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Tuesday, June 4, 2002
Prep pitching pair look like first-round picks

Associated Press

HOUSTON -- When Major League Baseball's amateur draft begins, Scott Kazmir and Clint Everts don't plan on wandering too far from their television sets.

That's because the Cypress Falls High School standouts figure to become just the fourth pair of prep teammates selected in the first round since baseball's draft began in 1965.

Both are expected to be among the first players taken when the draft kicks off at 1 p.m. ET today -- perhaps among the top five.

Kazmir is a 6-foot left-hander who struck out 172 batters in 75 innings this season and is widely regarded as the best high school pitcher available.

The Cincinnati Reds have expressed a strong interest in drafting Kazmir with the third pick in the draft, according to today's editions of the Houston Chronicle.

One Reds official said Kazmir had a "dazzling" workout Sunday afternoon at Cinergy Field in Cincinnati. With about 50 club officials and players watching in the home bullpen, Kazmir was consistently clocked at around 96 mph and also showed off an impressive curveball.

But the Reds may balk at Kazmir's demand of $3 or $4 million signing bonus, several sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Chronicle Monday night.

"It's been kind of a roller coaster the last few days," said Debra Kazmir, Scott's mother. "Scott is more relaxed than any of us."

Meanwhile, a league source told the Chronicle that Everts and the Montreal Expos, who own the fifth pick, have agreed to a $2 million signing bonus. Everts is a 6-foot-1 right-hander who struck out 157 in 81 innings.

Everts has worked out for Expos general manager Omar Minaya, but he's still not certain where he'll be playing next season.

"The team that picks me will be my favorite team," Everts said. "I'll make the best of it no matter where I'm headed. I'm really excited. These have been the longest days of my life, and I can't wait to find out."

The Pittsburgh Pirates have the first overall choice in the draft and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays have the second pick.