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Speedy rookie brings lavish statistics to TJs

Nathan Haynes doesn't expect to turn the Northwest League on its earthe second half of the season. What the 17-year-old outfielder does anticipate,however, is putting the ball in play and letting his dazzling speed do therest.

Coming out of high school, I want to get a few hits and not beovermatched, Haynes says. It wouldn't bother me if I hit .150.But to hit .150 and strike out 30 out of 40 times wouldn't be good.

If his performance the previous five weeks is any indication, Haynes'batting average won't reside in such arctic climes. He was hitting .337when he departed the Oakland Athletics' rookie league club in the ArizonaLeague to join the Southern Oregon Timberjacks on Friday.

Haynes was taken by the Athletics as a sandwich pick between the firstand second rounds as compensation for a lost free agent. Haynes startedthe summer in Scottsdale. He was promoted to the Timberjacks when Mike Koernerwas sent to Visalia of the California League.

It's been exciting to get out and play against the guys I was rankedagainst in newspapers and magazines, says the former Pinole, Calif.,Valley High School star.

I went out and worked hard every day and struck out eight timesin 50 at-bats. When you work hard and put the ball in play, good thingshappen ... and good things happened.

In one stretch, Haynes collected 10 hits in 19 at-bats.

When you put the ball in play, you're not going to be in a slump,Hayes says.In high school, you might see a guy throw 80 mph and thengo back to pitchers throwing 60 or 70 mph. In Arizona, guys were throwing80 or 90 every day and you have to be prepared every time or you'll be overmatched.

Haynes, who provided his own wood bats during his prep days, says buntingand hitting off-speed pitches are two areas in which he hopes to improve.

I fooled myself a couple of times chasing off-speed pitches.he says. I found out it wasn't as easy as it looked on TV.

He says his new teammates have told him to expect any pitch at any pointin the count.

I'm going to make mistakes at my age; you expect to struggle whenyou're 17, Haynes says. Struggling is the nature of the game,regardless of how good a hitter or pitcher you are.

In a couple of years, age won't matter.