Friday, April 18, 2014
Six days after the San Francisco Giants fulfilled Mike Connolly's childhood dream by selecting him in the 27th round of the Major League Baseball draft, the University of Maine junior remains in limbo.
He hasn't decided whether to return to Orono or turn professional, because the Giants have yet to offer him a signing bonus.
"If the number is right, then I definitely will be in pro ball," Connolly said from his home in Bridgewater, Mass. "It's a tough situation because I'm just sort of sitting here waiting."
His plans to play for a summer-league team in Bellingham, Wash., are on hold, even though that team already has begun its season. UMaine teammates Luke Morrill and Alex Calbick are there, and Connolly is listed on the roster as a catcher.
In late May, Connolly was named as one of 12 finalists for the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award, to be announced on June 29.
Connolly caught for Maine and also led America East in ERA as a pitcher.
"The fact that the Giants drafted me as a pitcher, that's a nice sign that I'm doing something right on the mound," said Connolly, whose father was a minor-league pitcher drafted by Cleveland in the 30th round in 1982.
In accordance with the most-recent collective bargaining agreement, San Francisco has a bonus pool of $4.7 million to spend on signing its first 10 draft picks, as well as anything above $100,000 on picks in rounds 11 through 40.
"They're trying to get the first 10 rounds done," Connolly said. "So I'm just hanging out at home, throwing some bullpens."
UMaine teammate Michael Fransoso, a senior shortstop with no more collegiate eligibility, signed with Pittsburgh on Tuesday. The Pirates drafted him in the 27th round -- 13 picks before the Giants took Connolly -- and assigned him to their rookie league club in Jamestown, N.Y.
Tommy Lawrence, a UMaine red-shirt junior who is the reigning America East Pitcher of the Year, was not drafted and plans to be a closer for Chatham in the Cape Cod League this summer.
"He's upset," said Maine Coach Steve Trimper. "I'm mystified. I really thought he was going to get drafted."
Trimper spoke from a recruiting trip to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. If Connolly turns pro, Trimper will use the scholarship money to entice another pitcher to Orono.
"There's a lot of balls in the air being juggled," Trimper said. "We're hoping to know (about Connolly) by Friday, so we can get moving, too."
BEN GUITE, a member of the 1999 national champion Black Bears, is the first assistant hired by new hockey coach Red Gendron.
A Montreal native, Guite tallied 47 goals and 49 assists during his four years at Maine and spent 13 years in pro hockey, including parts of five NHL seasons with the Bruins, Avalanche and Predators.
THE BLACK BEAR CRUISE is scheduled to sail Friday in Casco Bay from 6 to 9 p.m.
Gendron is among the coaches expected to be on board, as is Director of Athletics Steve Abbott and several student-athletes.
Tickets cost $25. For more information, call the Athletic Development Office at 581-1130.
Glenn Jordan can be contacted at 791-6425 or at: