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13. Where will Shawon Dunston of the Cubs be playing on Opening Day: shortstop, the outfield or in Toronto?
After Dunston missed 144 games last year because of back surgery, there's no guarantee he will be 100% healthy (some Cubs have questioned how hard he worked to get in shape this winter) and no guarantee that he will beat out shortstop Rey Sanchez, who impressed the Cubs in Dunston's absence last year. There's a slim chance that Dunston will be moved to the outfield, but he doesn't want to play there; and if the Cubs want to trade him, they will have to show other teams that he can still play short.
The Blue Jays have shown some interest in acquiring Dunston just in case their new shortstop, Dick Schofield, does not pan out. Toronto is one of the few teams that could afford to pick up the $9 million left on the final three years of Dunston's contract.
14. Who's the most intriguing character in the Reds' camp?
There are plenty to choose from. There's Bip Roberts, who will play second base—instead of leftfield or third base—even though it's his third-best position and one he would rather not play. There's starting pitcher Tom Browning, who is making great progress in his comeback from surgery on his left knee last August. There's new leftfielder Kevin Mitchell, who was hard to track down this winter, meaning nobody knows what kind of shape he will be in when he reports.
And then there's Rob Dibble. After three years of sharing the closer role, first with Randy Myers and then with Norm Charlton, Dibble has the job all to himself now, and he has the chance to become the dominant short reliever in the National League.
15. When was the last time the Brewers went to camp without Paul Molitor?
It was 1977, and the Milwaukee third baseman was Sal Bando, who is now the Brewers' general manager. Molitor, who signed as a free agent with Toronto in December, will be impossible to replace—he was the most valuable Brewer in the lineup, in the clubhouse and in the community. But it also will be difficult to replace three other free-agent defectors: pitcher Chris Bosio, third baseman Kevin Seitzer and second baseman Scott Fletcher.
16. Who are the nine players bidding for three starting jobs for the Expos?
At third base it's Sean Berry, Frank Bolick and Archi Cianfrocco. At first base it's Greg Colbrunn, John Vander Wal, Lee Stevens and Cianfrocco. Behind the plate it's Darrin Fletcher, Tim Laker and Tim Spehr. If you knew all nine, it's time to get out of the house more often.