The 2003 Orioles

The Orioles

March 30, 2003|By Joe Christensen and Roch Kubatko

3B Tony Batista

Height: 6-0. Weight: 208. Age: 29.

Projected role: Starting third baseman.

Contract: Signed through 2003.

How he got here: Claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays on June 25, 2001.

By the numbers: Led the Orioles in doubles (36), home runs (31) and RBIs (87) and was the club's lone All-Star. Hit 30 of his homers as a third baseman, breaking Brooks Robinson's single-season club record. Has reached the 30-homer level in three of the past four seasons. Went 3-for-42 in his last 11 games and hit .220 in his last 37. Had three sudden-death, game-winning hits.

X-factor: On a team hurting for power, the Orioles need Batista to aim for the fences. But that leaves them with a one-dimensional player who doesn't help in other areas.

RHP Rick Bauer

Height: 6-6. Weight: 208. Age: 26.

Projected role: Multipurpose reliever, with heavy emphasis on the later innings.

Contract: Signed through 2003.

How he got here: Drafted in the fifth round in 1997.

By the numbers: Spent all but nine days with the Orioles last season. Stayed for good after April 16 call-up. Earned first major league win. Led Orioles and tied for 10th in AL with 77 2/3 relief innings. Made 55 relief appearances and one start. Led club's relievers with six wins. Had 3.05 ERA after All-Star break.

X-factor: The Orioles can use Bauer in a variety of roles, but manager Mike Hargrove seems to prefer holding him for the late innings. His future still could be as a starter, however. Maybe next year.

1B/OF Jeff Conine

Height: 6-1. Weight: 219. Age: 36.

Projected role: Starting first baseman and extra outfielder.

Contract: Signed through 2004.

How he got here: Acquired from the Kansas City Royals for P Chris Fussell on April 2, 1999.

By the numbers: Played in 64 of first 65 games before a hamstring injury sidelined him June 16 and cost him 45 games. Hit .319 with six homers and 18 RBIs in the 19 games before the injury. Batted .300 in his last 47 games of the season. Signed a two-year contract extension with an option for 2005 on March 22, 2002.

X-factor: The Orioles already planned to give him most of the starts at first base before David Segui fractured his thumb. He's not a prototypical cleanup hitter, but that's where the Orioles will bat him.

OF Marty Cordova

Height: 6-0. Weight: 213. Age: 33.

Projected role: Part of left-field platoon with B.J. Surhoff.

Contract: Signed through 2004.

How he got here: Signed as a free agent Dec. 4, 2001.

By the numbers: Was batting .367 on May 5 but struggled late in the season like the rest of the team, hitting .188 in September. Is a career .275 hitter who has averaged 19 home runs during his past two seasons. Missed 31 games last season, mostly because of plantar fasciitis in his right foot, but still tied for third on the team with 64 RBIs.

X-factor: With Surhoff expected to get most of the playing time in left field, Cordova can serve as the designated hitter more often, especially with David Segui on the disabled list. This should help Cordova stay healthy.

SS Deivi Cruz

Height: 6-0. Weight: 207. Age: 30.

Projected role: Starting shortstop.

Contract: Signed through 2003.

How he got here: Signed as a free agent to a one-year deal with an option for 2004 on Dec. 15, 2002. By the numbers: His 151 games ranked second on the San Diego Padres last season. So did his 28 doubles. Committed 15 errors in 147 games (133 starts) at shortstop. With 47 RBIs, drove in more runs than any Padres shortstop since Chris Gomez in 1997. Batted .327 during career-high 15-game hitting streak. Was 6-for-12 with bases loaded. Drove in 82 runs with the Detroit Tigers in 2000.

X-factor: He doesn't have to be Mike Bordick, but the Orioles expect him to make the routine plays and provide more offense. Cruz has good hands, but his range is lacking.

LHP Omar Daal

Height: 6-3. Weight: 193. Age: 31.

Projected role: No. 2 starter.

Contract: Signed through 2004.

How he got here: Signed a two-year contract as a free agent Jan. 4, 2003.

By the numbers: Finished fifth on the Los Angeles Dodgers with 23 starts after beginning the season in the bullpen. Was 9-8 with a 4.45 ERA as a starter and 2-1 with a 1.50 ERA in 16 relief appearances. Walked two batters or fewer in 16 starts. Went 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA in August but 0-3 with a 6.65 ERA in September. Led Dodgers pitchers in double plays induced (18).

X-factor: He figures to be the first left-hander to be a regular presence in the Orioles' rotation since Jimmy Key in 1998. He signed with the Orioles so he could be a starter.

C Brook Fordyce

Height: 6-0. Weight: 194. Age: 32.

Projected role: Reserve catcher.

Contract: Signed through 2003.

How he got here: Acquired from the Chicago White Sox with P Miguel Felix, P Juan Figueroa and P Jason Lakman for C Charles Johnson and DH Harold Baines on July 29, 2000.

By the numbers: Threw out just six of 46 runners (13 percent) trying to steal second base against him. Began the season in a 1-for-31 slump but rebounded to bat .293 after May 3. Hit just one homer. Made consecutive starts four times.

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