Cirillo, Magnante ready for season

Jeff Tully

BURBANK -- This season, major league baseball players Jeff Cirillo and

Mike Magnante will have more in common than just being from Burbank-area

schools.

Cirillo, a former Providence High star, and Magnante, a Burroughs

graduate, will likely be seeing a lot of one another as American League

West Division rivals.

Cirillo, 32, a 6-foot-1, 195-pound third baseman was traded during the

off-season from the Colorado Rockies to the division-champion Seattle

Mariners.

Magnante, 36, a 6-1, 190 left-handed pitcher is a short- reliever for

the Oakland Athletics, who finished second behind the Mariners.

Here's a look at how the season shapes up for the local players:

Jeff Cirillo

Cirillo was traded in December from the struggling Rockies to one of

the most productive teams in baseball. Cirillo is guaranteed $27.6

million over the next four seasons, and there is a club option for a

fifth year at $7.5 million with a $1.25 million buyout.

Cirillo joins a Seattle team that set a league mark and matched the

major league record with 116 victories in 2001. The Mariners lost in the

American League Championship Series to the New York Yankees.

With Cirillo, Seattle receives a player who is not only a consistent

hitter, but has proven to be one of the best-fielding third baseman in

the game.

A line-drive hitter, Cirillo hit .312 in 2001 -- .362 at Coors Field

and .266 on the road -- with a career-high 17 home runs and 83 runs

batted in. He has a career average of .311 and is a two-time all-star

since making his major-league debut in 1994 with the Milwaukee Brewers.

On defense, Cirillo led major league third basemen with a .982

fielding percentage and committed just seven errors in 392 total chances.

Cirillo finished the season with 85 straight errorless games, setting

a National League record at third base. The major league mark for

consecutive games without an error is 99, set from 1992 to 2000 by John

Wehner.

For the team outlook, the Mariners will have a tough challenge living

up to their 116-win season. However, with no obvious weaknesses, the team

should put together another fine campaign.

The team's big gun is Ichiro Suzuki. Along with a .350 average, 242

hits and 56 steals last season, Suzuki won the American League Most

Valuable Player award. He also won a Gold Glove in right field.

With starting pitchers Freddy Garcia, Jamie Moyer and Paul Abbott,

along with relievers Jeff Nelson, Arthur Rhodes and Shigetoshi Hasegawa,

the M's have a formidable mound presence.

Mike Magnante

Magnante is coming off one of his most productive seasons of his

11-year major league career. He appeared in a career-high 65 games, had a

3-1 record wuth 23 strike outs, 13 walks and a 2.77 earned-run average in

55 1/3 innings.

He also helped Oakland finish second in the league with a 3.27 bullpen

earned-run average.

In November, the A's exercised their contract option on Magnante,

which will keep him with the club through the 2002 season.

Magnante has spent the last two seasons with Oakland after coming over

from the Anaheim Angels. He has also played for the Kansas City Royals

and the Houston Astros.

The pitcher will return to an Oakland team that won 102 games last

season and came within one game of playing in the ALCS.

Likely the biggest concern for the A's will be trying to replace first

baseman Jason Giambi. Not only was Giambi a leader on the field, but he

was also a driving force in the Oakland clubhouse.

Giambi batted .342 with 38 home runs and 120 runs batted in.

It doesn't help that the team also lost Johnny Damon.

Hitters who might have to take up some of the slack are Jermaine Dye,

Eric Chavez, Miguel Tejada, Terrence Long and Jeremy Giambi -- Jason's

brother.

Magnante is part of one of the most potentially potent pitching staffs

in baseball. With starters Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Hudson -- if he

stays healthy -- opposing hitters might find the going tough against the

Oakland hurlers.

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