Citizen Staff Writer
Matt McCune has taken advantage of his first opportunity of being a professional baseball player.
The 22-year-old Catalina Foothills High graduate signed with the independent Tucson Toros Wednesday after emerging from a list of local prospects.
“This is awesome,” said McCune during a press conference near the pitcher’s mound at Hi Corbett Field. “I am ready to get the season going. This is a good opportunity for me. It has always been my dream to be a professional baseball player. I am excited to pitch for the Tucson Toros.”
McCune, who works at a local UPS Store and also attends classes at the University of Arizona, was chosen from six pitchers invited back following Saturday’s tryout that drew 160 players.
“I knew I threw well even though no one spoke to me,” McCune said. “I felt I threw to my potential. I felt I did my job.”
McCune, a right-hander, went 5-0 at Foothills in his senior season of 2005, earning all-state honorable mention honors. He also played for GateWay Community College in Phoenix before going to Kansas Wesleyan University.
“He opened a lot of eyes,” Tucson manager Tim Johnson said. “We felt he was the right guy. I am going to put him in situations to get his feet wet a little bite and I am going to put him in situations where it’s going to be tough. We’re going to go game to game. But I feel good and our coaching staff feels good.
“He has good presence on the mound. He throws 88 and 89 (miles per hour). He’s not just a guy who tries to nibble. He know how to throw balls by guys. He has a good breaking ball and changeup. He has a good fastball.”
McCune was working his afternoon shift Tuesday at the UPS store near North Kolb Road and East Sunrise Drive when the Toros dropped in to tell him about the contract.
He plans to put his communication degree on hold at UA.
“I was leaning toward getting my degree in that and see what job openings there are,” McCune said. “Once I found out that the Toros were coming, there was nothing I wanted to be. I want to work hard and be a part of this club. I can always go back to (UA). This is my No. 1 priority.”
The Toros plan to invite 30-plus players to their spring training on Monday, including former local high school pitchers Jason Hanna and Tom Wihelmsen and Canadian Byron Bell, the club said.
Terry, Mavs need help
The Associated Press
DALLAS – Ex-UA Wildcat Jason Terry is the Dallas Mavericks’ mood-lifter, the guy who pumps up teammates and fans every chance he gets.
Yet after enduring a second straight pounding in Denver, Terry couldn’t even fake being positive on Tuesday.
“Not tonight,” he said, declining to be interviewed. “I don’t have anything tonight.”
The Mavericks went into this second-round series convinced they could hang with the Nuggets, pointing to three narrow losses in the regular season as proof of how close they were. Besides, they proudly noted, they were on their best roll of the season, having blown through the San Antonio Spurs in five games.
So far, Denver has toyed with Dallas. Denver is up 2-0 in the series and 6-0 for the season. The Mavs must win four of the next five. Game 3 is Saturday in Dallas.