Hancock Still On Hold

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas continues to be in a holding pattern when it comes to prized signee Kyle Hancock, an All-American pitcher from Rowlett, Texas.



Hancock, a 6-foot-3, 185-pound right-hander, was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the third round of last month's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft. He and his advisors expected him to go much higher and that's why they're holding out for first-round or early second-round money, which would double the Rockies' best offer to date of $430,000.

The situation is pretty cut and dry. If the Rockies can't match what the Hancock camp believes is warranted, he'll go to Arkansas instead.

"He's planning on going to orientation and is getting all his paper work done to enroll in school in case that is what has to happen," said Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn. "I've been around some (professional negotiations) that have taken this long and longer. We knew we were taking a chance when we signed him, but we felt like Kyle was really worth the chance."

Should Hancock make it to campus, he could be quite a difference maker to the Arkansas program. This season, Hancock was 12-1 with a 1.13 ERA while striking out 144 in 70 innings. He sports a 94-mph fastball and a breaking ball which helped him strike out seven in three innings during a recent All-Star game.

"Naturally, having another great pitcher would be huge for us," Van Horn said. "He's a freshman with a lot of ability and potential to pitch a lot early. We feel like we've got some guys coming back with some experience, but as thin as our pitching has been, he would help solidify that a little bit.

"He would give us more depth and would also give us a lot of innings on conference weekends."

No matter what happens with Hancock, the Hogs plan to add at least one more pitcher to its signing class. Pitching coach Dave Jorn has been scouring the country for talent over the past few weeks and will return to Fayetteville on Thursday.

"We've got a couple of kids that we're really looking at," Van Horn said. "We'll just have to see what happens in the next week to 10 days before we know what we're going to do there."



ON THE FARM

Former Razorback Casey Rowlett is off to a hot start for the New Jersey Cards, a St. Louis Cardinals rookie league team.

Through six games, Rowlett leads the team with a .333 batting average (7-for-21) with four runs and two doubles. The 32nd round draft pick, who mostly played center field at Arkansas, has been splitting time between third and shortstop and has yet to commit an error.

"I like it in the infield," Rowlett told the New Jersey Herald last week. "You've just got to work at it everyday and get better."

A 30th round pick by the Oakland A's in 2004, former Razorbacks first baseman Haas Pratt is off to a solid start for the Vancouver Canadians. He was named one of the A's "Minor League Hitting Heroes" as well as the Northwest League Player of the Week after hitting three homers during the opening week of the season June 20-26. In 10 games, he's hitting .333 (12-for-36) with seven runs and seven runs batted in.

Pratt hit only one homer in 35 games for an A's rookie league team last summer.



CAPED CRUSADER

Arkansas junior-to-be Jake Dugger is trying his hand at swinging a wood bat in the ultra competitive Cape Cod Baseball League this summer.

Dugger hasn't done bad for the Harwich (Mass.) Mariners and is fourth in the league in RBIs with nine in 11 games. He is second on the team with a .243 batting average with four doubles and a homer.




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