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BASEBALL / DAILY REPORT : DODGERS : No. 1 Pick Dreifort Keeps Options Open

August 24, 1993|CHRIS DUFRESNE

Pitcher Darren Dreifort did not attend classes at Wichita State on Monday, keeping open his options for signing with the Dodgers.

Had he attended school, the Dodgers would have lost the rights to their No. 1 draft choice.

Instead, the negotiating game continued.

Fred Claire, Dodger vice president, had a five-minute telephone conversation with the player's father, John, but neither side appeared to give ground.

Team Dreifort is still insisting on a three-year major league contract, a deal the Dodgers insist they will not make.

"There shouldn't be a sticking point with the three-year contract," Claire said before Monday's game. "Because we're not going to do that."

Claire said the Dodgers have made three offers to Dreifort, the latest believed to be a signing bonus worth $1.2 million.

"The offer we have made is the highest signing bonus ever offered or received by a college player," Claire said.

But it is not as high as the $1.55 million the New York Yankees paid pitcher Brien Taylor out of high school a few years ago.

"I think it is pitiful that he (Darren) is not worth as much as high school pitchers in years past," Dreifort's mother, Carol, said Monday. "That's a mother talking."

John Dreifort, an interim vice president at Wichita State University, was teaching a night class Monday and was not available for comment.

While falling short of offering Dreifort a major league contract, Claire said the pitcher would be offered an opportunity to pitch immediately at Albuquerque, the team's triple-A affiliate, with a chance to be recalled in September when rosters are expanded.

Claire also said Dreifort would be invited to major league camp next spring at Vero Beach.

But he said a major league contract is not a topic for discussion.

"We are not in step with giving players who have not played in the major leagues a major league contract," Claire said. "Pedro Martinez did not get one. Eric Karros. Mike Piazza."

No word as to whether Dreifort will attend classes today.

And if he does?

"When he walks into class, he would be passing up a very, very, very attractive offer," Claire said.

*

Piazza and Brett Butler returned to the starting lineup. Butler did not start Sunday's game because of a bruised left foot. Piazza was out because of a groin injury. . . . Dodger starters combined for a 2.59 earned-run average during the team's last six-game road trip. . . . Ramon Martinez's shutout against the St. Louis Cardinals on Sunday was his third of the season, tying him with Houston's Pete Harnisch for the National League lead.

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