Jose Cruz Jr., who started last season with the Lancaster JetHawks, has been so impressive playing winter baseball in Santurce, Puerto Rico, that Manager Lou Piniella of the Seattle Mariners has made him the team's No. 1 left fielder.
"The job is his to lose," Piniella said. "He is an impressive-looking young man. I saw enough to say we don't need to go out and pursue a left fielder."
Midway through the season in Puerto Rico, Cruz leads the league with seven home runs and is batting .324 with 19 runs batted in.
Class of '96: Juniors Dusty Herman and Elaine Canchola of Nordhoff High have been named Ventura County boys' and girls' cross-country runners of the year.
Herman won the Ventura County title, was second in the Southern Section Division IV race and fourth in the Division IV race at the state championships. He was 19th in the West regional championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Saturday.
Canchola placed third in the county championships but won the Southern Section Division IV title and was second to Sarah Ellis of La Canada in the state final.
Glen Hackworth of St. Bonaventure, Kevin Smith of Oak Park and Mike Stewart of Newbury Park shared the boys' coach of the year award. Coaches Bill Tokar of Ventura and Ken Reeves of Nordhoff shared the girls' award.
Hackworth guided the Seraphs to third place and Smith was right behind in fourth with the Eagles in the state Division V race. Newbury Park, under Stewart's direction, was second in the county championships and sixth in the Southern Section Division III final.
Tokar guided Ventura to runner-up finishes in the county and Southern Section Division II finals and fourth in the state.
Nordhoff won its second consecutive county title under Reeves and won the Division IV Southern Section and state titles.
Tests are in: As expected, tests on Cal State Northridge center Maya Muzurovic disclosed a torn ligament in her right knee. She will use a redshirt season.