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January 26, 2013

Baseball feels slighted at being left out of polls

Coach Jim Morris knows this Hurricane baseball team isn't getting a lot of preseason national respect.

"In all honesty the polls aren't showing us a lot of respect (with UM not in the top 25), which I don't like," Morris said. "We have to prove we're as good as we've always been. I think this is the first time since I came to Miami we aren't ranked in the top 25 (to start a season)."

Morris adds that "I think we're going to have a good club, will surprise some people."

- Asked to talk about the passing of Ron Fraser, Morris said, "I can tell you what coach Fraser meant to me. Coach Fraser was like a dad to me. I was an assistant for him on the USA team in 1987, and coach Fraser is the most influential guy on my career, on a lot of guys' careers. No better person. The most influential guy in the history of college baseball, in my opinion. I love coach Fraser. I've known him forever. When I got here I said I have an office in his building.

"It's a very, very sad week for us to lose such a great person."

Morris said the team will likely hold some of the interesting promotions Fraser came up with to honor him this season.

Morris also said the team is committed to putting up a statue of Fraser at the stadium.

"We're going to do a lot of stuff," Morris said. "We're having a Ron Fraser night at the ball park, doing some special things."

* David Thompson has started working in at third base in addition to first base and outfield.

Thompson is coming off shoulder surgery, and Morris is taking him along slowly.

"I'm at full go now; it's been a while," said Thompson, who also plays quarterback for the Canes. "It feels great to be back."

Thompson said his arm strength "is getting there."

He said he's throwing a football every day or two in addition to playing baseball. While Thompson said he isn't ruling out participating in some spring football practices if it's a baseball off day, Jim Morris said he doesn't think that will happen.

"In the fall David is a football player; in the spring he is a baseball player," Morris said. "So he will not go to spring practice. And next fall he won't go to any baseball practice."

Morris added that "With that said I'm sure he'll still be over there some. David feels he can play both sports at the highest level."

Asked if he feels he throws a football or baseball better, Thompson said, "I think I throw a football a lot better than I throw a baseball, but it's a lot more stress on my shoulder right now (throwing a football). So I guess baseball is easier to come back to."

Thompson said he has no plans to choose one sport or the other at this point.

Thompson also says he doesn't expect his arm strength to be the same in football when he first comes back, but that it should return as he keeps playing in the fall.

Asked about UM having six scholarship quarterbacks in the fall, Thompson said, "It's a lot, but I'm not going to question anything coach (Al) Golden does.

"Coach is trying to win championships. Stephen (Morris) will be the starter. We'll see ... just trying to compete, and the best guys will play."

- Thompson says he has "some soreness" in the injured shoulder but said it's to be expected coming off his injury.

* Freshman LF Grant Heyman said that "fall ball went really well for me. I think the team's really starting to come together. We're really looking sharp so far."

Heyman was drafted in the 11th round by the Toronto Blue Jays but opted to attend college.

"It was a real tough decision," he said. "I think I definitely made the right decision. These are the best coaches I've ever worked with. I've learned so much. it's been amazing."

Heyman says his job on the team is "to provide a big lefty bat in the lineup."

He hit nine home runs in his high school team's 18 games last season.

* SP Bryan Radziewski says "it feels great" coming off arm surgery that cost him most of last season.

"I had the opportunity to pitch the other day," he said. "It was long (recovering from the labrum injury), seven months of straight therapy. I just got to 100 percent two weeks ago.

"I still have command of everything. That's the most important thing for me."

Radziewski says he's back to throwing in the high 80s.

- Radziewski hopes this year's team can be the one that returns to the College World Series.

"It gives us a bad taste in our mouths every time we don't make it to Omaha," he said ."We always have that chip on our shoulder and we are just trying to get the respect back to the program."

Asked if there's a loss of respect for UM's program, he said, "I'd say so. The rankings come out and we're not even preseason top 25."

* Michael Broad is a full-time outfielder and will start, according to Morris.

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