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No. 22 Montreal Expos


In Focus: Ugueth Urbina
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Ugueth Urbina saved 41 of the Expos' 68 wins in 1999. Start
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2000 Record: 67-95 (4th in NL East)

The Montreal Expos reached the All-Star break at .500 last season. After that, injuries helped sabotage their season, but 2001 could be a very different story.

You have to start with superstar Vladimir Guerrero and second baseman Jose Vidro. Guerrero finished in the top five in the NL in batting, home runs and RBIs. Vidro had a breakout year with 51 doubles and a .330 average. Newly acquired third baseman Fernando Tatis should provide the dynamic duo with some protection.

The rotation is young, but showed some positive signs last season. Javier Vazquez won just 11 games, but finished fifth in the NL with 25 quality starts. If Carl Pavano and veteran Hideki Irabu can fully come back from elbow surgeries, and 22-year-old Tony Armas, Jr. continues to mature, the Expos could have a solid rotation.

With the trade of do-it-all lefty Steve Kline, the big question is if closer Ugeth Urbina has recovered from elbow surgery. He had the same sort of procedure in 1996, and putting Urbina In Focus shows that he followed that up with three great save seasons.

The Expos have a lot of questions on the pitching staff, but with a few breaks they have a shot at finishing .500. I rank Montreal as the 22nd best team in baseball.



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