Indians Take Pitcher With First Pick

CLEVELAND (AP) - The Indians selected Stanford junior right-hander Jeremy Guthrie with their first pick of the 2002 baseball draft Tuesday, the 22nd selection overall.

"He's a winner from an elite college program," said John Mirabelli, Indians assistant general manager, scouting operations. "We believe he is a solid major-league prospect."

Guthrie, 23, is 11-1 with a 2.34 ERA in 134 1-3 innings this spring for the Cardinal. He is 24-5 with a 2.58 ERA over his last two seasons.

"Jeremy is older because he did a two-year Mormon mission before returning to college," Mirabelli said. "We like his maturity and like his talent."

Cleveland continued a recent trend of selecting pitchers. A year ago, the Indians' first three picks and eight of their top nine were pitchers, including California high schooler Dan Denham in the first round.

It was the eighth time in 11 years that Cleveland selected a pitcher in the first round. Four of those pitchers, Paul Shuey, Jaret Wright, Tim Drew and C.C. Sabathia, have made it to the big club.

"Our philosophy throughout this draft was to take the best player available in the top rounds and address the needs of the organization in later rounds," Mirabelli said. "While this draft was only fair in terms of future major league talent, it is important for us to infuse some young talent into the organization."

Cleveland had seven picks among the first 94. The Indians got two picks for losing free agent Juan Gonzalez to Texas, another for losing free agent Marty Cordova to Baltimore and another for not being able to sign first-round pick Alan Horne from a year ago.

The Indians took third baseman Matt Whitney, 18, from Palm Gardens (Fla.) High School with the 33rd overall selection and second baseman Micah Schilling, 19, of Silliman Institute High School in Clinton, La., with pick No. 41 overall.

"This draft had some good high school position players," Mirabelli said. "With both Whitney and Schilling, we believe they had advanced bats for high schoolers."

Cleveland took another pitcher, right-hander Brian Slocum of Villanova University with pick No. 63, followed by third baseman Pat Osborn of the University of Florida at No. 72, Stanford outfielder Jason Cooper, left-hander Daniel Cervette of Elkland (Pa.) High School and first baseman Fernando Pacheo of Montgomery H.S. in San Diego.

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