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Cleveland to invest in Crowe



Published: Wed, June 8, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



The Indians hope to sign promising outfielder Trevor Crowe, their first draft pick.

CLEVELAND (AP) -- The Cleveland Indians drafted the hitters they wanted. Now they have to sign them.

Cleveland made switch-hitting outfielder Trevor Crowe of the University of Arizona its first pick, No. 14 overall, in the baseball draft Tuesday.

"I would have to categorize our early rounds as offensive-oriented," said John Mirabelli, the Indians' director of scouting. "This was a deep draft and we got some solid kids.

"There was not a lot of pitching, but we feel fortunate to get some arms, too."

The Indians took 11 pitchers in the first 18 rounds, though their first four picks were all position players.

After tabbing Crowe, Cleveland took California high school outfielder John Drennen, University of Mississippi first baseman Stephen Head and 17-year-old first baseman Nick Weglarz of Canada.

Cleveland had five of the first 102 picks, getting two extra selections as compensation for San Francisco signing free agent shortstop Omar Vizquel last fall. The Indians used their first supplemental pick to take Drennen and chose Vanderbilt pitcher Jensen Lewis with their other bonus selection at No. 102 overall.

Push to sign

A year ago, Vanderbilt's Jeremy Sowers was Cleveland's No. 1 pick, sixth overall. The left-hander is currently 7-3 with a 2.63 ERA in his first pro season at Kinston (N.C.) of the Class A Carolina League.

Sowers waited until August to sign, however. Mirabelli said he hopes Crowe and the others will sign more readily.

"It's usually best for position players to get as many at-bats as they can and gain seasoning," he said.

Crowe, whose team was eliminated from the College World Series by Cal State Fullerton on Monday night, said he won't make a hasty decision.

"I know the majority of first-round picks sign, but it's good to keep all your options open," said the junior, who has another year of eligibility remaining.

"I went from an unbelievable low with my team losing to an all-time high at being drafted. It hasn't all sunk in yet and I'll have to give it a little time."

Crowe hit .403 (106-for-263) with nine homers and 54 RBIs in 60 games this year for the Wildcats. The 6-foot, 200-pound native of Portland, Ore., had 25 doubles, 15 triples and 27 stolen bases in 33 attempts.

"We like his overall game," said Mirabelli. "There's a lot of ways offensively that he can impact a game."

Gold medal player

Crowe, 21, began his college career as a second baseman, then was moved to left field, but the Indians forecast him as a center fielder.

The son of former professional golfer David Crowe was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 20th round in 2002. Instead of turning pro, he attended Arizona and played for the 2004 U.S. National Team that won the gold medal last summer at the World University Baseball championship in Taiwan.

"That's one of the few things I'll brag about," said Crowe. "To represent my country is something I'll never forget."

Drennen, a 6-foot, 180-pounder from Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego, hit .500 (46-for-92) with 51 runs, 10 doubles, 15 homers, 46 RBIs and 12 stolen bases as a senior.

The 19-year-old has signed a letter of intent with UCLA, but Mirabelli believes the Indians have a good chance of signing him.

Head, 21, still is playing for Mississippi in the College World Series. The 6-2, 220-pound junior also posted impressive numbers as a pitcher, but the Indians want him strictly for his bat.

"He's a left-handed power hitter in an elite program," Mirabelli said. "He's got a lot of skills."

Head played for the 2003 U.S. National team that went 27-2 and won the silver medal at the Pan American Games that summer.

In 65 games this year, he hit .319 (83-for-260) with 64 runs, 18 homers and 68 RBIs for the Rebels. In 22 games on the mound, including seven starts, he is 7-3 with a 2.59 ERA and seven saves.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.




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