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Hawaii closer Lenny Linsky hopes for chance to eventually close games for Tampa Bay Rays

ST. PETERSBURG — To Hawaii junior RHP Lenny Linsky, closing games is a lot like one of his other favorite thrills, surfing.

"It's a huge adrenaline rush," he said. "You're so focused on a short period of time. It's a five-second wave, you're either getting crushed or spit out by the wave. In closing, there's a big burst of adrenaline and energy, too."

Linsky, 21, selected by the Rays in the second round Tuesday (89th overall), hopes to eventually finish games for Tampa Bay. And scouting director R.J. Harrison said that after extensively analyzing the college relievers in the draft, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Linsky "really separated himself from the rest of the pack."

Linsky boasts a mid 90s fastball that has impressive sink, as well as a strikeout pitch in a slider that can reach 89 mph. He went 1-1 with a 1.30 ERA and 14 saves to lead Hawaii to its first WAC title since 1992, with Harrison saying he is the type of pitcher who could fit in well in the American League East.

"Generally speaking, he has the kind of stuff that can pitch in the later part of the game," Harrison said.

Linsky said he hopes to get a deal with the Rays done as soon as possible. The surfer also loves playing the guitar and drums, having been a part of a heavy metal band in high school before focusing on baseball. When told several Rays, including Evan Longoria, have musical interests, Linsky quipped, "I'd love to jam with them sometime."

ACROSS BRIDGE: The Rays' first pick Tuesday was Palmetto High OF Granden Goetzman (75th overall), whose combination of speed and power has him hoping to fit the mold of his favorite player, Nationals RF Jayson Werth.

"A five-tool player is what I want to be and work for," he said.

Harrison said the Rays plan to expose Goetzman to all three outfield spots, and the Florida Gulf Coast commitment said he plans to sign.

FOR SHORT: Though Tampa Bay picked seven shortstops in the first two days of the draft, Harrison pointed out that many could get moved around.

"You see it on our big-league club, we have a lot of versatility and we expose our young players to a lot of that," Harrison said. "With just a few exceptions, (Tim) Beckham and (Hak-Ju Lee), those guys are shortstops exclusively, but most of our position players and a bunch of these guys will get exposed to playing all around the infield."

Joe Smith can be reached at

Hawaii closer Lenny Linsky hopes for chance to eventually close games for Tampa Bay Rays 06/07/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, June 8, 2011 5:46pm]
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