Heading into last Friday's games I was the major league leader in total bases, and at week's end I already had three multihomer games and was batting .337. Many people remember me as a scrawny shortstop in the Brave organization, but I now weigh 200 pounds and play third base for another National League club.
Even though I was a productive hitter in '94, I was sent to the minors because there was no place for me in the every-day lineup. When my manager, Don Baylor, sent me down, I cried—all I wanted was to be in the majors. I played winter ball to get some at bats, and I wound up slugging 14 homers.
I'm a righthanded hitter who used to try to pull every pitch, but now I spray the ball to all fields. I've discovered the jet stream to right centerfield in my home park—it's incredible.
I'm Vinny Castilla of the Rockies.
The Firing Line
The dismissal of manager Joe Torre by the Cardinals last Friday will make Pirate skipper Jim Leyland an even hotter commodity after the season. Look for St. Louis's interim manager, Mike Jorgensen, to return to his post as the team's director of player development and the Cards to attempt to pry Leyland away from Pittsburgh.
It won't be easy. Leyland, considered by many observers to be the best manager in the game, is signed through 1996, and he is a loyal employee. But he's clearly frustrated by the lack of commitment from the club's management to spend money to improve the Pirates (17-30 through Sunday) and by the dwindling attendance at Three Rivers Stadium.
It figures that the White Sox, who fired Gene Lamont as their skipper on June 3, might be waiting to take a crack at Leyland too. Leyland was a White Sox third base coach from 1982 through '85.
What has gotten into pitcher Todd Stottlemyre? In seven years with the Blue Jays, he struck out 10 hitters in a game only once. Through Sunday he had already done it three times this year with the A's, and the only pitcher in the majors who had had more 10-whiff games was Mariner Randy Johnson (five). Stottlemyre struck out 15 Royals in 10 innings last Friday....
An unexpected force in the American League this year has been 22-year-old Ranger shortstop Benji Gil. Thanks primarily to his work with Texas infield coach Bucky Dent, a former shortstop, Gil has made giant strides—particularly in the field (only six errors)—during a season in which he didn't figure to make a large contribution. At week's end he was hitting .269 with 27 RBIs, and his single with one out in the ninth last Saturday broke up a no-hit bid by Toronto's David Cone....