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06/07/05 1:02 AM ET

Report: Townsend declines option

Rice University pitcher cannot be re-drafted by Baltimore

HOUSTON -- The Baltimore Orioles cannot re-draft last year's first round pick Wade Townsend in Tuesday's draft.

Townsend, Baltimore's top pick and eighth overall last season, told a Houston television station he did not sign baseball's 'consent to re-select' card which is required before a team can draft a player two years in a row.

Townsend, who was 12-0 with a 1.80 ERA for Rice University in 2004 and 11-2 with a 2.20 ERA in 2003, returned to school to finish his degree after failing to reach an agreement with the Orioles.

Major League Baseball rejected an appeal by Townsend to continue negotiating with the Orioles while finishing his education, forcing Townsend to re-enter the draft. He has since worked out for several teams, including the Blue Jays, Mets and Devil Rays. But the Orioles, who have the 13th pick in the first round, are no longer an option.

"That's the only team not allowed to take me," Townsend told KRIV-TV. "I didn't sign the re-draft card. I have to sign off on the card saying I will allow them to re-draft me and I did not sign that card. No way."

Townsend said it wasn't a difficult decision.

"No, that was kind of, 'Are you kidding me?' decision when they asked me," Townsend said.

Townsend and his representative did not receive a contract offer from the Orioles for three months. When he did receive an offer after informing the organization he was returning to school, the pitcher said the offer of $1.7 million was insulting.

"Quite insulting," Townsend told KRIV. "Not because of the money, because it is a heck of a lot of money. I felt I've accomplished statistically more than anybody [who has] ever pitched in college baseball, if you look through my career statistics, and to offer me significantly less than my teammates [pitchers Jeff Niemann and Philip Humber], and what even the eighth pick last year [Paul Maholm] was worth is kind of insulting."

Townsend, who graduated from Rice with a degree in history, is looking forward to the draft and has no regrets with the way things worked out.

"None at all, at this point I'm thrilled to death," he said. "I'm super healthy, I can go with a better team. Whoever drafts me is a team I would like to be with over the team that drafted me last year. This year I don't care where I go. When my name is called I will be happy with whatever team takes me. I will be thrilled to death."

Jim Molony is a writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.