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News and notes from the start of Canes spring baseball practice

Al Golden didn't get a chance to see David Thompson rifle passes to receivers this fall, but Jim Morris will get to see him use his bat this spring.

The talented freshman, who set a state record for career home runs and wiped Alex Rodriguez's name from the top of the record books at Miami Westminster Christian School, said Friday he is healthy and ready to make an impact for the Hurricanes.

Although Thompson doesn't have a set position just yet -- he's working at third base, first base and left field – chances are he's going to find a spot in the starting lineup.

"He can hit," said Morris, whose team practiced for the first time this spring on Friday -- exactly three weeks before the season opening weekend series at home against Rutgers.

"He's a good athlete, knows how to win and works very, very hard. And he can hit. When you can hit, you find a place to play."

Thompson, who had right shoulder surgery in June to repair a torn labrum, is one of a handful of newcomers -- and a few players coming back from surgery -- Morris is counting on to help turn the program around.

The others: left-handed starting pitchers Bryan Radziewski (the only player who wasn't ready to go at the start of practice Friday coming off shoulder surgery) and Andrew Suarez (a ninth round pick in 2011 who only pitched three innings in an exhibition game against the Marlins before having shoulder surgery himself); middle infielders Brandon Lopez (who could get a chance to compete for the closer's role) and Alex Hernandez (a JUCO transfer from Palm Beach Central who was the team's unofficial MVP in the fall) and left-handed power hitting freshman outfielder Grant Heyman (an 11th round pick of the Blue Jays  whom Morris said was hitting balls into the upper deck of the parking lot in the fall).

The Hurricanes, coming off a disappointing 36-22 season in which they lost their first regional at home since 1990, were tabbed to finish fourth in the Coastal Division in a preseason poll by ACC coaches on Friday. That hardly bothered Morris as much as the fact UM is entering the season unranked in Baseball America's Top 25 poll for the first time since he took over in 1994.

"There's a lot of questions we need to answer," Morris said. "I think we're going to have a good club and surprise some people, but to be honest, the polls aren't showing us a lot respect, which I don't like. We've got to prove we're as good as we've always been."

Morris said his biggest concern is the bullpen. Even though 2012 team MVP and left-handed reliever A.J. Salcines (3-0, 1.40 ERA, 7 SVs) is back along with right-hander Eric Nedeljkovic (0-1, 1.78 ERA, 4 SVs), Morris said Salcines is "not a prototype closer" and the team needs to find "guys that are proven that can do it every day."

"I think our defense will be much improved,” Morris said. "Our starting pitching should be good. We just have to figure out the bullpen."

MORE NEWS AND NOTES FROM FRIDAY...

> Thompson said his arm strength is “getting back to what it was.” Although he experiences some natural soreness, it’s not hurting him at all. Thompson said he’s making sure to throw a football around every couple days to stay sharp.

“I play catch with a lot of these guys after practice,” Thompson said. “[Center fielder] Dale [Carey] is a pretty good receiver. He's got the speed.”

Although Thompson missed the majority of fall baseball practices recovering from surgery, he was able to get some work in, hitting .316 in 19 at-bats. Three of his six hits went for doubles. He also said he was able to hit one ball out of the park at Mark Light Field.

“I have to be more patient than I was in high school,” Thompson said. “I always thought I could any pitch in high school no matter where it was. The way the ball moves, speed, and location, it’s a big difference.”

Morris said although Thompson is full committed to play baseball in the spring and football in the fall, he expects he will sneak over to get some spring work in on the gridiron.

"I'm sure he's going to still be over there some," Morris said. "I just know his mentality. I know he's a worker and David feels like he can play sports at the highest level."

Heyman called Thompson "a great hitter, probably the best hitter I've ever seen."

"He doesn't miss," Heyman continued. "It was amazing. He came out here first fall ball game and faced one of our better pitchers and just ripped a double down the line. I wasn't like that. It took me a couple weeks just to see the pitching.

"I'm really looking forward to playing with him the next three or four years. It's going to be really fun. He's a great guy too. Hopefully we'll make a good duo in the future."

> Suarez, who had surgery on April 9th, 2012 to repair a slight tear on his labrum and a bone spur on the back of his rotator cuff, said he hasn't felt any pain in his come back. He pitched in a few scrimmages over the fall and expects to be ready for the season. But he expects to let loose for the first time over the weekend and test his velocity.

"They haven't really gunned me yet. Sunday I'll find out," said Suarez, who allowed only two hits and struck out one in three scoreless innings of work in his only start for the Hurricanes last March in an exhibition against the Marlins. "I'm excited. The hitters told me I was throwing hard and stuff. We'll see what the [radar] gun says."

Morris said Suarez "may have the highest ceiling of anybody on the pitching staff."

"He's the highest drafted player on the team," Morris said. "He was hurt in high school, had the surgery last year after a few weeks. He's doing really well. He's doing good and had absolutely no setbacks in his program. We think he has a very good chance to start for us on the weekends."

> Morris said senior Michael Broad, who hit just .243 with four home runs and 30 RBI last season, should start in left field and hit somewhere in the middle of the lineup.

"We've moved strictly from the infield to the outfield, it should help him relax a little bit at the plate," Morris said. "He was hurt last year, but didn't have the type of year he wanted to have."

> Morris said the baseball team will do plenty to honor the late legendary coach Ron Fraser this season.

"We're going to do a lot of stuff. It's going to be a big thing, rightfully so," Morris said. We're having a Ron Fraser night and doing some special things you need to be here for that nobody is going to know until game time. We've talked about the season being committed and dedicated to Ron Fraser. I wouldn't be surprised if we pull somethings out of the hat Coach Fraser did."

Comments

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ZOok hit it right on the head.

Gallo, aka negative nancy. Where your girl Calvina at?

By the way- Props to the U round ball team. THAT is a perfect example of playing with energy, 100% team effort. No individuals. Believing in yourself and your brothers.

Of course, superb PG play won't hurt either.

I will hesitate to make predictions on how far this team will go. Too early. Too much bb to play yet.

Gallo- I will call you Gallina (chicken) from now on:

Coach L inherited the players from Haith, but I do agree that his 1 year turn around was absolutely amazing. he is agreat coach.He did it before at george mason.


thomas - collins - kirkland - bostwick -coley....i am afraid we lost bryant is looks like....

mario/coley/barrow....get these guys I say we win 10 games 2013...they are that important

basketball team big spread on fsu win....like I said....they have a real shot at national championship...should get to elite 8 march 30/31 if they kep playing with this type of intensity....golden you watching.....turnijg around a basketball team is just as hard as a football team.....after 1 season look at these guys...terrific...

golden better hope in a way these canes dont make it to the ncaa championship....you think you have heat now, wait

Posted by: Jim Gallo | January 28, 2013 at 07:30 AM
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lol, that would be funny if this team got to the big dance.

Also, for those saying jim got left with frank haith players, that was not butch davis leaving, lol, although the talent is good, shane larkin is a jim larranage recruit who's actually making it all go. Plus haith never had a team playing at this level, haith only gets credit from me for leaving.

That guy was a cry baby, crying about he was about to go in his office one day and somebody asked him "can i help you" so he goes to the paper and starts complaining saying something like, "i've been here for so and so many years and people still don't recognize me" lol, spoken like a True loser. It's obvious this guy thinks he's better than what he really is.

Their is absolutely no excuse not to be able to get matthew thomas, kirkland or alex collins(except for trying to outbid the sec). We have the offensive fire power, now if we don't get those guys, i'm sure it's obvious why.

Going to be fun these next 7 days, lol, NO EXCUSES!

I love the young KAK.

I'm not sure what the hype is over trying to flip this rashard robinson db myself, need t ogo after goons like mackensie alexander. Instead of getting salty with kids who don't want to come all the way to your camps, when you go to their games you can't see what you need to see than, lol.

Anyway, we'll should start seeing what kind of eye for talent goldie has come this year. We know they did good with eddie johnson, and i'll throw in olsen pierre and corey king looks like he's going to be real solid as well, other than that, time will tell. But it definitely behooves goldie to rack up on Miami and South Florida talent, who cares about the stars!

You know how much we love Pompano DBs who are committed to lsu.

our right.....I think al golden is wrong for UM....thats no secret...its been mistake after mistake....the guy is 13-11 give me a break here Um is not some weak program...we have long history of success.....there is no rebuilding time, we just get rid of good athletes and keep weak coaches (dnofrio) that cant be denied.....

I'm glad they blasted that snitch Rick Ross. Nevin you next.

our right.....I think al golden is wrong for UM....thats no secret...its been mistake after mistake....the guy is 13-11 give me a break here Um is not some weak program...we have long history of success.....there is no rebuilding time, we just get rid of good athletes and keep weak coaches (dnofrio) that cant be denied.....

Posted by: Jim Gallo | January 28, 2013 at 12:01 PM
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That's exactly why it's comical and a joke to hear people who say they're UM fans and claim goldie has to rebuild this program. We all the access to talent he has here, shouldn't take that long to get it done. He didn't take over a program depleted in talent like shannon did. People got mad at shannon and were calling for his head even though matt phipo was his starting right tackle.

shannon added mostly skill position players first, and which brought back the excitment, but alot of people failed to realize, which is why i always maintained even when i heard it, no way was that 2008 class the #1 recruiting class, those clowns who said that don't know jack about football. shannon's best class is the one goldie has and that was his 2010 class because it was his most physical class and had the most quality trench players in their.

I'm real sure if shannon had to do it all over again, that's the direction he would go first, trench guys.

The 2008 class was a major disappointment, Shannon shouldn't take the blame for that? How about his handling of the whole Jacory/Marve situation? Arthur Brown?

He also could've learned to use a timeout. Get a copy of Madden and learn to manage timeouts!!!!

Only people who dont know about football try and make a big deal about how shannon handled the marve/jacory qb situation. For those who think shannon didn't know what he was doing, many of you who claim to know football and are always crying about, back-up qb's, how else was shannon going to get any of the qb's experience but to play both of them in their first years of being eligible. Do yall have amnesia, had marve not gotten hurt in that car accident, he would've had game experience by than and would've maybe been the clear cut leader going into 2008.

But most of you act as if shannon was suppose to just let jacory ride the pine or marve ride the pine until one of them got hurt and than send them in. Than furthermore, most act as if it was just marve starting or jacory starting, we were going to go undefeated or something. It was the smart thing to do, get both of them game experience than come the following year, let them battle it out, but of course marve and his crew wanted shannon to automatically name him the starter. Than, if you know what some knew about marve behind the scenes, a qb has to give the headcoach a level of comfort that he can reliable off the field as well, not just on the field, marve didn't do that.

2010 was a good recruiting class....just ask golden. shannon kept him going 0-12..

look who was leaning towards UM but decided not to come when shannon got fired:

Teddy Bridgewater, Lamarcus Joyner, Matt Elam, Jeff Luc, Demar Dorsey, Chris Dunkley, Gerald Christian, James Louis, Corey Lemonier, Ivan McCartney, Willis Wright, Dallas Crawford, Sammy Watkins, Eli Rogers,Anthony Rabasa and Jeremy Cashgine what UM

Imagine what UM would be today.....be careful what you wish for...

So that whole jacory/marve thing is a non-issue, marve ran from the competition, he wasn't better than jacory anyway and had way more opportnities to win the starting job out-right than jacory, but when j70 is coming in bailing the team out game in and game out, the proof was clear.

Than the arthur brown situation, if anybody saw the oregon/k st. game, you'll see and know exactly why arthur brown couldn't start at UM, plus anybody trying to question shannon's ability to evaluate and place linebackers where they can excel best, don't know anything about football. shannon was one of the ones not only dring his coaching days, but during is playing days that alot of guys came to to learn. shannon's track record is clear, from ken norton to jack del rio to zach thomas, ray lewis on down, if you can't think in that 4-3 scheme you want see the field in that defense at UM.

This defense now would fit arthur brown to the T, doesn't require checks, it's more of a flow to the ball type of defense. That's one player who was athletic but that's not the only thing that's going to get you on the field at Miami under our 4-3 schemes.

So that whole jacory/marve thing is a non-issue, marve ran from the competition, he wasn't better than jacory anyway and had way more opportnities to win the starting job out-right than jacory, but when j70 is coming in bailing the team out game in and game out, the proof was clear.

Than the arthur brown situation, if anybody saw the oregon/k st. game, you'll see and know exactly why arthur brown couldn't start at UM, plus anybody trying to question shannon's ability to evaluate and place linebackers where they can excel best, don't know anything about football. shannon was one of the ones not only dring his coaching days, but during is playing days that alot of guys came to to learn. shannon's track record is clear, from ken norton to jack del rio to zach thomas, ray lewis on down, if you can't think in that 4-3 scheme you want see the field in that defense at UM.

People want to blame shannon for the timeouts, lol, what alot of people fail to realize is, mark nipple was hired by kirby locutt/administration, made the assistant headcoach and had full reign of the offense, shannon was still in charge of the personnel though, so many times shannon left it up to nipple to use the timeouts, but once nipple's relationships with shannon and jacory failed, that was part of it. But hell, goldie hasn't been using time-outs the best either, so should he get a copy of madden as well.

In fact with goldie's teams, since he's gotten blown out on several occassions now, no need in using timeouts in his book. Tight games, uh oh, it's easy to look relaxed during blow-outs either way, come tight games, we'll see who the real strategist are.

The only people that are dissappointed in the 2008 class are the people who either don't know football or are looking at it the wrong way. Who rated that class #1, if a class is rated #1 before any player in that class has played a down is that really a True rating.

2ndly, how is it that a class full of linebackers and wide-receivers be rated #1, most let these same websites who don't know much get yall hopes up high instead of using your own brains!

When you have a 2 QB system it really means you don't have a QB at all. Shannon completely mishandled that situation and marginalized a kid who really wanted to be here. Jacory went on to QB some epic disasters that I'm sure you'll blame on Whipple.

Arthur Brown did everything right and never got a chance to play for Shannon.

So the 2008 class isn't a disappointment? They were what you thought they'd be? Forston, Aldarius...those guys are what you thought you were getting?

If you watch any game outside of Miami-FSU that one year we won, you'll see why Jacory is better off selling insurance and watching Sponge Bob.

It's a week from LOI day are we really going to talk about Randy Shannon? Seriously, if anyone thought Shannon was at all competent as either a Head Coach or Defensive Coordinator, they would've beaten down his door for countless jobs that are available.

wait championships you didnt think they were any good...what happened?......

this team is going to the elite 8 then to the national championship.....golden take notes....mr excuse maker

2010 was a good recruiting class....just ask golden. shannon kept him going 0-12..

look who was leaning towards UM but decided not to come when shannon got fired:

Teddy Bridgewater, Lamarcus Joyner, Matt Elam, Jeff Luc, Demar Dorsey, Chris Dunkley, Gerald Christian, James Louis, Corey Lemonier, Ivan McCartney, Willis Wright, Dallas Crawford, Sammy Watkins, Eli Rogers,Anthony Rabasa and Jeremy Cashgine what UM

Imagine what UM would be today.....be careful what you wish for...

Posted by: Jim Gallo | January 28, 2013 at 02:34 PM
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They don't know man, they trying to stay away from the guys that are grilled up. You already know goldie and crew not use to that yet. That's why they keep moving more to the tampa area, where they're a lil less rowdy, but you not gone win nobody's championship without having some goons out their on that football field. free ej, rashwan scott and gabe terry, let the goons goon. If they do it off the field they're going to do it on the field too. Will goldie be able to make that transition, going to be real fun when Jamal carter comes to town to as well.

In fact, in the runningbacks coach get snatched up by coach jedd fisch, that would open the door for the circle to almost be complete, coach soldinger is waiting in the wings, and if he gets a hold of duke and alex collins decides to come on down, the kehoe soldinger tandem will be back in full effect, you talking bout a coaching staff getting hype, lol.

really.....it is insane, who cares about a beat up ratty 13" apple laptop that was taken by mistake.

G Paul..all is forgotten, bring ray-ray back as your guest

go miami high....the 305 will rise again, lol

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