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Sunday, October 22, 2006 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Baseball Notebook | Batista shows he has the write stuff

At an age when some boys begin playing baseball, Miguel Batista was playing baseball and writing. He wasn't practicing his penmanship, but the art that would blossom as he blossomed as a major-league pitcher.

"Writing started for me being a loner," Batista said. "As a kid, I had a problem. Kids my age didn't want to talk about things that interested me. That pushed me away. I started writing when I was 12 or 13."

Batista is a 35-year-old pitcher who is eligible for free agency after completing a three-year, $13.1 million contract with the Diamondbacks. No impoverished writer is he.

He is a published poet and novelist. His book of poetry, "Sentimientos en Blanco y Negro," has been published only in Spanish. His novel "The Avenger of Blood" was published first in Spanish in his native country, the Dominican Republic, then in English in this country last month by Trafford Publishing.

Batista's novel tells the story of a 14-year-old boy who is accused of being a serial killer in Phoenix and becomes inhabited by an angel. Batista spent 5 ½ years doing research before writing the novel.

"If somebody told me 10 years ago I would write a book, I would have said they were mistaken," Batista said.

But he explained: "When I was 16, I told myself I would write my first novel. I wrote 'Two Hearts, One Destiny,' one of those soap operas, but it wasn't published. I wrote it for me. I went to play on a rookie-league team in 1990, and when I went home, my mom said, 'I have a surprise for you.' She typed it and turned it into a book."

Batista has since played for seven organizations in nearly 10 years in the majors and has a career 68-79 record. He was 11-8 for Arizona this year.

In addition to his writing, Batista has a foundation to help children in his country, and he was the first baseball player to build a baseball field on tribal Indian land. The field is in Sacaton, Ariz.

"I'm working on another book," Batista said, "but it will take a few years because I have to keep my day job."

Negotiators meet again

Negotiators for baseball players and owners bargained again Saturday as they intensified efforts to reach a new labor contract before the end of the World Series.

The sides' Friday session in New York didn't end until 3 a.m. Saturday, and they returned later in the day for more negotiations before recessing talks in the early evening until Monday. Several people on both sides with knowledge of the talks said it was possible an agreement could be reached this week, perhaps in time to be announced when the World Series shifts to St. Louis.

Note

• Hours after the Mets lost in Game 7 of the NLCS, New York third-base coach Manny Acta interviewed for Texas' managerial vacancy. The Rangers had already interviewed Oakland third-base coach Ron Washington and Phillies minor-league manager John Russell

Copyright © 2006 The Seattle Times Company

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