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Jim Morris expects team MVP Zeke DeVoss to sign with Cubs this weekend

Jim Morris isn't feeling sorry for himself. But somebody ought to give him a hug. 

After losing for the third straight year to the rival Florida Gators in the NCAA Tournament, the last few weeks haven't been kind to Morris or his University of Miami baseball team.

Jim Morris The team's top two incoming recruits -- third baseman Corey Spangenberg and left-handed pitcher Henry Owens -- were taken in the first round of the MLB Draft. He doesn't expect to get either of them.

Seven of his underclassmen were drafted and six according to Morris (infielder Harold Martinez, outfielder Nathan Melendres, catcher David Villasuso and pitchers Danny Miranda, Sam Robinson and Travis Miller) have already signed with their respective pro teams. Now Morris said he expects the one that hasn't, center fielder and team MVP Zeke DeVoss, to sign with the Cubs when he flies to Chicago on Saturday and meets with team officials.

"We just haven't been very lucky the last two years when it comes to the pro draft," Morris said Thursday. "I was hoping Zeke would come back, but it's probably not going to happen.

"Ultimately, at the end of the day if the pro people want them, they're going to get them. The only thing I can do is offer them a scholarship and tell 'em I love 'em. They can offer them a scholarship, tell them they love 'em and give 'em a million bucks."

The Hurricanes, who finished 38-23 and ranked 24th in USA Today's final college baseball poll, will have to holes to fill over the next few weeks. Morris said that starts with replacing his three best relief pitchers, a center fielder, a first baseman and a catcher.

"The strength of our team is going to be the starting rotation -- we've got all those guys back," Morris said. "We've got Rony Rodriguez coming back, who was our leading home run guy and RBI guy. He made as much improvement as anybody on the team. But we have to improve offensively. Some guys will be good players. We just have to make some adjustments."

Morris is working on that.

Zeke DeVoss In the two weeks since hitting coach Joe Mercandante stepped down after four years on the job, Morris said he's spoken to people across all levels of baseball -- from super agent Scott Boras to general managers and scouting directors, who have all recommended someone for the job. Morris said he's narrowed his list down to five candidates and expects to make a hire in the next two weeks so that the new assistant coach can begin recruiting and evaluating players in the offseason.

"I've been absolutely bombarded with phone calls," Morris said. "I'm trying to make the right decisions based on a lot things. The No. 1 thing is to make our hitters better.

"Some of these guys don't want me to mention names. But I've had quite a few former players who played here and played for me in other places who have applied for a position. It's a hard thing for me. It's hard to talk to some of my former players and say 'No.' I've made some players mad at me over the years. In the end, I have to name one person. This is a very important call for me."

Miami, which hasn't been to the College World Series since 2008, finished 181st in batting average last season (.275), tied for 158th with 5.5 runs a game (333 total) and tied for 98th with 33 home runs. Three of the team's top four hitters won't be coming back. Last season, UM hit .295, averaged 7.5 runs a game (478 total) and hit 106 homers.

UM does have a few talented players who signed National Letters of Intent that could be coming in. Miami Columbus High left-hander Andrew Suarez (a 9th round pick), shortstop Jack Lopez (16th round pick) out of Deltona, right-hander Jace Herrera (36th round pick) out of Apopka and right-hander/outfielder Alex Fernandez Jr. (46th round pick). Morris said he also has verbal commitments from two junior college prospects and a transfer from another four-year program he can't talk about because they haven't signed National Letters of Intent.

But he's not counting on anybody coming until after midnight August 15th, the last day players can sign with the teams that drafted them.

"Last year we lost seven guys in the last 24 hours of that weekend," Morris said. "[Marlins first round pick] Christian Yelich signed at 11:59. At 11:58, we thought he was coming to school.

"I had a kid tell me once they weren't going to sign unless they got $500,000. He signed at the last minute for $75,000. So I never say this guy is coming or that guy is definitely coming. It's frustrating, but I try not to think about it. We just got have a little luck. We have to keep Jack Lopez. We need to keep [Andrew] Suarez. The guys who were drafted, we'll start with those guys and say we need to keep those guys. I'm not saying we will. But we need to."

> One player who definitely won't be coming back is freshman catcher Shane Rowland, who asked for his release. The former Tampa Catholic Aflac All-American started 41 games and hit .175 with one homer and 13 RBI. Morris said Rowland is probably headed to Junior College.

Comments

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Wow. Our football team is a pipeline to the NFL, and now our baseball team is loading up the MLB ranks.

NFL U, meet MLB U.

Now Morris will have to reload, again, to stay a Top 25 team. Good luck, coach!

Yea Our team is going to take the top one day!!!!!!!!

out of all those guys, which ones actually have a chance to make it to the bigs????

I ain't a hater but Morris is horrible.. I still can't understand why he's gotten a pass.

I sweated out watching Fs-who, or the turds in the cws. Why why are we losing so fl kids to the 'necks up in north fla? Morris must be held accountable

Thi is a historic team- 4 nat. Championships . UF/Fsu zilch! Morris team played like a high school team

Morris has to be fired... And or held accountable

Turds or seemenhole fans:

Win something before you talk

Now you know just how hard it is to win a nc. Let alone fo'

Right the ship Coach Morris. We still love you.

Never has Miami had as many players in the bigs as they do now. The draft has rely affected the state of Miami baseball. Cant fault him for that.

The injustices that happen to this team are unfathonable. This kind of stuff never happens to other teams. And on top of everything, they lose Rowland. Good grief, how much can a coach take? Well, at least he is setting the expectaions high for next year. And where is Mercandante going? And why?

Come on guys please. Enuf with the excuses this happens to all of the top programs. What really matters is winning ships
Morris hasn't even come close for over6 yrs!

The turds are in no shape to talk...speaking of shapes, has anyone seen charlie weiss in shorts and and tshirt?

Right the ship Coach Morris. We still love you.

Posted by: UMPride9NCs | June 30, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Ditto

Morris is making excuses, look at SC, they have won back to back championships with very good players, when is he going to be held accountable, get rid of him if he cant secure good talent.

It is a fact that people draft Miami players and signees higher than they should be on their board. BA had Zeke outside their top 200 and he goes 98th. Harold goes 90th with the season he had this year. And other than Castellanos, we had three kids shoot up the rounds and get paid way above scale who would not have gotten AS HARD A LOOK if they were not Miami signees. Cole, Luke, & Yulich. Yorby was never gonna sign. That is why I hated it as a fan but loved it once the season started when baseball and its draft still lived in the pre-internet world, with kids who were taken in the top 5 rounds sometimes not finding out until several days later ... & This is the early 90s I am talking about, not some wobegone era.

I am not a huge Morris fan. His in game decisions make me scratch my head. But his record of gettng us to, what is it, 12 College World Series in 17 years (maybe 18) is pretty damn impressive. And the last time we went was hardle an eternity, but rather in 08 when Yonder & Co underachieved, but its hard to put it on them when we have one starter go down and another tear his arm, then our defense fall apart UNLESS people are finally willing to admit that Bellamy - a real closer - and not Gutierrez shoulda been out there versus GA. Georgia had seen a first rd closer in their own clubhouse in Fields and Gutierrez brought a lot to the table, but confidence & the ability to throw first pitch strikes and keep the bases clean were not any of them. Still, Championships in 99 & 01 with allegedly rebuilding clubs and a damn Homer from the light hitting Warren Morris yet we still have 2 Championships in the last 13 years, something most would happily take. I think we need a new HC soon, but I am not sure now is the right time as I dont know who would be the right guy.

Let me beat this drum again...

1. Every team loses signees. It's no excuse for success with the ones you do get.

2. In my humble opinion, we bank too much on light-hitting Hispanic players because they are "local" and they have (for the most part) failed Morris and UM miserably. Look at the rosters of UF and USC...how many Hispanic names do you see? Need more "good 'ol boys". But frankly...all the batters have let UM down. I know this sounds like I'm dumping on the Hispanic population; I'm truly not. The reverse is true...I would praise them if they were doing well. The fact is, they are not.

3. All the catchers used this year were horrible.

I'm sure the kids were good kids from a "citizen" perspective, but the fact of the matter is many underperfomed to the hype they got in High School. That means the evaluation process is faulty.

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