SI Vault
 
Aching to Play
Tom Verducci
February 10, 2003
Here are four young players whose careers were derailed by injuries and are now looking to make an impact this season.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
February 10, 2003

Aching To Play

View CoverRead All Articles

Here are four young players whose careers were derailed by injuries and are now looking to make an impact this season.

1. Alex Escobar, 24, Indians
The key player in the deal that sent Roberto Alomar to the Mets, Escobar tore up his left knee last March and didn't play last year after reconstructive surgery. The Indians still believe the Venezuelan centerfielder can be a star, though with two of his last four seasons shortened by injuries, he needs at bats in Triple A first.

2. Gil Meche, 24, Mariners
The 6'3" righthander endured shoulder trouble in each of the last two years but already is throwing in Arizona at 100%. Meche has the power stuff to be a front-of-the-rotation starter, though Seattle will likely break him in behind Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer, Joel Pineiro and Ryan Franklin.

3. Rick Ankiel, 23, Cardinals

Mark Wohlers overcame his mystifying wildness only after he blew out his elbow and had to learn how to pitch all over again. Now Ankiel—working out of the bullpen—is charting the same course.

4. Erubiel Durazo, 29, Athletics

Give him 550 at bats, and if the DH produces at his career rate, he'll smash 35 homers and drive in 110 runs. But Durazo missed half of last season with a fractured right wrist and a strained muscle in his side, limiting him to 222 at bats—which was still a career high. He must stay healthy and prove he can hit lefties.

1