Indians Counting On Anderson To Be Productive

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) - Brady Anderson, a three-time All-Star in Baltimore, is determined to make the transition from a Baltimore Orioles fixture to the Cleveland Indians outfield at age 38.

"I never doubted my skills last year. I got in technical trouble and couldn't get out," he said.

The Orioles released Anderson last November after he batted .202 with eight home runs and 45 RBIs in 2001. He had been with Baltimore since 1988.

Anderson is now trying to find playing time among some much younger outfielders in Cleveland. Indians manager Charlie Manuel said he expects to use Anderson at all three outfield positions as well as designated hitter.

Anderson brings experience in the leadoff spot in the batting order to a team without a true, tested leadoff hitter.

"He's going to get his at-bats," Manuel said. "He's swinging the bat well this spring and he's got experience we can always use. Brady can still play."

Anderson made 105 of his 112 starts in 2001 at either right or left field.

Cleveland signed Anderson on the urging of new hitting coach Eddie Murray, who was with the Orioles last year. Murray told the Indians he could help Anderson begin spraying his hits to all fields again.

Anderson is a career .302 hitter at Jacobs Field.

"I think it's a good sign when you use the whole field," Anderson said. "You shouldn't try to pull everything. But I think if you try to just hit the ball to the opposite field, you're going to be in as much trouble as you would be if you tried to pull everything."

Anderson was batting .306 for the Indians until an 0-for-5 Sunday against Pittsburgh that dropped his spring-training average to .269.

"I feel good technically," Anderson said. "Once you feel good technically, you can forget about everything else and concentrate on what you should be thinking about, which is thinking about seeing the ball."

Signing Anderson was a low-risk move for Cleveland. The Orioles released Anderson with a year remaining on his contract, so they must pay him nearly $4 million this season.

"I think Brady is a good player who had a bad year," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said. "He's a competitor, and I don't think Brady wants to go out on the kind of year he had last year. I'm willing to bet on his competitiveness and his pride."

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)