Yes, Pete will play. "It may be May 15 [the first date he can be activated] or July 15 or September 15," says Rose, "but I can still pinch-hit and help this team. I can do it for a few more years."
With that out of the way, the second answer is yes, the Reds do have the best young players in the National League. "What we have here in Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Kurt Stillwell, Kal Daniels, Tracy Jones and guys like that is close to awesome," continues Rose, who put the same fanatical energy into managing this spring that he once put into his hitting. "Now, if we could just get some good pitching...."
Another question Rose fielded all spring concerned centerfielder Davis, and Pete's standard answer was, "He's the most talented guy I've ever played with." Those are strong words, considering that Rose has played with at least 10 current and future Hall of Famers. Davis, baseball's Michael Jordan, hit 23 homers and stole 63 bases after June 15. Now, put the fleet Daniels (.320) and multitalented Larkin at the top of the order, bat a slimmed-down, built-up Dave Parker third, and Davis might drive home 130 runs in the fourth spot.
The bullpen is as deep as they come. This year's prospects depend largely on the starting pitchers, however. The key is Mario Soto, who made real progress this spring from a shoulder injury that has thrice disabled him.
With strong teams in Cincinnati, Houston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, the NL West is enjoying a renaissance that harks back to the division's preeminence in the '70s. And once again, the Reds have the best talent.
Born Aug. 20, 1963; rookie Pete Rose went 0 for 3 that night but scored only run in 1-0 win.
Only sacrifice bunt of his career came on Aug. 5, 1973, in his 18th major league game.
His 58 SBs batting cleanup accounted for 35% of NL total from that spot.
Schmidt (18) was only NL player with more second half HRs than Bell (15).
Higher average with runners on than with bases empty in each of last five seasons.
Batted 100 points higher (.284-.184) vs. righties than vs. lefties.
Lost six starts decided by one run, tied for 2nd most in majors.
Twelve no-decision starts last year, with a 2.88 ERA in those games.
Became first NL pitcher since Brooklyn's Ben Wade (1954) to allow four HRs in one inning.
6-1 with a 2.59 ERA as a starter; 4-5 with 4.86 as a reliever.
Led NL relievers with 117 strikeouts; also allowed most hits (110).
Opponents have a career mark of .194 (7 for 36) with the bases loaded.