Call Waiting

R.J. Hively says he pitched one of his best games just last week, and the Yankees noticed.

The right-handed juco pitcher from California is already enrolled in second semester summer school at Ole Miss. But things changed a bit last weekend.

The American League team from New York had offered him $35,000 when they drafted him in the 26th round in early June. After two of the their scouts – the regional scout and the national crosschecker – both witnessed his 7 strikeouts, 2 hits, 1 walk performance where he hit 92-94 in the first three innings and topped out at 95, the offer went up three fold. It went up even more this week.

Now sitting at an offer of $125,000, which Hively says isn't close to being enough to sway him from Ole Miss, he simply isn't worried about the future at this point.

"I really try to live one day at a time," said the former Cal-State Fullerton and Santa Ana (Calif.) Junior College pitcher. "I try to enjoy every moment of life. It's an awesome spot to be in."

That "spot" is having the Yankees wanting you and the Rebels as well. But he continues to be dead set on staying at Ole Miss, even though New York says it will call again.

"They say they'll come back with another offer, but they haven't yet," he said. "So we'll see if they do."

Hively at Cal State-Fullerton

So far, the Yankees are not in the ballpark.

Hively, who is rooming with Taylor Hightower, Brett Huber, and Blair Wright since arriving from Wilmington, N.C., in the Coastal Plain League, says he truly isn't worried about whether the Yankees call again or not. Ole Miss Coach Carl Lafferty has assisted him through all of this.

"It's helped talking to Coach Lafferty," Hively said. "He's been real cool about it, more of a friend than a coach at this point. We've talked a lot. I don't want to give up the opportunity I have here (at Ole Miss)."

But like any player would, he waits to see what will happen next. Though only a rising junior, Hively will be 22 years old Nov. 27, and that means he would be considered an "older" player by next June's draft.

"My age would be 22, but really pitching-wise I'd be like 20," he said. "I took those two years off at Fullerton with a back injury."

An injury that hasn't bothered him in years and he has totally recovered from.

And so Hively goes about the business of getting adjusted to life at Ole Miss, and he's got his schedule down pat.

"I have English from 8 a.m. to 9:50 and History from 10 a.m. to 11:50. Then at 2 we start conditioning and lifting. Next week I'll start with a tutor from 4 to 5 p.m. It takes me like three minutes to get from where I live (The Exchange apartments on Old Taylor Road) to the baseball stadium."

That was easy enough. But he's still working on some other aspects.

"There are like 15 players here this summer," he said. "I don't know all their names yet, but I do know their faces. I've been here four or five days, and I'm still learning where all the roads lead."

For those associated with Ole Miss baseball, the hope is one of those roads doesn't lead out of town any time soon.

"I've looked forward to being here and playing here for a while now," Hively said. "My feeling is I'll be staying here."

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