Giant Workouts Get Soggy Start -- Rains Mean Green Grass, Greener Teams
CUTLINE: DERON MCCUE
The steady rains that have prevented the 1990 Everett Giants from practicing for Monday's Northwest League baseball opener against Bellingham mean two things: The grass at Everett Memorial Stadium will be nice and green, and so will the Everett Giants.
During the first three days of training camp - days spent teaching fundamentals to rookies on the San Francisco Giants' way of playing baseball - the team has been mostly idle.
Pitchers have thrown under the watchful eye of pitching coach Diego Segui in the bullpen (the pitcher's mound is too wet), but have shown just a glimpse of their talent.
Hitters have hit in a batting cage, but that is not an indication of how well they can hit live pitching.
``It's been interesting,'' Giants co-owner Bob Bavasi said. ``Any dry place on the field they could find, they were practicing.''
As the rains continued, those dry patches became fewer and harder to find.
``You've just got to do what you can,'' first-year Everett Manager Deron McCue, 27, said. ``We've still got to install the bunt and cut-off plays. And I've still got to get my pitchers ready to play on Monday.''
Woodinville's Mark Yockey, a left-handed standout at Edmonds Community College and Lewis-Clark State, will be the opening-night starter. After that, little is known about the team's pitching staff.
Yockey led Lewis-Clark State of Lewiston, Idaho, to its fourth consecutive NAIA World Series championship. He won two games, was named Area I Player of the Year and and was drafted in the 15th round.
Eric Christopherson, a first-round draft pick from San Diego State, has signed a contract and should be the team's starting catcher. His biggest adjustment will be going from the metal bat used in college to a wood bat used professionally.
Once he makes that adjustment, he should be promoted to one of San Francisco's two full-season Class A teams, either San Jose in the California League or Clinton in the Midwest League.
Adam Hyzdu, San Francisco's No. 1 pick from Cincinnati's Moeller High School - the school that produced Ken Griffey Jr. - has not signed a contract. Dave Nahabedian, Giants director of minor-league operations, said negotiations are proceeding smoothly.
If Hyzdu signs, he will be assigned to Everett if the Giants follow their normal procedure of starting high-school products in the rookie league.
The Giants have already signed 15 players from the amateur draft, but Nahabedian said a number of players were drafted with the idea of pursuing them during the next year.
``We gambled on some kids - kids like Nate Holdren,'' he said, referring to the standout Richland High School athlete. Holdren signed a national letter of intent to play football and baseball at Michigan, but Giants hope to coax him into playing professional baseball.
Holdren hit .500 or better the last two seasonsat Richland , but he made it known he intends to play football in the fall for the Wolverines. Holdren, 6 feet 5 inches and 240 pounds, passed for 1,830 yards and 20 touchdowns and was named Seattle Times state football player of the year.
Holdren, who was drafted in the ninth round, told the Tri-City Herald that the Giants offered to pay for his schooling at Michigan and give him a $20,000 signing bonus.
If Holdren signs with the Giants, his athletic scholarship at Michigan would be void. But he still could play football at Michigan.
``I can re-enter the draft in three more years, and I can be just as successful in college,'' Holdren told the Tri-City newspaper. ``For that little amount of money ($20,000 signing bonus), I didn't think it was worth it. Money isn't that big of a concern right now.''
Nahabedian said the Giants have tried to emulate Toronto. The Blue Jays selected Washington State University standout John Olerud in the third round of last year's draft. Considered unsignable, Toronto signed Olerud to a contract and promoted him directly to the major leagues.
``Obviously, there aren't many John Oleruds out there,'' Nahabedian said. ``And any time you can draft a player in a low round that should have gone higher, you're doing well.
``To quote (Giants' general manager) Al Rosen, `You can't play money.' What he means by that is that we can't shy away from a player just because he's going to be hard to sign. It's tough to put a dollar figure on what a potential major-leaguer is worth.''
Nahabedian said the Giants have opted to give more attention to high-school players to get young players while their skills are still developing.
Three players on the roster come directly out of high school. The fourth one is outfielder Julio Vega, who will join the team after his graduation.
Hydzu would be the fifth. Six more players come to Everett from junior college.
``We just feel that the better players in the major leagues were signed at an earlier age,'' Nahabedian said. ``We'd like the opportunity to work with a young player while his skills are still developing, rather than drafting a college senior.''
McCue, the Giants' new manager, is a product of the Giants' system. McCue played 29 games at the Class AAA level but showed himself to be a student of the game and was given a chance to manage.
McCue managed the Pocatello Giants last season andset a Pioneer League record for ejections. In Everett, he succeeds long-time manager Joe Strain, who resigned to become a Giants scout.
Strain's style was, well, restrained. McCue promises to be different.
``He's really a nice, soft-spoken guy,'' Bavasi said. ``But when he starts getting after an umpire, he's like a different guy.''
Bavasi said he told McCue that he would pay any fine McCue collects for being tossed out of a game.
``I told him that I didn't want that (the fines) to hold him back from getting on an umpire. Besides, it's good for the fans. I told him I wouldn't mind seeing him tossed once a homestand.''
1990 Everett Giants/tentative roster;
-- Tentative roster for the 1990 Everett Giants of the Class A Northwest League. Roster subject to additions and subtractions before league opener Monday against Bellingham Mariners.;
Eric Christopherson, C, San Diego State;
Joseph Rosselli, LHP, Alemany H.S., Calif.;
Richard Huisman, RHP, Lewis University, Ill.;
Michael Myers, LHP, Iowa State ;
Derek Reid, OF, Triton J.C., Ill.;
Shelby Hart, OF, Golden West J.C., Calif.;
Mark Yockey, LHP, Lewis-Clark St. (Woodinville H.S.);
Jason Sievars, C, Lees Summitt H.S., Mo.;
Mathew Borgogno, 2B, Cal State-Fullerton;
Tony Spires, SS, Coastal Carolina College;
Dan Flanagan, RHP, Virginia Commonwealth;
James Huslig, RHP, University of Oklahoma;
Mike Helms, 2B, University of Oregon # ;
Brian Dakin, INF/C, University of San Francisco;
Mike Grahovac, catcher, returnee;
Jason Young, 2B, returnee;
Scott Ebert, pitcher, returnee;
Dan Henrickson, pitcher, returnee;
Ricky Ward, SS, Chemeketa C.C., Ore.;
Dan Carlson, RHP, Mount Hood C.C., Ore.;
Lenny Ayres, RHP, Lower Columbia C.C. (Kennewick H.S.);
Chuck Wanke, LHP, Beaverton, Ore.;
Pete Weber, CF, UC-Riverside;
Courtney Davis, OF, UC-Irvine;
Brian McCleod, RHP, Orange Coast J.C., Calif.;
# Did not play college baseball; played basketball at Oregon; drafted by Texas Rangers out of high school.;
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