Cyr's Glad He's Not In Taiwan Anymore

   VERO BEACH, Fla.- It looks like Eric Cyr is going to be with Jacksonville. That's not what he really wanted; he was hoping to make Las Vegas. But it's not Taiwan, either so it's not really all that bad.  There when your shortstop kicked a ground ball, you never knew whether it was just one of those things or he was doing his best to lose.

    You think you gamble when you enter the office pool? Taiwan is the Pacific Ocean of gambling. Pete Rose would love this place! Taiwan is where the players have been known to throw games on a regular basis. Shoeless Joe would have loved this place! It's so pervasive that some players have been known to disappear to sleep with the fishes. Tony Soprano would love this place!

   And that's where Cyr finished last season. Just doing his thing, pitching good games, trying to survive in an atmosphere that he admits, "could get a bit crazy."

  Now, he's back home in the Dodger camp,  knowing that if he's not quite back up where he'd like to be, at least, he's somewhere where the game is played on a more or less sane basis.

  Cyr's a 28-year-old lefthander, a French Canadian who went to junior college in Oklahoma just like another from his part of the world, Eric Gagne. In his case, he signed with the Padres in 1999 and in 2002 made it up to San Diego. Only for fine games, though, losing the only major league decision he's ever had and he's been kicking around ever since going to the Angels, then to independent ball back home before trying the Taiwan adventure.

  He's been known to thjrow a fast ball in the low 90's when he's right, which hasn't been all the time because twice he's had bone chips removed from his elbow. He also can throw a knucklecurve upon occasion.

  Start or relief, it doesn't matter much; he can do either. What he's been looking for is a chance to show that he's healthy and is still youing enough to be a productive pitcher in a highly competive arena. And if that means Jacksonville, well, okay.

  It certainly doesn't mean Taiwan.

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