18-Year-Old Australian Pitcher Signs With Indians

CLEVELAND (AP) - Right-hander Matthew Haynes agreed to a contract with Cleveland on Friday, becoming the first amateur player from Australia to sign with the Indians.

Haynes, 18, participated in the major leagues' first-ever Baseball Academy in Australia this past year as one of the country's top amateur players.

"We are very excited about signing Matt and adding another quality young arm to our organization," said John Mirabelli, the Indians senior director of scouting. "With Matthew's body size, loose arm, and feel of pitching, we project him to be a solid starter in the future."

Mirabelli said that the signing of the 6-foot-3, 185-pound Haynes was "a groundbreaking accomplishment" for the Indians.

Haynes will report to spring training in March and is expected to begin his pro career with the Indians' rookie league team in Burlington, N.C.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)