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March 27, 2000 | Volume 92, Issue 13

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Pedro Martinez Cover - Sports Illustrated March 27, 2000

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
New stadium, new manager, new star—it all adds up to a rejuvenated club

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [2½ Stars]STARTING PITCHING [1½ Stars]BULLPEN [2 Stars]MANAGER [3 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
If nothing else, Rob Fick has a flair for the dramatic. In the eighth inning of the final game at Tiger Stadium last September, the rookie catcher hammered a grand slam that came within a few feet...

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Tigers

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
Hard-hitting young talent can bring this club back from the baseball boondocks

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [2½ Stars]STARTING PITCHING [1½ Stars]BULLPEN [½ Star]MANAGER [2½ Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
When Jay Witasick was acquired from the A's last spring, the Royals stuck him in the bullpen and hoped his above-average fastball and power curve would steady a shaky relief corps. That plan...

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Royals

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
You get what you pay for. With the majors' tiniest payroll, the Twins have no shot

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [1 Star]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [2 Stars]BULLPEN [1 Star]MANAGER [3½ Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
Plain and simple, third baseman Corey Koskie was overmatched when he was called up to the majors in September 1998. Though he had a .301 average at Triple A Salt Lake City that year, he hit only...

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Twins

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
They're trying on a new look made for their new park—and trying to forget Junior

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
OFFENSE [4 Stars]DEFENSE [3 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [4 Stars]BULLPEN [2 Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
When agent Tony Attanasio heard 32-year-old Japanese righthander Kazuhiro Sasaki was looking for an agent to get him to the majors, he called Mets skipper Bobby Valentine, who once managed against...

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Mariners

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
This free-spirited bunch might just laugh its way into the postseason party

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
OFFENSE [4½ Stars]DEFENSE [2 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3 Stars]BULLPEN [3 Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
In last September's Triple A World Series, someone told Vancouver's Terrence Long that a minor league official had allegedly said the Canadians didn't have enough hitting to win. Long needed to...

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Athletics

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
The playoff-pitiful Rangers traded power for pitching. But did they get enough?

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3 Stars]BULLPEN [5 Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
This is not what the Rangers expected. In December it appeared that free-agent third baseman Todd Zeile would re-sign with Texas, but he suddenly decided he wanted to play for the Mets. Manager...

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Rangers

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
A new attitude and a potent lineup won't make up for an old, flammable staff

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [½ Star]BULLPEN [2½ Stars]MANAGER [FIRST YEAR]

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
Eight years ago, when 17-year-old Bengie Molina was discovered in his hometown of Dorado, Puerto Rico, by an Angels' scout, he was a smooth-fielding, strong-armed shortstop. "I thought of myself...

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Angels

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
Last year's league champs got stronger thanks to three comebacks and a trade

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
OFFENSE [4 Stars]DEFENSE [5 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [4½ Stars]BULLPEN [4 Stars]MANAGER [5 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
The off-season didn't seem to be a great one for Braves first baseman Randall Simon, who was a) infamously called "a fat monkey" by John Rocker; b) relegated to backup first baseman by the return...

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Braves

March 27, 2000
I would like to get Jim Bowden to negotiate the purchase of my next car.—MIKE TARKETT, Mount Laurel, N.J.

March 27, 2000
Letters to SPORTS ILLUSTRATED should include the name, address and home telephone number of the writer. They may be mailed to The Editor, SPORTS ILLUSTRATED, 135 West 50th Street, New York, N.Y....

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
Will a new look—more power, less speed and a long-sought ace—produce more wins?

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
OFFENSE [4 Stars]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3½ Stars]BULLPEN [4½ Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
His legend was secured against the Braves in Game 6 of the 1999 National League Championship Series. Melvin Mora, an eight-year minor leaguer, had entered as a pinch hitter in the eighth. Two...

March 27, 2000 | Jeff Pearlman
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Mets

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
They're young and they're restless, and maybe, just maybe, they're ready

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
OFFENSE [4 Stars]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3 Stars]BULLPEN [2½ Stars]MANAGER [3 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
He was the 25th pitcher taken in the 1997 draft, but only two of the pitchers chosen ahead of him—Jim Parque (White Sox) and Ryan Bradley (Yankees)—made it to the majors faster than Randy Wolf....

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Phillies

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Reversing their old practice, the Expos spent some bucks in hope of contending

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
OFFENSE [2 Stars]DEFENSE [1 Star]STARTING PITCHING [2 Stars]BULLPEN [3 Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Righthanded reliever Guillermo Mota says he'd never thrown a pitch in an organized baseball game before the Expos selected him in the Rule 5 minor league draft, in December 1996. At the time he...

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Expos

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
As they stockpile arms for the future, the Marlins have little hope of winning now

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
OFFENSE [1½ Stars]DEFENSE [2½ Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3½ Stars]BULLPEN [2 Stars]MANAGER [3 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Third Baseman Mike Lowell believes the surgery and treatment he underwent for testicular cancer have made him a better player. His illness was diagnosed last February following a trade by the...

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Marlins

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
The arrival of Griffey gives Cincinnati the powerful look of a new Big Red Machine

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [5 Stars]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [2½ Stars]BULLPEN [5 Stars]MANAGER [3½ Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
Say this for Jason LaRue, the Reds' catcher of the future: He sets an inviting target for pitchers. In 35 games last season he caught three one-hitters and four shutouts. A fifth-round draft pick...

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Reds

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
Age and injuries are catching up to the Astros, as is the rest of the division

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [4 Stars]DEFENSE [4 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [4 Stars]BULLPEN [3½ Stars]MANAGER [3½ Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
There's no question Daryle Ward, the son of former major leaguer Gary Ward, deserves a spot in the lineup. "He's poised and just a really good, strong hitter," says third baseman Ken Caminiti....

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Astros

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
Even Big Mac knows that it's pitching that wins, so the Cards have re-armed

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [2½ StarsSTARTING PITCHING [3½ Stars]BULLPEN [2 Stars]MANAGER [3½ Star]

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
St. Louis has moved former No. 1 pick Rick Ankiel through its system over the past two years as if he were a Ming vase. This year the bubble wrap comes off—very carefully. Ankiel, just 20 years...

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Cardinals

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
The owner has expressed high hopes for his young, improving club. Too high

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [2 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3½ Stars]BULLPEN [2½ Stars]MANAGER [3 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
Just 21, Aramis Ramirez was given the third base job this spring when the Pirates let Ed Sprague walk as a free agent. Offensively, the Pirates know Ramirez is ready—he had 21 homers at Triple A...

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Pirates

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
With a proven hand at the helm, better things are in store (knock on Wood)

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
OFFENSE [3 Stars]DEFENSE [2 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [2 Stars]BULLPEN [2 Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
Only two years ago Corey Patterson was playing ball for Harrison High in Kennesaw, Ga., which is why the cautious Cubs didn't intend to invite him to spring training this year—until manager Don...

March 27, 2000 | Tom Verducci
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Cubs

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
Rebuilding began with a flurry of trades, but none yielded much instant help

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [2½ Stars]STARTING PITCHING [½ Star]BULLPEN [2 Stars]MANAGER [FIRST YEAR]

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
First baseman Kevin Barker is the rarest of breeds in the Brewers' clubhouse: a homegrown product who rocketed through the system. A third-round draft choice out of Virginia Tech in 1996, Barker...

March 27, 2000 | Stephen Cannella
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Brewers

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
Can last season's bevy of career years be duplicated? The D-backs say no problem

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
OFFENSE [4½ Stars]DEFENSE [3 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [5 Stars]BULLPEN [3 Stars]MANAGER [5 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
After pitcher Byung-Hyun Kim got the first save of his major league career against the Mets last May, Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter actually bowed to his pitcher. This season Showalter...

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Diamondbacks

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
Fans, lots of them, will enjoy the new yard, but they'll be seeing the same old team

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
OFFENSE [4 Stars]DEFENSE [3 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3½ Stars]BULLPEN [3 Stars]MANAGER [5 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
Back in 1995 insiders said Calvin Murray, then 23 years old and one of the Giants' hottest prospects, would be San Francisco's centerfielder for years to come. Well, five years have come and gone,...

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Giants

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Having added a touch of Green, L.A. believes it has chased away the blues

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
OFFENSE [3 Stars]DEFENSE [2 Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3½ Stars]BULLPEN [3 Stars]MANAGER [3½ Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Manager Davey Johnson calls 24-year-old Eric Gagne "the best French-speaking pitcher I've ever seen." The Dodgers found Gagne (pronounced gahn-YAY) in high school in Montreal, where he grew up...

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Dodgers

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
Last year's cellar-dwellers have a slew of new faces and a fresh style of play

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
OFFENSE [3½ Stars]DEFENSE [3½ Stars]STARTING PITCHING [3 Stars]BULLPEN [2½ Stars]MANAGER [3 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
Thinking the day's workout was over, Ben Petrick turned his back on the field and started to put his catcher's gear in his equipment bag one afternoon this spring. That's when teammate Darren...

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Rockies

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
Trades have beefed up the batting order, but the rotation remains weak

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
OFFENSE [2 Stars]DEFENSE [2½ Stars]STARTING PITCHING [2 Stars]BULLPEN [4 Stars]MANAGER [4 Stars]

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
As a Rookie last season catcher Ben Davis was razzed by his fellow Padres about his clothes (he rarely wore a suit), his appearance ("Cut like a weightlifter, looks like a movie actor," says...

March 27, 2000 | Lars Anderson
an opposing team's scout sizes up the Padres

March 27, 2000
We ranked the position players in the major leagues from I (the best) to 425, and the pitchers from 1 to 400, based on our projections of their statistical production this season. The categories...

March 27, 2000
THE NBA

March 27, 2000 | Jackie MacMullan
Up, Up and...?The Raptors want to believe Tracy McGrady won't fly the coop

March 27, 2000 | Jackie MacMullan
Allen Iverson continues to drive 76ers coach Larry Brown batty by minimizing the importance of things like shootarounds, one of which Iverson skipped last week because, he said, he had a headache....

March 27, 2000 | Ian Thomsen
Austin Croshere has recast himself into a frontline player for the Pacers

March 27, 2000 | Kostya Kennedy
Punched Out?The feeling is growing in the league that fighting should be put to an end

March 27, 2000 | Kostya Kennedy
TOM BARRASSOG SENATORSHe was acquired from the Penguins at the trade deadline because he has won two Cups and, at 34, remains a daunting postseason presence. With Pittsburgh this season he had a...