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Diamond Dawgs Open Spring Practice
Release: 02/01/2008
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Feb. 1, 2008

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    SEATTLE - The Washington baseball team will turn out for its first official practice of the 2008 spring season this afternoon at Husky Ballpark.

    In all, 38 players were slated to be on hand for the first day of practice, which is also the first allowable day for full-squad workouts across the country, thanks to new NCAA rules.

    New legislation affecting the baseball practice and playing schedule mandates that all teams can begin practice this year on Feb. 1 and a universal start date for the first game of the season was set at Feb. 22 (teams in Hawaii are excepted).

    So, whereas the Huskies used to have up to six weeks of practice prior to their first game, this year, they'll have only three before opening the season Feb. 22 at defending Big West champion UC Riverside.

    "There's definitely a sense of urgency due to the fact that we have to get going very soon," said UW's 16th-year head coach, Ken Knutson. "I'm looking forward to seeing where we are right now and I'm excited to see how much we can improve today."

    Only one player has been ruled out this season through injury, freshman pitcher Nate Burgher, who underwent elbow surgery last fall.

    "The team is in great shape," Knutson said. "We've pretty much recovered from a lot of our injuries that we had last season and into the fall. We're ready to go."

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