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Here is the whole Gammons article on Rolen, Edmond

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  • Here is the whole Gammons article on Rolen, Edmond

    A former teammate of Derrek Lee's with the Marlins predicts he will have a monster year for the Cubs in Wrigley Field. "Our park killed his power, which is to right center," says Mike Lowell. "Don't be surprised if he hits 40 homers."



    But don't weep for the Marlins just yet. If Josh Beckett and Miguel Cabrera reach stardom this season, they can be right back in it with their pitching. "The way Beckett, Brad Penny, Dontrelle Willis and A.J. Burnett have taken responsibility for leading drills this spring is an indication how much they grew up in October," says Florida manager Jack McKeon. It may have been a blessing that Burnett had a minor setback last weekend, because he was rushing to try to get back by the start of the season when his realistic Tommy John recovery schedule would have him back in June.

    Marlins hitting coach Bill Robinson has worked hard with Hee Seop Choi to free him up and be quicker to the ball, and the results thus far have been positive.

    No, I did not know that Lenny Harris batted third and Rafael Palmeiro fourth for Miami's Jackson High School. "When we were kids, the rest of us would be playing football or basketball or something and Raffy was out there on the fields, hitting," says Harris. "We'd be in church, and Raffy was out there, hitting. We'd be going out for fun, and Raffy was hitting. No wonder he's going to end up with 600 homers and 3,000 hits (in his career)."

    Early indications continue to be very positive about Chris Carpenter's comeback with the Cardinals. "It's funny after not pitching for so long," says the former Blue Jay. "But it's starting to feel very good."


    Tony La Russa is thinking about batting Jim Edmonds second in front of Albert Pujols in the Cardinals' batting order. "For my leadoff hitter, what I care about is on-base percentage; it doesn't do any good to steal 40 bases if you're on base 30 percent of the time. But in that two hole I like the pull power, through the holes and the gaps, and Jim will get some good pitches to hit in front of Albert."

    The Dodgers, desperately seeking offense (remember, they scored 17 fewer runs than the Tigers last season), still are using Cesar Izturis in the two hole. "We're trying to find an extra run a game," says Dodgers manager Jim Tracy. Right now, he's experimenting with batting Adrian Beltre third, Shawn Green fourth, Paul Lo Duca (one homer in the second half last year) fifth. Green looks much better this spring, as his shoulder is healthy and he says "when I was cutting everything off last year, I can get the ball out there."

    Lo Duca, after a winter of re-evaluating his diet and conditioning, has added 20 pounds and looks terrific. But, meanwhile, GM Paul DePodesta is trying to add some bats, especially since Green is still uncomfortable at first base.

    Incredibly, 155 of the 486 games Tracy has managed have been decided by one run. Every Dodgers game is like the NHL playoffs.

    Former manager Jim Leyland says, "there is no way Barry Bonds was on steroids when he played for me, and he won two MVPs in three years." It should have been three in three. "I think Andy Van Slyke was wrong to make those comments," says Leyland. "I think he was a little jealous of Barry."

    Jeff Weaver is throwing well, and admits, "I'm a lot more relaxed being home in L.A. Hey, it's where I always wanted to play." Adds Tracy: "Sometimes when you play in New York you can fall in a hole and never get out of it."

    When Jose Canseco chose a Dodgers tryout camp to promote his forthcoming literary classic, one of the five ex-major leaguers who were actually seriously trying out was veteran pitcher Rusty Meacham. Where was Meacham last year? "I started out in Taiwan," he says. "But in the exhibition season, they decided not to keep Americans. Next I went to Italy, which was great because we played on the weekends and I pitched every Friday night. Problem was, they kept calling balks on me. I had 15 in 50 innings. Then one night I got two in one inning and they slapped me with a yellow card. I protested, and before you knew it I was pitching for Butch Hobson in Nashua, New Hampshire. Then this winter I went to Puerto Rico."


    Kris Benson has thrown well thus far, and the Pirates, who would like to clear his $6.2 million salary, say they have had inquiries about Benson from several teams.

    There are a lot of Cardinals players who still resent the way Tino Martinez was run out of St. Louis. "The best teammate I ever played with," says Scott Rolen. "Anyone who says he was our problem doesn't know a thing." Coming from someone of Rolen's character means a lot.

    The Indians are encouraged that Matt Lawton's shoulder is finally healed and that he can get back to where he was as a member of the Twins.

    The Miami Herald pointed out an astounding fact: unless Edwin Jackson and Dewon Brazelton make the Dodgers and/or Devil Rays rotations, the African-American starting pitchers in the major leagues will only be Darren Oliver and Willis with the Marlins and C.C. Sabathia with the Indians. "That is a reflection on how few African-Americans are playing enough baseball to build up their arms as kids," says one executive. "It's also a reflection on how fast we tend to typecast them and make them relievers."

    But history shows a paucity of African-American starting pitchers. In 1954, there were only three -- Don Newcombe, Brooks Lawrence and Bob Trice. In 1964, only eight -- Bob Gibson, Blue Moon Odom, Bob Veale, Al Jackson, Bennie Daniels, Al Downing, Mudcat Grant and Earl Wilson.


    Toronto is encouraged by the progress second baseman Orlando Hudson is making with his right-handed stroke after a winter of hard work. Hudson batted .160 with a .190 slugging percentage as a right-handed batter.

    The Jays also are encouraged by their young pitching coming up in the next year or so. Jason Arnold has consistently been throwing in the 92-93 mph range this spring, and fellow right-hander Dustin McGowan continues to be very impressive.

    Yankees manager Joe Torre says, "Ruben Sierra has really made a strong impression on me. He wasn't on the same program in '96, but he's now done everything he can to help us. He's been great. I learned long ago not to judge someone before I know him. I was traded to the Cardinals in 1969, and a couple of months into the season one of the coaches said, 'you're not a troublemaker the way we heard.' I wasn't aware that I was supposed to be a problem, and made up my mind never to judge someone before I get to know him."
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