X-factor: Arguably the team's best player, Conine could be the regular right fielder or first baseman, depending on whether David Segui needs to DH. Not an ideal cleanup hitter, but he's the best option for the Orioles.

OF Marty Cordova

Height: 6-0. Weight: 207. Age: 32.

Projected role: Starting left fielder.

Contract status: Signed through 2004.

Career year: 1996. Cordova followed up a great rookie season by hitting .309 with 16 homers and 111 RBIs.

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