MESA, Ariz. — Competition continues in right field and at second base, but what would be the most hotly contested of all races in the Angel training camp will not be seen this spring.
That would be a 60-yard dash between Gary Pettis and Devon White.
Pettis, starting his third season with the Angels, has already established what feats his feet can accomplish. His speed in the outfield earned him a Gold Glove for defensive excellence, and his quickness on the basepaths earned him 56 steals, the second-highest total in Angel history.
Pettis is a known quantity.
White, a 23-year-old rookie, remains a rumor. He is often described as a Pettis clone--a switch-hitting center fielder who was named the California League's best defensive outfielder in 1984 and who stole 58 bases in the minors last season. He has been clocked at 6.3 seconds in the 60.
"It'd be a great race," Manager Gene Mauch mused. "I have no idea who would win."
And that's the way Pettis and White, despite all their good-natured verbal jousting, want to keep it.
"There will be no race," Pettis announced with a grin on the day he reported to camp.
"No," White concurred. "Every spring training, something like that gets talked about. Everybody always wants to compare us, to see who is faster, but they'll never know. Neither one of us wants to push the issue."