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Waiting It Out

June 8, 2005
By Andy Baggarly

SAN FRANCISCO--The Giants waited more than three hours and watched 131 players drop off the board before they made their first selection in the draft. It's a wonder nobody had to nudge vice president Dick Tidrow to let him know it was his turn.

"Obviously it's more difficult to go into a draft and sit there for a real long time," Tidrow said. "I wouldn't recommend it."

The Giants were hoping for a quality pitcher or a speedy position player in the fourth round, and were satisfied to take Pittsburgh outfielder Ben Copeland with their first pick. In the fifth round, they took Dan Griffin, a 6-foot-7 righthander with a power arm from Niagara.

After losing their first three choices as compensation for signing free agents Armando Benitez, Mike Matheny and Omar Vizquel, it's no surprise the Giants targeted college players. Of the 15 players they selected Tuesday, 14 were from four-year schools and one was from junior college.

"You really can't beat around and look for tools," Tidrow said. "You have to look for 'now' kind of finished products."

Griffin is sophomore-eligible and is the only player the Giants might not sign quickly.

"When you don't have (early) picks, you've got to sign the guys and get them out there," Tidrow said. "It's not a conscious decision (to draft college players), but you don't want to wait till August to sign them and wait to see them next year."

Copeland set Pitt records with 63 runs and 37 stolen bases last year and performed solidly with wood in the Cape Cod League last summer, hitting .278. The leadoff hitter has a gap stroke with emerging power, and the Giants profile him as a good No.2 hitter in the lineup.

Tidrow said he expected Copeland to start at short-season Salem-Keizer this year and begin next year at Class-A San Jose, following Clay Timpner up the line.

"He has a little pop, plays center field and can steal bases," Tidrow said. "He's an all-around player, and he's a lefthanded hitter. He was one of the better ones on the board at that time."

GIANTICS

The Giants took righthander Kyle Cuthbertson out of Lethbridge Community College in Alberta, Canada, with their sixth-round pick. Cuthbertson limited opposing hitters to a .162 average and Tidrow described him as polished with a clean arm, high-velocity fastball and advanced secondary pitches.

Joe Dyche, an outfielder from Lewis and Clark State, hit .500 (101-202) with 11 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 70 runs scored in 202 at-bats. "He's a plus runner with a good swing and he's got a chance to hit for power," Tidrow said of Dyche, who went in the seventh round. "That was an easy one. Kids that come from there are tough kids."

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