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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Frustration Hits Early For Expos

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- Spring training hasn't even started and Montreal Expos manager Felipe Alou is already frustrated.

After watching key players pack up to go to greener pastures, Alou is looking at a year without the recently-traded Wilfredo Cordero and questions regarding injuries to most of his starting lineup.

Last week the Expos traded Cordero, who was eligible for arbitration and ended up signing a $1.85 million deal with the Boston Red Sox, for Rheal Cormier, leaving Alou and the Expos one more hole to patch up.

Combine that with the fact that the Expos compete in the National League East, where the champion Atlanta Braves and their $60 million payroll are king, and "under pressure" becomes an understatement.

"I'm in for a long year," Alou said Tuesday while watching the Caribbean Series, where his son and starting centerfielder, Moises Alou, is playing. "It's tough to compete with teams that spend $60 million a year. Better yet, it's just not fair."

The Expos, seeking franchise stability, refused to seek players in the free-agent market in the offseason. Instead, they re-signed Moises Alou, who is still recovering from season-ending shoulder surgery, to a one-year $3 million deal.

Usually an easygoing man, Alou's brow wrinkles every time the small market-big market debate comes up.

"We are an example of the trampling going on," Alou said. "Last year we saw Larry Walker, Ken Hill and John Wetteland march off because we couldn't pay them. Then Marquis Grissom goes and we get back a few rookies. What kind of deal is that?"

Alou's West Palm Beach, Florida, camp will open later this month with an army of prospects, a handful of recovering regulars and tons of questions.

Moises Alou, Henry Rodriguez and Cliff Floyd are all coming back from serious injuries.

"Right now, I may have three or four rookies in the lineup," Alou said. "That's right now because I don't know how the guys who got hurt will respond to spring training. Ah, and then there's the pitching. I wonder what that's going to be like."