Thursday, May 24, 2007

R.J. Harrison on Price

Rays scouting director R.J. Harrison was hidden away during the Vanderbilt game -- he and national crosschecker Tim Huff were watching David Price from a corner of Regions Park -- but we caught each other during the game that followed.

Harrison, obviously, wouldn't commit the No. 1 overall pick to Price two weeks before the draft.

"I thought he looked good, didn't you?" Harrison said. "He went out there with a purpose: to make sure they stayed in this tournament. I don't want to overstate the obvious, but he pitched a hell of a game. There's been a few of those here."

(Despite Price's overwhelming effort, he's one in a crowd in Hoover. Arkansas' Jess Todd struck out a mere 17 in the game we were watching. Florida's Bryan Augenstein pitched a complete game early Thursday. Arkansas' Nick Schmidt and Tennessee's James Adkins took no-hitters into the eighth Wednesday. Schmidt finished with a two-hit shutout.)

Price only retired the first 18 hitters he faced.

"I don't think he disappointed anybody who came to see him pitch today," Harrison said.

The Rays are also considering Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters and third baseman Josh Vitters of California's Cypress High.

Harrison is headed back to Florida on Friday, though not to Jacksonville, where the Rays already have three scouts watching Wieters at the ACC tournament. Huff will fly to California in the next few days to see Vitters work out. Tampa Bay will have a scout at Vandy's and Georgia Tech's NCAA regionals.

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