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Cummings and Goings
Tim Crothers
April 06, 1998
Just moments after telling young prospects Todd Dun-woody and Kevin Millar last week that they were being sent down, a subdued Jim Leyland sat in his office at Space Coast Stadium in Viera, Fla., glumly recalling a spring 35 years ago when he was a young catcher invited to the Orioles' minor league training camp in Thomasville, Ga. While the Marlins manager acknowledged that he was never big league material, he still remembers vividly how manager Earl Weaver had watched him warm up pitchers for days and then walked up to Leyland and said, "Son, you need to go home and find another line of work."
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April 06, 1998

Cummings And Goings

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Cordero will be assigned to Double A Birmingham to work himself into shape. The next question is whether Cordero can play first base, the only position available to him in Chicago but one he has played just once in his career. The White Sox don't seem concerned about the potential upheaval that will attend Cordero's arrival in Chicago. As general manager Ron Schueler says, "Look at his numbers. Who couldn't use a bat like that?"

Athletics sign free agent Kevin Mitchell to one-year contract.

At the beginning of March, Mitchell was playing shortstop on a San Diego slo-pitch softball team and thinking his baseball career was history. Then on March 9 he was signed by Oakland after a glowing recommendation from his friend Dusty Baker, the Giants manager.

Since the start of the '92 season Mitchell, 36, has played for me Mariners, Reds, Fukuoka Daiei Hawks, Red Sox, Reds again and Indians; he has had just 265 major league at bats during the past three seasons. This off-season Mitchell got his eight down to around 245 in hopes of getting one more chance. He made an excellent first impression on the Athletics by hitting a pair of home runs in his first spring game.

Expected primarily to be the DH against lefthanded pitching, Mitchell could also see time in the outfield and at first base. Oakland hopes he can add some pop to a lineup that has been lacking righthanded power since last July's trade of Mark McGwire.

Indians release second baseman Carlos Garcia.

What happened to this guy? He played in the 1994 All Star Game and hit .285 as recently as '96. Now his baseball future is in jeopardy. After being traded from the Pirates to the Blue Jays in November '96, Garcia hit just .220 in 350 at bats last season, unable to adjust to the American League's emphasis on the breaking ball. His rapid decline led to rumors that Garcia is older than the 30 years he claims to be. Says Toronto general manager Gord Ash, "His physical skills just went."

Indians general manager John Hart signed Garcia during the winter, only to watch him battle through the spring hitting .192. Hart eventually replaced him with the 35-year-old Shawon Dunston.

Phillies release outfielder Midre Cummings.
Red Sox claim Cummings.
Cummings declines to report, elects free agency.
Reds sign Cummings to minor league contract.
Reds sign Cummings to major league contract.
Reds ask waivers on Cummings.
Red Sox claim Cummings.

While Cummings, 26, has hit .300 or better in five minor league seasons, he has been a profound disappointment in the majors, where he has batted .244. He did hit .303 with the Phillies after being claimed on waivers from the Pirates last July, but Philadelphia was so put off by his poor attitude and work habits that they traded for outfielder Doug Glanville and released Cummings.

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