Thornton's Injury Provides a Chance for Other Prospects

Associated Press

The injury that will keep designated hitter Andre Thornton out of the Cleveland Indians' lineup for several weeks could be a major career break for one or two other players.

"I'm looking for a bat," Manager Pat Corrales said. "If Andy's not able to play, it opens another spot on the roster."

Catcher Butch Benton, one of several people fighting for one or two roster openings for players other than pitchers, approached Thornton's absence with a matter-of-fact attitude.

"I've been playing the game professionally for 11 years, and not much of that has been in the major leagues," said Benton, who has had brief stints with the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs. "Maybe I can get a break.

"You look at some guys in this game and you say, 'Man, how come this guy hasn't been given a chance? He's got a lot of talent.' But if you've been in professional sports long enough, you realize, you've got to get a break in this game."

Corrales said Benton and infielder Jim Wilson--both right-handed hitters, like Thornton--would probably play more during the final days of spring training so he could look at them closely as potential designated hitters.

Switch-hitting catcher Geno Petralli, who had six hits in his first six spring at bats, might also now have a better chance of making the team.

The 27-year-old Benton is hoping his age will, for once, be an advantage.

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