While most Michigan students made their ways to their first classes yesterday, junior Rich Hill skipped his SMC 435 class.
The Michigan baseball team”s southpaw wasn”t merely playing hooky, but waiting to see if he might be a minor-league rookie.
At press time, Hill”s status as a Michigan student was still unclear.
In professional baseball, a team loses its rights to a drafted college player before graduation as soon as the player attends a class. Hill was drafted by Anaheim in the 7th round (210th overall pick) in June”s Major League Baseball draft. Yesterday he delayed his schooling just in case the Angels would make one last pitch for him that would be too good to let go by.
Some players in the past have gone days without going to class, while continuing contract negotiations.
“I want to sign, I”d like to sign,” Hill said as he waited at home, expecting to talk with the Angels last night.
“There have been some good talks and some not as good,” Hill said of the summer negotiations. But as he awaited the last-minute talk with the Angels, He acknowledged the sides were not as close to terms as he would like, and declined to reveal the figures discussed in negotiations.
As a sophomore last season, Hill went 3-5 with a 3.84 ERA in 10 starts for the Wolverines. He also recorded 72 strikeouts in just 43 innings pitched, but gave up 53 walks.
His father, Lloyd Hill, would like to see him sign, and the lanky lefthander said his pitching coach at Michigan, Steve Foster, was anxious to see him start his professional career as well. But father and son agree on what has held up the deal the money.
“We want him to get his degree, but we also want him to play professional baseball,” Lloyd Hill said from his home just outside Boston. “My recommendation all summer was, unless they came up with something lucrative, to get his degree.”
The elder Hill also said the best-case scenario would be for his son to complete his third year of school and then sign after next year”s draft, leaving him with fewer credits to earn after turning pro.
After June”s draft, Hill pitched in the Cape Cod league, which has produced prime-time major leaguers such as Boston star Nomar Garciaparra. Hill had a 1-2 record with a 1.91 ERA in 33 innings.
“I thought pitching (in the Cape Cod League) would help me out a lot,” Hill said.
Former Michigan pitcher and teammate Bobby Wood left after his junior year to sign with the New York Yankees after being selected in the 24th round of last year”s draft.