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infielders-battle-for-utility-roster-spot | February | 2005 Articles

2005 Archives

Infielders battle for utility roster spot

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Nick Green, Wilson Betemit, and Pete Orr (among others) are stuck battling to be utility infielders this spring, since replacing Marcus Giles, Chipper Jones, or Rafael Furcal will be almost impossible. But with their limited options, who has the best shot of making the squad? My money is on Green to keep his job. He's been spotted working out with Javy Lopez, Andruw Jones, and Mark DeRosa this winter, and he's coming to spring training a little heavier and a little stronger than last year. He already put up some decent numbers in the minors in years past and has shown the potential to have 20-homer power. Maybe beefing up a little is his way of letting the Braves know he's serious about the role he wants to play in Atlanta. But I also wonder if Betemit or Orr might join him. After Eddie Perez, Julio Franco, a fourth outfielder, and potentially, there will be at least a fifth and maybe even a sixth spot on the bench available for Betemit and Orr to battle for. Betemit has something Orr doesn't have -- major league experience -- but that didn't stop Green from making the team last year, even if it did take a Giles injury in May to get him there. Also, while Betemit has been a top prospect in the past, he hasn't improved much over the last three years, and we can only hope that he hasn't already peaked. Both Green and Betemit are out of options, which means Orr will most likely start the year in Richmond unless Orr proves that he's a major leaguer, or unless Betemit or Green prove that they are not. If Green or Betemit fails to make the team, either would be placed on waivers and potentially be signed by another team. We'll know soon enough: pitchers and catchers report to camp Friday, February 18, and the first full team workout is next Wednesday, February 23.
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