TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) -- There is a growing feeling among the Arizona Diamondbacks that a move to the American League next season might be inevitable.
The defending NL West champions will have to be dragged kicking and screaming to the other league, but they know they have no choice if that's what the other owners decide to do.
When Arizona was added to the NL and Tampa Bay joined the American League as expansion teams for the 1998 season, baseball included clauses that allows the teams to be moved to other leagues and divisions after 2000.
''It was a last-minute addition and I didn't like it, but we had no choice,'' Diamondbacks owner Jerry Colangelo said as he watched the team's first full-squad workout Wednesday. ''I wasn't happy at the time and I'm not any happier today.''
Commissioner Bud Selig wants some realignment for 2001, with the emphasis on getting Texas out of the AL West, where the Rangers have to deal with a two-hour time zone difference with the other clubs in the division: Seattle, Oakland and California.
The plan mentioned most often by owners has Arizona moving to the AL West, Texas to the AL Central, Detroit to the AL East and Tampa Bay to the NL East.
''The announcement that Bud wants to have some partial realignment in 2001, having heard that, I look at the facts,'' Colangelo said. ''Baseball has the right to move two franchises. Hmmm? We're off to a bad start here.''
Owners are likely to meet in April, and realignment could be taken up then. A draft of the 2001 schedule must be given to the players association by July 1.
Last fall, Colangelo gave Selig results of a survey that showed 85 percent of Arizona fans want the team to stay in the National League. Besides, Colangelo has argued from the start that Phoenix fits better in the NL.
''Geographically, it was a perfect fit,'' he said. ''It was a tight fit. Look at the proximity between San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Denver and Phoenix. It was perfect.
''The history was that Phoenix was a National League city. The Giants' Triple-A team was there forever. Dodgers games used to be broadcast into Arizona. Look at the relationship between San Diego and Phoenix, with people traveling back and forth. It's perfect. And Denver and Phoenix have a lot of similarities in terms of size, growth and so forth.''
Arizona will find few allies among other teams in the NL West who resent the team's sudden rise.
'I'd say our success, as quickly as we've had it, may have some impact on opinions,'' Colangelo said. ''Enough said.''
Colangelo hopes Selig will put off a decision until it's determined whether some of the weaker franchises may move. He said such a move could hurt the Diamondbacks financially.
''It seems to me you wait until the smoke settles, you look at the total picture of realignment, then everyone has to be open-minded,'' he said. ''No one is forced to do something they'd rather not.''
Manager Buck Showalter, who has considerable AL experience as manager of the New York Yankees, said the Diamondbacks were developed as a National League franchise, with all the draft picks chosen for the NL style of play.
''I'm preparing a club to play in the National League this year,'' Showalter said. ''If and when someone tells me that we have to prepare a club to play in the American League, there are a number of things that we'll have to approach differently.''
Arizona's Todd Stottlemyre pitched most of his career in the American League with Toronto, Oakland and Texas and would just as soon not go back.
''I love the National League. I love the National League style of play. I don't dislike the American League because it's baseball. It's a great game over there, too. But there are recognizable differences. There's a lot more strategy over here. ... I like the speed of the game. I like the whole thought process of the game. It's so much different than over there.''
Brian Anderson, who pitched for Cleveland in the AL, wants nothing to do with a move back to that league.
''I like National League baseball,'' he said. ''I like pitchers being involved. It's a much better brand of baseball.''
Wherever they are, the Diamondbacks will be tough to beat, general manager Joe Garagiola Jr. said.
''We have taken some care to talk to our fans and see what they think, and they don't think much of the idea,'' Garagiola said. ''But if it happens, it happens. Our job is to go out and be competitive, and we will be.''
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