There’s no resolution yet in the tale of former no. 1 pick Jeffrey Allison, writes the Miami Herald’s Kevin Baxter.
The Marlins selected Allison, Baseball America’s High School Player of the Year, with the 16th selection in the 2003 June amateur draft and introduced him to the media with considerable fanfare. But a few months later, the Marlins became aware of the right-hander’s addiction to OxyContin, which was detailed in a December 2004 Sports Illustrated story, and the team has refused to speak about him since. Officially, Allison remains on the Marlins’ restricted list and, according to a team spokesman, must be removed from that list to participate in spring training.
”His status has not changed,” said Jim Fleming, the team’s assistant general manager for player development and scouting, who refused to elaborate.
Nor would minor-league director Brian Chattin.
”I can’t talk about that,” Chattin said of Allison, who nearly died from a heroin overdose last summer and was fined by the club for failing a drug test last spring.
Privately, however, two front-office executives with the Marlins have said they don’t believe Allison will ever pitch for the club.
In November, the 20-year-old pitcher told his hometown newspaper, The Salem (Mass.) News, that he planned to return to the Marlins, who have withheld approximately two-thirds of his $1.85 million bonus because of the repeated drug problems.
”I talked with the club . . . and they said I’m welcomed [back],” Allison said in the fall. “I definitely intend to be there.”
Allison went 9-0 and did not allow an earned run in 64 innings, striking out 142 as a senior at Peabody (Mass.) High School in 2003. But after pitching nine innings for the Marlins’ Gulf Coast League that summer, he was sidelined with what was described as shoulder tendinitis.