"I know what I have to do," he says, "because I've been around 12 years and I'm making good dough. Nobody has to tell me. But if I have to prove myself like some rookie in the early part of the season, I'm under a serious handicap. I'd just like to end up May with a streak so things aren't too embarrassing after the first 100 at bats."
Meanwhile the farm system is pushing people up. "Sure, they're coming," Powell admits. "You expect that. When you start out, you look at a guy who's been around four years and you say, 'Boy, it would be nice to make it that far." Then four years go by. Then seven. Then 10. For me it's 12 already. But there's more there. I tell myself I can't be done at 32—not with no physical problems to speak of. It doesn't seem possible.
"One good year turns it all around. Then everyone can go back to neglecting me, like they used to."