Billy Connors, pitching coach of the National League East defending champion Chicago Cubs, says that he plans to teach some of his staff to throw a spitball, an illegal pitch that reliever George Frazier has admitted he throws.

"Take Ron Meredith. I'm trying to teach him a sinker, but if that doesn't work, I'll have to teach him the spitter," Connors said yesterday at training camp in Mesa, Ariz.

The spitball was outlawed in 1929.

Twins: John Castino, whose playing career as a third baseman ended after his second spinal fusion operation Feb. 5, has been given a job in the Twins' front office.

Castino, 30, a six-year veteran with the team, signed a guaranteed four-year contract with the Twins in 1983 for a reported $2.7 million. But he played in only eight games last season because of back problems.

Orioles: Reliever Tippy Martinez is convinced that his shoulder problems of a year ago are a thing of the past.

"At the end of last year, my left arm was 50 percent deficient," he said in Miami after his third day of training. "By January, it was still 27 percent below my right arm, but in the last month, the left arm has become stronger than the right."

Yankees: Toby Harrah had a morning meeting with General Manager Clyde King and later said he had asked to be traded. "I would just rather go somewhere else," Harrah said. "It's just one of those situations."

Harrah, 36, who has spent all 14 of his major league seasons in the infield, has been asked to compete for the Yankees' left field job, since Mike Pagliarulo and Dale Berra are expected to share third base.