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Star-Bulletin Sports


Sunday, September 16, 2001


[ PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL ]




COURTESY PHOTO
The Montreal Expos made Justin Wayne the No. 5
overall pick after his junior year at Stanford.



Waynes climb the ladder
after disappointing starts


By Al Chase
achase@starbulletin.com

Justin and Hawkeye Wayne weathered some early disappointment to enjoy solid seasons in their second and third professional campaigns, respectively.

Justin started the year at Jupiter in the Class A Florida State League. He spent time on the disabled list in May.

"I just went out one day and my right shoulder didn't feel good. Obviously, (as a first round draft pick in 2000 by the Montreal Expos) there was a microscope on me to make sure everything went as planned. Basically, they shut me down for almost a month," Justin said.

The Seattle Mariners keep telling Hawkeye they want him to develop as a starting pitcher. He was in that role to begin the season with Wisconsin of the Class A Midwest League, but circumstances changed.

"If I walked too many guys, I was bumped to the bullpen. It didn't give me a whole lot of room for error. It's been that way for two seasons," said Hawkeye, who didn't start pitching until halfway through his senior year at Columbia University.

He was drafted by Seattle because his fastball hit 95 mph. It's just that Hawkeye didn't always know where it was going. He averaged more than one walk per inning over his first two seasons. He lowered his walk rate this year, but admitted 45 walks in 59 innings still was too high.

Justin came off the DL and caught fire, making every start for the remainder of the season. Expos officials also decided he was ready for a promotion, sending the 6-foot-3 right-hander to Harrisburg (Pa.) in the Class AA Eastern League.

He received the news the same day he arrived back in Florida after graduation ceremonies at Stanford, where he completed his degree requirements last fall.

"I was surprised, perplexed even. My parents were flying in to Florida to watch me play and they hadn't even arrived, but they got to drive my car to Harrisburg," Justin said.

He fashioned a 9-2 record with a sparkling 2.62 earned run average at Harrisburg.

"I couldn't be more pleased with Justin's progress. He is an important part of our future and we want to develop him to last," said Tony LaCava, Montreal's director of player development. "We want to do it right. We want him to get to the big leagues and stay there.

"He has four weapons, a fastball, curve, slider and change-up and he uses them well. He doesn't throw 97 miles an hour, but he is a pitcher who sets batters up well. He kept pitching better and better as the season went on, was dependable, solid and very determined. He's not happy with anything but the best."

Justin finds life relaxing and there is order in terms of baseball. He knows he can get hitters out, but acknowledges there is always room for improvement. As good as his Double-A statistics were, he says he did a lot of growing up along baseball lines this summer.

"It's getting better and better. This is what the organization wants. It's a process of getting accustomed to the hitters and knowing you can get them out," said Justin. "The results aren't as important as the process, but the results give you confidence to have progress."

Hawkeye's return to the bullpen produced good results although it did not afford him the number of innings he needs to become a starting pitcher. At one point, the 6-foot-1 right-hander turned in 21 consecutive scoreless innings of relief.

"I felt a lot better this year. I threw more strikes. I think I realized a few things about pitching and next year should be good," Hawkeye said. "I worried too much about my mechanics, my physical condition. It was more my mental approach. Without confidence to throw strikes, everything suffered."

When his confidence improved, his velocity and control got better. Pitching became simpler for Hawkeye.

He uses four pitches -- fastball, curve, slider and change-up -- and wants to showcase them as a starting pitcher next year.


HAWKEYE WAYNE'S CAREER STATISTICS

Height: 6 feet 1 inch.
Weight: 205 pounds.
Throws: Right.
Bats: Right.
Schools: Iolani, Columbia

Year, Team, League G IP W L Pct H ER BB SO ERA

1999-Everett, Northwest 15 3323 0 2 .000 34 31 32 34 8.29

2000-Everett, Northwest 12 2113 0 2 .000 29 30 29 22 12.66

2001-Wisconsin, Midwest 30 59 4 2 .667 55 30 45 48 4.58

Minor League Totals 57 114 4 6 .400 118 91 106 104 7.18

Highlights

>>Drafted in the 11th round (335th overall) by the Seattle Mariners, June 2, 1999. Signed June 11, 1999.

>>Led Everett in batters hit by pitch (9) and wild pitches (11) in 2000.

JUSTIN WAYNE'S CAREER STATISTICS

Height: 6 feet 3 inches.
Weight: 200 pounds.
Throws: Right.
Bats: Right.

Schools: Punahou, Stanford

Year, Team, League G IP W L Pct. H ER BB SO ERA

2000-Jupiter, Florida State 5 2613 0 3 .000 26 17 11 24 5.81

2001-Jupiter, Florida State 8 4123 2 3 .400 31 14 9 35 3.02

2001-Harrisburg, Eastern 14 9223 9 2 .818 87 27 34 70 2.62

Minor League Totals 27 16023 11 8 .579 144 58 54 129 3.38

Highlight

>>Drafted in the first round (fifth overall) by the Montreal Expos, June 5, 2000. Signed July 20, 2000.



This is part of a series profiling professional baseball players from Hawaii. Tomorrow, former St. Louis first baseman Chad Santos will be profiled.



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