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Rangers’ Correa Is Youngest Player in Majors

United Press International

Edwin Correa is one of the hottest young prospects in major league baseball this season and definitely is the youngest hot prospect around.

Correa, the Texas Rangers rookie starting pitcher, is the youngest player in the majors. His 20th birthday was April 29.

“I hope he’s pitching for us when he’s 21,” joked Texas manager Bobby Valentine, mindful of the truism that 21 is the age when most prospects really begin to blossom.

The Puerto Rico-born and reared Correa says his youth is not notable on the Rangers, who have one of the youngest rosters in baseball.

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“To tell you the truth, I feel like I’m 24 or 25,” said Correa on a return visit to Chicago, where he broke in with the White Sox last season. “I have been playing since I was a little kid. I feel I am on the same level as the rest of these guys. I’m on top of the world.”

What makes Correa such a hot prospect is the way he throws. His motion is smooth and, even in the late innings, he appears to be throwing effortlessly.

“That kid is going to win a lot of ballgames,” said Valentine. “He has a great competitive spirit. He can get into the 130s (number of pitches per game). He’s strong.”

“He looked like Cy Young to me,” said Chicago catcher Carlton Fisk, who caught Correa in his five appearances with the White Sox in 1985. “The few times I faced him he hasn’t made a mistake. He threw a couple of 3-2 changes as good as you can throw them.”

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Correa lost two of his first three decisions this year but over his last six starts he was 3-1 with a 1.61 earned-run average, giving up only eight runs in 44 innings.

Correa defeated his former teammates, 4-1, on June 3, his second win in two starts against the White Sox. The victory raised his record to 4-3 and was a normal Correa performance, with five walks and four strikeouts in seven innings.

The only run he gave up was a bases-loaded walk. Two of three men on base at the time also had walked.

In his first 10 starts this season, including one complete game, Correa walked 48 batters. He has a problem in the early innings.

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“I start out overthrowing my fastball,” said Correa. “In the late innings, that’s when I pitch better. I start to get them out with other pitches than my fastball.”

“He’s going to complete a lot of games if he ever throws less than five pitches to a hitter,” said Valentine.

Correa was the White Sox’ late- summer phenom last year. He went 1-5 with Chicago’s AA Glen Falls team early in 1985, but recovered at Appleton on the A circuit, going 13-3 in 18 starts.

The White Sox called him up on Sept. 14 and he pitched in five games, including a start in the last game of the season. He earned a 3-2 victory over Seattle that day, but less than two months later Chicago baseball operations chief Ken Harrelson traded him to Texas with infielder Scott Fletcher for infielder Wayne Tolleson and pitcher Dave Schmidt.

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Correa bears no grudge against Chicago and credited White Sox pitching coach Dave Duncan with helping his concentration.

“When I came up in the last two weeks last year, it was a big turning point for me,” said Correa. “I have to thank Dave Duncan. He taught me a lot of things like mechanics and the way to think about pitching.”


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