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Harrington Passes on Arizona State

August 30, 2000

Matt Harrington, former Palmdale High pitcher who is at an impasse in contract negotiations with the Colorado Rockies, missed the Monday deadline to enroll at Arizona State, effectively passing up a scholarship offer to the school.

Harrington, drafted No. 7 overall in the amateur draft last June, might enter Pierce College if a deal with the Rockies is not reached by Tuesday, the day classes begin at the two-year school.

If Harrington enrolls at a junior college, the Rockies retain his negotiating rights until a week before next year's draft. The Rockies cannot, however, negotiate with Harrington while he attends school.

It is believed the Rockies recently increased their offer to a $3.5 million signing bonus, up about $300,000 from their initial offer. The Rockies also reportedly presented a different option that would allow a signing bonus to be spread over a two-year period.

* Beginning next spring, a new national high school rule will require baseball players to use aluminum bats that are similar in dimension to wooden bats.

The rule requires the bat barrel diameter to be no more than 2 5/8 inches with the weight-to-length ratio not exceeding three. That means a 33-inch bat cannot weigh less than 30 ounces. Last season, players could have a 35-inch bat weighing 33 ounces.

* More than a dozen area players took part in the Lasorda Cup at Dodger Stadium over the weekend. Eighty high school players competed on four teams coached by Dodger scouts.

Among the most impressive players, according to Dodger scout Artie Harris, were pitchers Chris Burrows of Hart and Justin Cassel of Chatsworth, and third baseman Tim Murphy of Burroughs.

Outfielder Richie Martin of Valencia hit the only home run of the weekend, a grand slam.

* Catcher Joe Hamer signed with the Minnesota Twins, one day before he started classes at Moorpark College.

Hamer, an All-Ventura County selection and four-year starter at Newbury Park High, was the Twins' 25th-round pick in June.

"They called right before I was about to start school and increased their offer," Hamer said. "I'm pleased with how it turned out."

Hamer will attend Moorpark in the fall and report in the spring.

* Woody Cliffords has decided to return to Pepperdine for his junior season after he considered transferring. Cliffords, from El Camino Real High, batted .346 last season and .330 as a freshman.

* Todd Zucker is expected to be appointed coach at Highland High, pending approval this week by the Antelope Valley High School District Board of Trustees.

He will replace Mike Van Cheri, who resigned.

* The Westhills winter high school league begins Sept. 17.

Information: (818) 703-5941 or (818) 712-0174.

BASKETBALL

* Guard Brandon Armstrong of Pepperdine has been chosen to the 50-player John Wooden preseason All-American team.

FOOTBALL

* Travis Johnson, a freshman lineman from Notre Dame High who is at Florida State, will make his debut next week against Georgia Tech.

Johnson missed last weekend's game against Brigham Young because of a minor neck injury.

* DaShon Polk, former Taft linebacker, has made the Buffalo Bills. He was a seventh-round draft pick out of Arizona.

SOFTBALL

* Barbara Jordan and Kim Maher of the Women's Pro Softball League have been selected to play against the U.S. Olympic team in the "Central Park to Sydney" tour finale in Honolulu this weekend.

Jordan, a Cal State Northridge assistant coach, and Maher, a Buena High graduate, were members of the 1996 Olympic gold medal winning team.

SOCCER

* Brent Kruk, boys' coach at Rio Mesa High, resigned Monday because of time commitments to a new job.

Kruk, 31, had a 91-36-26 record in six seasons and his teams captured three league titles.

VOLLEYBALL

* Outside hitter Courtney Guerra, from Royal High, has transferred from California to UC Santa Barbara.

Guerra, The Times' 1998 regional player of the year, played out of position at middle blocker as a freshman last year and will return to middle blocker.

TENNIS

* Lester Cook of Sherman Oaks defeated Scott Brown, 6-4, 7-5, in the boys' 18 division third-place match in the U.S. Tennis Assn. International Junior Hardcourt Championships on Saturday in Hamilton Square, N.J.

TRACK

* The City Section is looking for people interested in becoming starters in meets.

Information: (818) 347-7543.

GOLF

* Registration is underway for Robinson Ranch's Labor Day Family Golf Tournament on Monday.

It will begin with lunch at noon. The parent-child tournament begins at 1 p.m. with a shotgun start.

There is an 18-hole division for juniors 11-17 and a nine-hole division for juniors 7-11. Cost is $100 for the 18-hole tournament and $65 for the nine-hole event. The fee includes lunch.

There will be prizes for low net, low gross, longest drive and closest to the pin. There will also be a putting contest.

Information: Rick Smith (661) 252-8484 or fax (661) 250-7809 for an entry form.

WATER POLO

* Pepperdine is hosting a game between the U.S. and Romania men's Olympic teams at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for students and children.

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