With less than two weeks to go before the start of the season, managers are making those tough decisions again.
Some veterans stay, some go. And like every other spring, thereare some hot-shot rookies making a name for themselves.After Monday's game against Cleveland at Mesa, Ariz., Chicago manager Don Zimmer announced that Gary Scott, a 22-year-old who has never played above the Double-A level, will be the Cubs' opening day third baseman. Scott is hitting .512 this spring with 10 RBIs and seven doubles.
In the same game, Albert Belle (who used to be known as Joey) hit his fifth homer of the spring, a three-run shot in the first inning, to power the Indians past the Cubs 6-3.
Belle started last season with the Indians but was sent to Class AAA Colorado Springs after he hit .174 in nine games. After 24 games at Colorado Springs, he checked into an alcoholism treatment program at the Cleveland Clinic.
As part of his recovery program, he asked to be called by his given first name, Albert, to indicate his fresh start. He finished last season at Class AA Canton-Akron.
Belle's hitting has virtually assured him of a job. He's batting .294 with five homers and 14 RBIs, and his power would seem to be essential on a team that has very little of it.
New York Mets manager Bud Harrelson filled one hole in his pitching staff by creating another when he selected Wally Whitehurst to be his fifth starter to replace Sid Fernandez (broken left ulna bone) in the rotation.
The Los Angeles Dodgers signed left-handed pitcher John Candelaria, a non-roster spring training invitee, to a one-year contract.
The 37-year-old Candelaria has appeared in seven games this spring. He is 1-0 with one save and a 4.00 earned run average. The Dodgers plan to use Candelaria in the bullpen.
On the field Monday:
Mets 5, Expos 1
At Port St. Lucie, Fla., Frank Viola had his best outing of the exhibition season with six strong innings as the Mets beat Montreal. Just before the start of preseason games, bone spurs were discovered in Viola's left elbow and it was initially feared surgery might be needed.
Cardinals 8, Royals 2
At St. Petersburg, Fla., Rex Hudler went 3-for-3, drove in a run and scored twice as St. Louis beat Kansas City. The Cardinals, picked by many to finish last in the NL East, improved their exhibition record to 12-5.
Pirates 4, Orioles 3
At Bradenton, Fla., Steve Carter's bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the 10th inning scored the winning run and capped a three-run rally as Pittsburgh beat Baltimore in a game featuring a Pirates' triple play.
Braves 5, Dodgers 4
At West Palm Beach, Fla., Deion Sanders continued his successful spring training with two hits, two runs scored, an RBI and a stolen base as Atlanta rallied for two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat Los Angeles.
Rangers 5, Tigers 2
At Port Charlotte, Fla., Kevin Brown, coming off elbow injuries late in the 1990 season, pitched six strong innings as Texas beat Detroit.
Twins 18, Blue Jays 4
At Dunedin, Fla., Chili Davis homered twice and drove in six runs as Minnesota beat Toronto, sending the Blue Jays to their eighth loss in nine games. The Twins' Jack Morris allowed five hits and three unearned runs in seven innings and struck out four.
Red Sox 2, White Sox 1
At Sarasota, Fla., Danny Darwin, last season's ERA champ in the National League, gave up only two hits and one run in seven innings as the Red Sox beat the White Sox. Darwin, signed as a free agent for $11.8 million over four years, walked one and struck out five.
Padres 2, Mariners 1
At Yuma, Ariz., Tony Gwynn scored on Rick Balabon's wild pitch in the 13th inning as San Diego beat Seattle. Mariners starter Brian Holman pitched six innings to extend his spring streak to 18 scoreless innings.
Angels 5, Brewers 3
At Palm Springs, Calif., Bobby Rose, fighting for a job as a utility infielder, singled three times and drove in three runs to help California beat Milwaukee. It was the Angels' first victory in Palm Springs since March 27, 1989, a home-field exhibition losing streak of eight games. Six of those eight losses came to the Padres.
A's 4, Giants 4
At Scottsdale, Ariz., John Burkett, San Francisco's likely starter on opening day, allowed four hits and no runs in five innings as the Giants and A's played to a 4-4 tie in 12 innings.