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Loaded with bonus players and aging cast-offs—at least one from every other team in the American League—the Orioles will earn Paul Richards a handful of votes as Manager of the Year if they can beat their seventh-place finish of 1955. With a who's-on-first-second-and-third type of lineup, Richards hopes to get by with a lot of switching, testing and platooning against left-and right-handed pitching. The quasi-regulars range in age from Bonus Baby Wayne Causey, 19, all the way up to Veteran Dave Philley, 35. Willy Miranda is a fine defensive ballplayer at short, and the defense in general looks fair, leaving only two large problems: pitching and punch. No pitcher on the roster has ever won more than 15 games in the major leagues; Gus Triandos' 1955 output of 12 home runs is a Baltimore record. The Orioles, it appears, are still building.
7 WILLY MIRANDA, SHORTSTOP: A little switch-hitter with a mere .255 average, Miranda manages to hold up his end with a magician's touch at short. As a Yankee, he was not big enough to bench Rizzuto, but has become a big leaguer at Baltimore.
11 GUS TRIANDOS, FIRST BASE: Big and slow afoot but the best long-range hitter on the ball club, Triandos is one of the few Orioles that other major league teams would like to have. Fair defensively at first and a good catcher.
17 BILL WIGHT, PITCHER: This experienced left-hander is playing with his sixth American League team and appears ready for his best season. He is steady and has excellent control.
22 HAL SMITH, CATCHER: Like other members of the Oriole "big four," Smith once belonged to the Yankees. A fine young handler of pitchers, he should also hit well in his second major league season despite a weakness on inside pitches. May give way to Triandos against right-handers.
Looking just as good as Wight in spring training are three other veteran pitchers, all right-handers, who will probably round out the starting staff: Ray Moore, Jim Wilson, Erv Palica. Harry Dorish and George Zuverink are in relief. Causey will play against right-handers, alternating with aging Fred Marsh at third, while Bobby Adams (see below) appears set at second. Philley, a switch-hitting .299 batsman last year, is a fixture in one outfield spot; the others will be handled by a platoon which includes Chuck Diering, Jim Dyck, Dave Pope and Rookie Tito Francona. Bobby Hale, a .357 hitter in 67 games last year, has shown it was no fluke with his spring performance and will spell Triandos at first. Another first-base candidate, powerful Bob Boyd, who can really move, may go to the outfield.
NEWCOMERS TO WATCH
39 DON FERRARESE, PITCHER: Looks like a 160-pound Bobby Shantz, a catlike fielder and good hitter. Has a sharp left-handed curve, sizzling speed—and trouble with control. A strikeout sensation last year in the minors.