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Future is now for Suns

August 27, 2000

Future is now for Suns



By BOB PARASILITI / Staff Writer


For the Hagerstown Suns, the future is now.

The season has been reduced to eight games with no hopes of any of those eight to be meaningful games. The Suns are out of the playoff chase and can't even finish .500 for the year even if they win all the rest of their games.

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Still, manager Rolando Pino claims there is a sense of urgency among his team as it heads into the last week of the season.

"They are playing for next year," Pino said Sunday after the series finale with Macon was washed out by heavy rains. "They are playing right now to get in position to be on a team next year."

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"Wait 'til next year" has been the operative theme for the Suns since early in the second half. The attempts to make the team a playoff contender went in vain.

But with the pressure off, the Suns have played decent baseball over the last week. The pitching has been strong and hitting has been timely for the most part.

There is still a purpose.

"I try to tell them that they need to go all out all the time," Pino said. "I don't want to see them wait too long and then be at home, out of baseball, and wondering what could have been if they had tried harder."

One player whose worked hard and has been rewarded for it is infielder Brandon Jackson. Jackson was promoted to Single-A Dunedin for the final week of the season after Sunday's game was canceled.

Jackson was one of the few statistical bright spots for the Suns as the fifth-leading hitter with a .312 batting average. He leaves Hagerstown with five homers and 52 RBI.

But as a sign of the times, Jackson's departure leaves Hagerstown with just eight players from its opening-day roster.

Hagerstown also added outfielder Dwayne Pugh to the roster to help ease the lineup pains caused by injuries. He was hitless in seven games at Queens.

With a continuing cast of characters, Pino is ready to make the final push for the season. He is just hoping the players are ready for it, tool.

"All I want them to do is to keep hustling and keep trying to win," he said. "That's about all you can ask from them as a manager."

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