A former Countryside High School pitcher finds himself in limbo waiting for his next professional assignment.
George Tsamis, who went from the Cougars to a successful career at Stetson University, is in Little Falls, N.Y., working out and awaiting an offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Tsamis (pronounced SAM-is) had worked his way up the Minnesota Twins organization after leaving Stetson, culminating in full-time relief duties with the Twins during the 1993 season.
He spent last season with Double-A Jacksonville in the Seattle Mariners organization.
After shoulder surgery in December, Tsamis was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and was in spring training at Vero Beach as a roster player, not a replacement player. He was later released after declining the Dodgers' final offer.
"I'm hoping everything works out with the Pirates," said Tsamis is a phone interview from New York. "I tried to come back from the shoulder surgery too soon . . . in just three months. So it wasn't the Dodgers' fault that things didn't work out."
The 28-year-old lefty who has been pitching for 20 years isn't about to throw in the towel and forget about his dreams of a major- league career.
"I'll keep trying," Tsamis said. "I want to see this thing through. I've got forever to do other things."
Farm news: Ken Winkle, a graduate of Osceola High and Saint Leo College, was released by the Kansas City Royals' Springfield (Ill.) farm team last week. A right-handed pitcher, Winkle had a 1-1 record and 9.40 ERA with the Sultans in the Class A Midwest League. Last summer, after graduating from Saint Leo, Winkle posted a 4-4 record (3.15 ERA) with the Eugene Emeralds in the Northwest League. He was Kansas City's 15th draft pick last year.
Jeff D'Amico (Northeast High) got the starting assignment for the West squad in the Midwest League All-Star game on Tuesday. He's a starting pitcher with the Class A Beloit (Wis.) Snappers with a 7-1 record. His ERA of 2.07 is fourth-best in the league.
D'Amico got the starting assignment in the All-Star game and held the East team to one run in two innings. He gave up two hits and struck out one. His West team won the game 7-5. D'Amico, 6 feet 8, 250 pounds, is the second-youngest player on the Snappers at 19. He played summer ball while at Northeast for the Madeira Beach American Legion team coached by Dave Pano.
Cross country: Erik Lipham (Seminole High) has been named a graduate assistant at the University of Central Florida, where his eligibility has expired. This fall he will help head coach Marcia Wentworth with the development Lou Snelling (Seminole), Marc Moseley (St. Petersburg High), and Mike Calvin (Clearwater Catholic). The top two women harriers at UCF are also Pinellas products. Tiffani Hill (Seminole) and Jeanne Lesniak (St. Petersburg Catholic).
Lipham set a personal record of 31 minutes, 37 seconds for 10 kilometers on the track in April at the Duke Invitational. His previous best was 32:23.
Football: Four Boca Ciega High graduates will play for the Teikyo Westmar (LeMars, Iowa) University Eagles this fall.
Besides senior wide receiver Ervin Whitehead, there will be freshman linebacker Tom Grigley and freshmen offensive linemen Ken Crawford and Cornell Sims.
In addition, Nathan Throckmorton became Indian Rocks Christian's first student-athlete to sign a letter of intent to play college football. He will play linebacker for Teikyo Westmar.
Former Dixie Hollins football coach Mark Wiszowaty, a four-year starter at Teikyo Westmar, is getting serious about getting back in shape. After losing 75 pounds in the past year, he ran in the Sunset Series 5K (3.1 miles) race at Taylor Park in Largo on June 14 and finished in a 25:06.