<
>

Young had offer from NBA's Kings

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Chris Young never expected to have to chose again between baseball and basketball. The Texas Rangers helped make it an easy decision for the 6-foot-10 pitcher.

Young, approached recently by the Sacramento Kings about playing in the NBA, got a new three-year, $1.5 million contract Friday from
the Rangers. The deal includes a team option for 2008.

The 25-year-old right-hander was traded from Montreal to the
Rangers at the end of spring training, and made his major league
debut Aug. 24. Young went 3-2 with a 4.71 ERA in seven starts. He
got his first win Sept. 4 at Fenway Park when he ended a 10-game
winning streak by eventual World Series champion Boston.

Those six weeks in the major leagues and his expected role in
the starting rotation next season helped Young decide to stick with
baseball.

"Being able to get the major league experience, seeing where I fit in, see how I could compete at this level was a big factor in
that," Young said. "Had I been in the minor leagues, there's no
doubt I would have had some questions about my future as a big
league pitcher."

Young was a two-sport standout at Princeton, and led the Tigers basketball team with 13.5 points and 5.8 rebounds a game as a
sophomore during the 1999-2000 season. That was the last time Young played basketball competitively.

The Pittsburgh Pirates took him in the third round of the draft
in the summer of 2000, and he started his pro baseball career.

But Young wasn't forgotten as a basketball player by two
Sacramento officials with Princeton ties: assistant coach Pete
Carril, his coach at Princeton, and general manager Geoff Petrie,
an alumnus of the Ivy League school. When the Kings lost 7-1 center
Vlade Divac in free agency this summer, they contacted Young.

"It was a surprise to me that Sacramento came to me and offered me to join their team," Young said. "It was a very tough
dilemma."

Young told the Kings he would consider their offer only after
the baseball season, and by then he was part of the Rangers
rotation.

"I realized one of my goals in becoming a major league
pitcher," Young said. "To get three wins down the stretch
pitching in a pennant race was unbelievable. Pitching in my
hometown, it was pretty much a dream come true. But that being
said, I think there's a lot to build on."

Notes
The Rangers claimed INF Ruddy Yan off waivers from the Chicago White Sox. ... RHP John Wasdin, INF Manny Alexander and OFs Chad Allen and Jason Conti were among 13 players signed to minor league contracts and invited to spring training.