Outfielder George Foster said yesterday he "was not prepared" for the 1982 season with the New York Mets, when he was a $10 million disappointment with a .247 batting average and only 13 homers.
"I wasn't as prepared as I usually am," Foster said after making an early arrival at the Mets' camp in St. Petersburg, Fla. "I was hanging in limbo all winter before the deal was made. Then, I had other distractions like trying to find a home in Connecticut, selling my house in Cincinnati and living for two months in a hotel room with my wife, who was not well."
Sheila Foster, who was pregnant at the time, gave birth to a daughter last November. "I am better prepared this spring," said Foster. "I have been working out in Hawaii since January."
Yankees: Outfielder Steve Kemp, working on the first year of a five-year $5.5-million contract, checked into the team's camp in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and predicted he, Dave Winfield and Don Baylor "will put 300 RBI into the middle of the club's batting order this year."
Kemp, who batted .286 with 19 homers and 98 RBI for the Chicago White Sox last season, said he had been reading all winter how principal club owner George Steinbrenner "likes the way I run hard to first base. I hope that's not all he thinks I can do," said Kemp.
Braves: Atlanta third baseman Bob Horner may be shifted to left field this season if an experiment in the Braves' training camp works out, Manager Joe Torre said in West Palm Beach, Fla.
"I could do it," said Horner, who has hit 138 homers in five seasons with the Braves.
Torre said if the experimental switch works out, it could open third base to Jerry Royster.
Orioles: Baltimore signed right-handed pitchers John Flinn and Cliff Speck to one-year contracts, the team announced in Miami. The Orioles have 37 of the 40 players on their spring training roster under contract for 1983.
Flinn, 28, was 9-3 last year with a 3.61 earned run average and 10 saves in 39 games at Rochester. He was 2-0 with a 1.32 ERA in five games with the Orioles. Speck, 26, last year was 8-10 with a 3.45 ERA in 31 games at Rochester.
Cardinals: Relief pitcher Bruce Sutter reported amid a vanguard of St. Louis pitchers and catchers in St. Petersburg and pronounced himself fit following arthroscopic knee surgery.
"The knee is good," said Sutter, who has had ligament damage in his left knee for three seasons.