Danys Baez has dealt with much more difficult adjustments than moving from the bullpen to the Cleveland Indians' starting rotation.
Baez defected from Cuba in 1999 and signed a $14.5 million, four-year contract with the Indians that November. After adjusting to his new country, Baez excelled as a rookie last year, going 5-3 with a 2.50 ERA in 43 relief appearances.
''Defecting was very scary, but it was my dream when I was a boy before I ever played baseball to come to America,'' Baez said Sunday. ''Baseball gave me that chance. Now, I want to pitch like Roger Clemens. I know that sounds like a big goal. Right now I am just Danys Baez. I am learning, but I want to be the best.''
Cleveland manager Charlie Manuel believes Baez's dream is not far-fetched.
''Danys has a big upside to him,'' Manuel said. ''He wants to learn and has a fire to him. He's smart and he's a fighter, too. He'll knock somebody down. I like his toughness.''
The 24-year-old right-hander became one of the best relievers in the American League after the All-Star break, relying on a 95- to 97-mph fastball and an 88- to 91-mph split-finger.
''I need to mix in a curveball and changeup,'' he said. ''Last year it was fastball, fastball, fastball. That is OK for one inning, but a starter must throw all pitches. I did that when I was a starter in Cuba.''
The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks have prompted tighter security for all people traveling to the U.S.
And checks of several players have revealed age discrepancies.
The Cubs were affected when paperwork revealed that pitcher Juan Cruz is two years older than he was listed last season. He's now 23.
Tavarez, 28, said his age is correct. What took so long, he said, was an extensive investigation by American consulate officials in the Dominican.
''They got the birth certificate, but it takes 13 or 15 days for them to send out private investigators,'' Tavarez said. ''They have to find the truth on everybody. They are not going to be able to give you the visa until they are sure about it.''
Cabrera, who arrived Saturday night in Kissimmee, Fla., was one of the first to show up for Sunday's workout and began to make up for lost time. Braves pitchers and catchers have been in camp 10 days.
The problem, finally resolved on Thursday, involved Cabrera's inoculation records, which apparently don't exist.
''I was born at home in a small, poor town in the Dominican, not in a hospital,'' said Cabrera, who said he had the medical shots as a baby, but does not know if a record was kept of them.
In Sarasota, Fla., Ken Griffey Sr. talked about why he resigned as a coach with the Cincinnati Reds.
After not speaking with reporters in Florida on Saturday, Griffey said during his radio show on WCIN-AM that he stepped down as first base coach because he ''was tired of being treated like dirt.''
Griffey, who will stay on as a scout, was more reserved Sunday.
''I just figured it was time for me to leave,'' he said. ''I just wasn't happy about doing what I was doing.''
Ken Griffey Jr. returned to his hometown in a trade in February 2000 in part because his father was a Reds coach and he wanted to be closer to his family. The elder Griffey said he wanted to return his son's loyalty.
''My son came because of me,'' he said. ''It shows the character my son has, his devotion to family.''
The team hasn't given a reason for Griffey's resignation. Jose Cardenal will take over for Griffey as first base coach.
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