The back-and-forth, yes, I will, no; I won't process with Luke has become an oft-told tale, one that seems destined to become a bit of baseball lore. He changed agents, agreed to the Dodgers terms, then switched back to Scott Boras and rejected their offer. It was subsequently withdrawn and neither Luke nor Boras have negotiated with L.A. since late last fall.
This spring, he joined the Fort Worth Cats, an independent team and, while the Dodgers (along with just about every other team) have checked him out again, they didn't make contact in any last-minute effort to bring a deal about. Boras is insisting that the righthander who was college Pitcher of the Year while with Tennessee, is worth more than $3 million and deserves a major league contract. The Dodgers didn't agree on either point.
So, Hochevar goes back into the draft to create further intrigue as to what club may next be willing to call his name since, in what is viewed as a down year, he obviously is one of the better talents available.
The two the Dodgers did sign are Skyler Tripp, a lefthander, and third baseman Brian Mathews. Tripp, who was chosen in the 20th round last June, is 6-2, 170, and has good arm action. He was signed by scout Gerry Waller.
Mathews, a 45th round choice in 2005, is a 6-0, 210- pounder from Covington, Georgia. Voted the best hitter in his area when he played for Newton County High School, he then went on to Middle Georgia Junior College where in 184 at-bats he hit .342 with 11 home runs, 15 doubles and 57 RBI. Playing some first base as well, he also showed good speed, stealing 12 bases.
"Brian is blessed with a lot of power," said his coach, Craig Young. "It's hard to find kids with his abilities."
Mathews was signed by scout Lon Joyce. Both he and Tripp are expected to report to the Gulf Coast Dodgers June 11.