Baseball: Jordan off to Alabama's lower reaches

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The Independent Online
MICHAEL JORDAN, the former Chicago Bulls basketball player, yesterday joined Birmingham Barons baseball team, a Third Division development team of the Chicago White Sox.

Jordan is two steps below the major-league level he sought when spring training began, but he is satisfied with his progress, and the opportunity to play for the Class A A Southern League club from Alabama.

'I'm really looking forward to it hitting-wise,' Jordan said. 'The competition will get me prepared so I know where I need to be.'

'I think we picked the right spot for him,' the Chicago general manager, Ron Schueler, said. 'The main thing is to try and improve his hitting.'

Jordan will miss Birmingham's 7 April opener at home to Chattanooga to play in the Windy City Classic, a Chicago charity exhibition matching the cross-town rivals White Sox and Cubs. He will report to Birmingham the next day. 'The idea is not to lose sight he's trying to get to the big leagues,' Terry Francona, the team manager, said. 'All I have to do is treat him like any other player.'