REPORTS FROM THE MARINERS' spring training camp in Peoria, Ariz., are upbeat, despite the glaring absence of a certain all-star shortstop. But there's hope for the team that has lost three of the game's true superstars—Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., and Randy Johnson—in four years. The Mariners fared splendidly on the top 40 prospects list published in Baseball Prospectus 2001. The majors' top hopeful is lanky lefty Ryan Anderson; No. 8 is hotshot Japanese import Ichiro Suzuki; No. 11 is 19-year-old shortstop Antonio Perez. However, the highly touted Perez will spend most of the season at Class AA San Antonio. Suzuki should be a speedy, dynamic presence atop the M's batting order, but lacks the power, grace, and ability to speak English that made Griffey such a favorite. The big blow is Anderson, who has to sit out the year with a shoulder injury (a torn labrum). On the bright side, the injury makes it likely that Anderson won't ask for a trade.
RICHARD A. MARTIN