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Agent says Brazelton plans to attend class

By MARC TOPKIN

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 20, 2001


ST. PETERSBURG -- The Rays made progress Sunday in their negotiations with top draft pick Dewon Brazelton, but it may not have been enough to keep the talented right-handed pitcher from returning to school.

After reviewing a new offer that he described as "a step in the right direction," Brazelton adviser Bo McKinnis said at 10:30 p.m., "As of this moment, he's going to be in class in the morning. As of what we have right now, he's going back."

McKinnis said Brazelton was preparing late Sunday to drive from his home to the Middle Tennessee State campus in Murfreesboro. Once he attends class, the Rays forfeit their rights to him.

But McKinnis planned to talk again later Sunday with Rays scouting director Dan Jennings, so it was possible there would be further negotiations and/or an agreement for Brazelton to delay the start of classes.

Earlier Sunday night, McKinnis said there had been enough progress that there was a "50-50" chance Brazelton would not attend class. And Jennings said he was "more optimistic" after spending much of the day and night talking with McKinnis.

The Rays are believed to have offered a package worth about $4-million spread over five years as part of a major-league contract. Most of the discussions apparently involve the structure of the deal.

"I think they see more of our logic and we see more of their logic," Jennings said. "I think there were some barriers that were overcome. Some things have been exchanged that represent fairness for both sides, and I think ultimately that's what both sides are after."

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