You would think Kevin Mitchell would be a happy man. Not only is he about to play in his hometown, San Diego, but he's set for just one position, third base, instead of the six he manned for the Mets last year. Think again. Mitchell's not happy at all. "It was a big blow for me to leave the Mets," he said during spring training in Arizona. "I didn't think I'd ever leave them. I'll miss them. It was exciting playing all those positions. But life goes on."
Leaving a World Series winner for a fourth-place team can be tough on a guy. But the Padres—and their new manager, Larry Bowa—are happy to have him, no matter how Mitchell feels. Bowa hopes his new third baseman will take up some of the power slack left by the man he was traded for, Kevin McReynolds. In the same deal the Padres also got outfielders Stan Jefferson and Shawn Abner. In yet another trade, they sent catcher Terry Kennedy to Baltimore for pitcher Storm Davis. Kennedy's old job goes to Benito Santiago, a lithe Puerto Rican with a strong arm, speed and power. First baseman Steve Garvey thinks he will be "a real plus behind the plate."
Garvey's words might have carried more authority if he had been able to buy the team from Joan Kroc. But last week it was sold to George Argyros, who said he would give up his ownership of the Mariners. Given Argyros's track record, that's good news for Seattle, bad news for San Diego.
Bowa, the former Phillies pepper pot, won the Pacific Coast League pennant at Las Vegas last year in his first managerial season. He shouldn't count on duplicating that feat as a big league rookie.
Yearly averages in Late-Inning Pressure Situations since 1983: .340, .361, .347, .359.
Batted 140 points higher (.387-.247) with runners on than with bases empty.
Batted .342 before All-Star break, .225 after the break.
Only 208 games shy of Jake Beckley's NL record for games at 1B (2,247).
Led the majors the last three years in intentional walks with 68.
One of two pitchers to hold opposing righthanded hitters below .200 each of past three years.
Opponents have batted over .300 with runners on in each of the last two seasons.
Made 18 no-decision starts, three more than any other pitcher in the majors.
Has defeated every major league team except the Yankees.
Has faced 692 batters in career, allowed only one triple.
Led NL relievers with a ratio of 3.15 strikeouts per walk.