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Pierce Is the Latest Option for Unsigned Harrington

September 15, 2000|MIKE BRESNAHAN | TIMES STAFF WRITER

PALMDALE — Matt Harrington, the seventh pick in the amateur baseball draft in June, is meeting with Pierce College coaches today or Saturday to discuss enrolling at the school.

Harrington, a former pitcher at Palmdale High, has not come to terms with the Colorado Rockies. He is believed to be seeking a package similar to the $5.3 million deal outfielder Joe Borchard signed with the Chicago White Sox on July 28.

According to Tom Tanzer, an agent who is Harrington's advisor, the Rockies have offered Harrington a choice between a $3.75 million signing bonus payable over two years or an eight-year major league contract worth $5.3 million, including incentives. Borchard's deal will be paid over 2 1/2 years.

Harrington, a right-hander whose fastball has been clocked at 97 mph, passed up a scholarship to Arizona State three weeks ago.

With contract negotiations bogged down, Harrington simply wants to play, Tanzer said.

"We're seeking a way for him to get on the baseball field while still looking for a way to get [a deal] done," Tanzer said. "He's going to check it out and see if he's comfortable with the place and the program. Matt wants to play baseball and this is a good alternative."

Even if Harrington enrolls at Pierce, the Rockies retain his negotiating rights until about a week before the draft next June.

Pierce Coach Bob Lofrano said Harrington could enroll any time before the Brahmas' season begins in February.

"Enrollment is almost an ongoing thing at Pierce," Lofrano said. "Our season starts in February and we start practicing in January. Up until then, it's always a fluctuating roster."

Harrington has purchased a multimillion-dollar insurance policy in case of injury.

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