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Harrington won't be a Ray in near future

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times
published July 6, 2002


ANAHEIM, Calif. -- The Rays aren't likely to sign Matt Harrington any time soon.

Harrington, the nation's top high school pitcher two years ago, signed with the Fort Worth Cats of the independent Central Baseball League and plans to spend the summer pitching for them, agent Scott Boras said Friday night.

The Rays took Harrington, who rejected a reported $3.7-million from the Rockies in 2000 and $1.25-million from the Padres last year, in the 13th round of the June draft, hoping they could convince him to sign for a lesser amount and develop in their organization.

That might have seemed more likely when Harrington was released by the Long Beach Breakers of the independent Western League last week after a mutually unsuccessful engagement. But Boras steered him to the Fort Worth team, with a promise from Cats officials Harrington will be handled properly.

Boras said he called Rays general manager Chuck LaMar to detail his plan, which will allow Harrington to develop over the summer and attempt to re-establish his market value.

"Preferably, I wish Tampa Bay would come in and sign him, but I don't think they know this player, other than what they saw coming out of the draft," Boras said. "And it sounds like they want to get to know him a bit before making a move on him."

Boras wouldn't discuss specific bonus demands but said the Padres made what he considered a current evaluation "and that's without him throwing for almost a year."

CENTURY CLUB: With a leadoff double, All-Star Randy Winn became the quickest Ray to record 100 hits in a season. Winn matched Quinton McCracken's 1998 achievement of getting his 100th hit in the 83rd game, but did it in fewer at-bats, 328-322. ... The next quickest to 100 was Fred McGriff, who did it in 89 games in 1999. ... At his current pace, Winn will surpass McCracken's 1998 team record of 179. ... Winn was over the stomach virus that forced him to leave Thursday's game early.

ALVAREZ OKAY: Wilson Alvarez said his lack of velocity and location in Thursday's game was just the product of an off night and there were no problems with his surgically repaired left shoulder and arm. "I'm fine," he said.

Manager Hal McRae said he wondered about Alvarez's health as he watched him give up seven runs on three home runs over 22/3 innings and waste a 6-0 lead.

He went out to talk with Alvarez during the game to make sure he was okay, and said Alvarez wanted to talk more about the location of specific pitches.

"Where the pitches were was immaterial," McRae said. "Where they were, everyone knew -- in the seats."

SOSA ON TAP: Rookie Jorge Sosa made big strides from his first start, when he lasted three innings against Toronto on June 25, to his second, when he went five innings against the Marlins on Sunday.

The Rays are hoping he can do at least as much again tonight.

"He pitched better," McRae said. "He wasn't throwing the last game, he was pitching."

NICE COMPANY: The Rays and Yankees are the only teams that have three pitchers who each have thrown more than 100 innings. The Rays have Tanyon Sturtze (112-1/3), Joe Kennedy (110-1/3 before Friday's game) and Paul Wilson (107-1/3). The Yankees have Mike Mussina (115), Roger Clemens (113-2/3) and David Wells (114-1/3). ... Rays pitchers have 35 quality starts (six or more innings, three or fewer runs) and won only 11 before Friday's game.

MISCELLANY: In addition to managing several of the current Rays during his three years with Tampa Bay's entry-level farm team, Angels bullpen coach Bobby Ramos was Felix Escalona's first manager with Houston's Gulf Coast League team in 1996. ... Greg Vaughn, out since bruising his right shoulder June 22 in Colorado, is scheduled to be examined Sunday by Dr. Lewis Yocum.


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