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MLB 2nd-rounder Andy Suarez does the unexpected & returns to the Canes -- & other UM baseball news

I just looked back at a blog I wrote last month before going on vacation and saw the title: "Could Miami Hurricanes get back LHP Andy Suarez? Doubt it. But he still hasn't signed with Nationals."

Well, as of 5 p.m. today (Friday, July 18th), the improbable became true -- and Suarez will return to play for the Miami Hurricanes in 2015.

We spoke on the phone as the clock struck 5 and the signing deadline for Major League Baseball passed. Same old Andy: low-key, polite and very pleasant -- just a nice young man who is looking forward to returning to Coral Gables for his redshirt junior season.

Did he make the right decision? We'll know in another year. But he said he is "positive'' he did.

Bottom line, according to Suarez: The Nationals did not offer him more than the slot value of $987,800 for his place as the 57th overall pick.

He did not tell me their offer.

"I wasn't going to sign for slot and we didn't agree in negotiations,'' he told me. "And that was it pretty much. I feel like coming back is a good decision for me. I'm going to get my degree (in  criminology, with minor in psychology) and I'll be a junior so I can still negotiate.

"I'm feeling stronger than ever, really good, and hopefully it stays the same throughout the year.

"I know for sure I made the right decision. It's a win-win for me. 

"I'm really excited. We have unfinished business to take care of. I feel like this could be our year to make it to Omaha. We'll have some veteran hitters coming back next year and a lot of guys will do their jobs."

  Suarez, 21, is 6-2 and now 205 pounds. He had a 6-3 record this past season with a 2.95 ERA in 109.2 innings. He struck out 87 batters and walked just 15. He graduated from Christopher Columbus High and lives with his family in Miami.

He said he talked to the Nationals earlier this week. "They said they were just going to offer me slot and I told them I wasn't going to sign for that,'' he said. 

From the Washington Post online Friday: "The Nationals signed first-round pick Erick Fedde with a bonus worth just over $2.5 million, a deal that softened the blow from the Nationals’ inability to sign their second round pick."

Fedde is a right-handed pitcher who was selected 18th in the first round.

  UM coach Jim Morris was naturally ecstatic to get Suarez back. We spoke by telephone just after 5 p.m. because Morris wanted to be sure he was getting Suarez back.

  "He told me at 2:40 p.m. but I wasn't going to comment until afterward,'' Morris said. "I don't know if I have ever said this early who our starting pitcher would be on opening night. I don't know who the No. 2 pitcher is, but I know Andy Suarez is No. 1.

"Everything is special about Andy. He's a great kid, outstanding student and he throws the best pitch in baseball -- a strike. He has an outstanding breaking ball. He throws his curveball, slider and changeup for strikes."

 Suarez's fastball ranges from the low 90s to 95 mph.

The Canes finished the season 44-19 and lost to Texas Tech in the championship game of the Coral Gables Regional. They were 41-17 in the regular season for a .707 winning percentage, third only to national seeds Virginia (.772) and Florida State (.741) -- both fellow members of the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Miami won the regular-season ACC crown with a 24-6 league record (.800).

Morris said he wants to keep All-American closer Bryan Garcia as his closer next season, and wants to keep Cooper Hammond as the set-up reliever.

Right-handed pitcher Andy Honiotes, from Geneva, Ill., is coming off Tommy John surgery and will be on the roster next season as a redshirt freshman.

Also, Michael Mediavilla, a 6-5, 200-pound left-handed pitcher/first-baseman out of mater academy, will come to the Canes after being drafted last month in the 40th round by the Reds. He graduated from Mater Academy. 

Carl Chester, a 6-0, 185-pound outfielder who was drafted last month in the 38th round by the Brewers, also will play for UM next season. He's from Longwood, Fl and graduated from Lake Brantley.

 And 6-2 infielder George Iskenderian (Don Bosco Prep graduate in 2012), who played his freshman season for South Carolina and then transferred to Indian River State (drafted in 34th round recently by the Cardinals), will be joining the Hurricanes as well. 

 SUSAN MILLER DEGNAN

 

 

 

 

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