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County's top prospect tears ACL at showcase

Dunedin's Ryan Harvey, the top returning player in Pinellas County, will miss at least half the season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in his knee last week at a Major League Baseball prospect showcase.

Harvey, a first-team all-county, all-conference and all-state player as a pitcher and outfielder, was playing rightfield at the showcase at South Florida when he collided with Plant City's Cory Wells, who was playing center.

"The ball was kind of more towards right than center and I called for it, then at the last second he called for it and ran into me," Harvey said. "His knee hit the outside of my shin and popped my leg out."

Harvey walked off the field _ the trainer there thought it was just bruised, he said.

After X-rays were negative, an MRI on Monday revealed the tear, as well as a stretched medial collateral ligament.

"I was just hoping it was just sprained or I had done something less serious to it," Harvey said. "Yeah, basically (an ACL tear was the worst-case scenario). But I'll definitely be back."

The broad-shouldered Harvey is the sixth-rated prospect in the country according to Team One Baseball and is expected to be a first-round draft choice in June. Most recruiting services have listed him as four-tool player, with the only knock against him being a long swing.

But even so, he has the size (6 feet 5), power (eight home runs and 40 RBIs last season), and arm strength (10-1 as a pitcher) that pro scouts look for.

He throws 92 mph, and last season struck out 89 batters in 67 innings while leading Dunedin to a 32-1 record.

Harvey doesn't expect the injury to affect his draft status, but if it does he said he is content to play collegiately at Florida, where he signed a scholarship Tuesday.

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