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Both those games went Big Spring's way. But Eagles' coach Bubba Williams
is hoping some extra rest given to pitcher Jason Abila helps him produce
the same results he got a year ago, when the Eagles host the Steers
tonight at 7:30 p.m.
Pecos' playoff fate may rest on tonight's game. A win would eliminate
the Steers in the three-way race for the final District 4-4A playoff
berth, while a loss could eliminate Pecos from the playoff race before
they play their final game of the season, at Fort Stockton on Friday.
Two years ago, the Eagles had a chance to clinch a playoff berth with a
home win over the Steers, but wound up losing, 7-2, as Big Spring moved
on to the fifth of their current six straight post-season appearances.
The Eagles come into tonight's game in a major hitting slump, having
gotten only three hits in two shutout losses to Andrews and San Angelo
Lake View last week. They dropped Pecos to 3-5 in district, 12-9
Big Spring, meanwhile, comes in off a 2-1 loss to Sweetwater a week ago
and are 2-5 in district, 6-16 on the season. They need wins in each of
their final three games to again advance to the playoffs.
On April 9, it was the Steers who faced the Eagles after back-to-back
shutout losses in which they collected just three hits. But Danny Hull
blanked Pecos for 6 2-3 innings, and Big Spring went on to a 5-1 victory.
Hull will start again tonight for the Steers, while Williams will go
with Abila, 5-2, who defeated Big Spring twice last season.
However, the junior has been feeling tired as of late, and Williams kept
him off the mound for all but 1 2-3 innings of relief work against Andrews
"He said he's feeling better and is ready to throw. We just need to get
our sticks going tonight and Friday," Williams said.
Abila got a break when Eric Abila was able to go five-plus innings
before tiring in Saturday's 4-0 loss at Lake View. It was his first
mound appearance in over a year and tonight, Williams said Abila would
make his varsity debut at third base, where the Eagles are without
leading hitter Richard Gutierrez for the rest of the season.
Big Spring closes with a Thursday make-up game against Fort Stockton,
then goes to Andrews on Friday. A Pecos loss tonight and wins by the
Panthers tonight and Thursday would give Fort Stockton its first playoff
berth in eight years, while an Eagle win and losses by the Panthers
tonight and Thursday would assure Pecos of no worse than a two- or
three-way tie for third going into Friday's contest.
As part of the deal, which is subject to approval from the ruling
executive council, the Yankees will send injured outfielder Ruben
Rivera, minor league pitcher Rafael Medina to San Diego and will receive
three players: second baseman Homer Bush and outfielders Gordon Amerson
and Vernon Maxwell.
The deal was not announced, but a source familiar with the negotiations
said it had been completed.
Irabu's team in Japan, the Chiba Lotte Marines, agreed in January to
give San Diego exclusive rights to sign him, but the 27-year-old
right-hander refused to deal with the Padres, saying he would only sign
with the Yankees.
He was 12-6 with a 2.40 ERA last season, leading the Pacific League in
ERA for the second straight season. Irabu, who was two seasons short of
the amount needed for free agency in Japan, had threatened to sit out
the 1997 unless he was allowed to sign with the Yankees.
The Yankees and Irabu still have to work out a contract, although the
Padres and Marines have informally accused New York of tampering and
discussing parameters of a contract with Irabu before the trade.
Irabu, who has been working out on his own in California, is expected to
command a multimillion signing bonus.
The New York Mets were the other finalist for his rights. The Mets,
according to a source, had offered about $1.5 million, the choice of
pitchers Dave Mlicki or Mark Clark and a minor-leaguer. The Mets' offer
was conditioned on their signing Irabu.
Irabu would become the third Japanese pitcher on an active roster,
joining Hideo Nomo of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shigetoshi Hasegawa of
the Anaheim Angels.
In addition, several others are in the minor leagues, including Mac
Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners.
(Copyright 1997 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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