Suzuki's teammate was last year's Ameri-can League RBI leader (141), Bret Boone. The Mariners were able to keep the second baseman safe at SAFECO for at least three to four more years, as he recently signed a deal for as much as $34 million. Reflecting on last season, Boone says, "While it's true that individually I did some good things last year, this is still a team sport, and the most gratifying thing for me was our team's accomplishment of winning 116 games and making it into the playoffs." It's clear that he hopes to expand upon that feat this season.
Boston's Manny Ramirez was one of the most well-rounded hitters to approach the plate last year. Racking up 41 home runs and 125 RBIs in his 529 at bats (including a 491-footer out of Toronto's SkyDome), he finished the season with a .306 average. Expect more high marks this year from the 29-year-old designated hitter as he heads into his second year in a Red Sox uniform. And look for Ramirez' teammate, first baseman/designated hitter Tony Clark, when he takes to the batter's box. After being picked up following a .287 perform-ance last year with Detroit, Clark says, "Do I think I can still hit home runs? Yes. Do I think I can still drive in runs? Yes. I look forward to doing that at Fenway Park."