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"A lot can happen to a team between July 31 and August 31," says Alderson.
Maas, 25, was called up from Triple A Columbus on June 28 and had only 114 at bats through Sunday, but his 13 home runs were already more than Kirby Puckett, Robin Yount, George Brett or Pedro Guerrero has hit this year. The Yankee rookie also got to 10 homers in fewer at bats (78) than anyone in big league history. Maas, who has movie-star looks, says he can't count the number of times he has been asked to explain his power surge.
"It's not like I came out of nowhere," he says. "I hit some homers in the minors. It's just that I came out of the Yankees' minor league system. People aren't used to seeing that."
Maas hit 45 homers in 1,311 at bats in four minor league seasons before 1990—not bad for a player who wasn't drafted until the 22nd round in 1986. He would have been selected higher, but scouts were afraid that he would be hard to sign because of his educational interests (he was a mechanical engineering major at the University of California at Berkeley). "I don't claim to be smart," says Maas, almost apologetically. "I was in a major that required a lot of discipline, so I studied a lot."
IT BEATS WORKING
At a Red Sox luncheon in 1987, then rookie pitcher Tom Bolton was asked what had kept him going after seven relatively pedestrian years in the minor leagues. Bolton smiled and told the gathering, "I'm too lazy to work and too scared to steal."
Three years later, Bolton is working hard to help the Red Sox steal the American League East flag. Through Sunday, the 28-year-old lefthander was 7-1, with a 2.47 ERA. His seven wins are six more than the rest of Boston's lefthanded starters combined have had since Bruce Hurst left as a free agent after the 1988 season. "The biggest difference is I'm throwing my curveball over the plate," says Bolton. "And I'm comfortable now. I'm not looking over my shoulder to see if I am going to be starting again."...