Chris Hoiles turns 34 next week, has a degenerative hip and a bad back, but is a proven major league hitter of eight seasons. Willis Otanez is 25, has just five big league at-bats, but possesses the health and the hunger of youth.
While no one in the Baltimore Orioles' organization calls this a one-on-one battle for a roster spot, it is increasingly clear that the club will keep only one of them as its primary right-handed designated hitter. If Otanez loses the battle, he could be traded. If Hoiles loses, he likely would retire.
Both players were in the Orioles' lineup today in a 4-2 exhibition victory over the New York Mets at Fort Lauderdale Stadium. Hoiles went 2 for 3, his first two hits of the spring, including a mammoth home run. Otanez, playing third base, was 0 for 4 with an RBI.
Reproduced with permission of the copyright owner. Further reproduction or distribution is prohibited without permission.