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TOP TWINS PROSPECTS MIXED ON CROSSING STRIKE PICKET LINE

Torii Hunter and LaTroy Hawkins, two of the Minnesota Twins' top prospects, have very different ideas about what they'd do if management asked them to cross the picket line next spring.

"I would go," said Hunter, an outfielder who split his summer between Class A Fort Wayne and Class A Fort Myers."I wouldn't go," said Hawkins, who pitched for Class AA Nashville and Class AAA Salt Lake this summer.

"If they let me go, that would be nice," Hunter told the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. "I'd be so happy. If they strike, I'll play. I wouldn't be getting paid as much, but at least I'd see what it's like. You never know. I could get hurt and never get up there.

"I'm not selfish, but if they say `Come to big-league camp,' I will."

He'd have no problem putting on a big-league uniform.

"It wouldn't bother me," Hunter said. "I love to play. The game has got to keep going on."

Or maybe not, said Hawkins, one of baseball's most highly regarded pitching prospects.

"What's the use of going? (Major-league players) are trying to make it better for me when I get to the big leagues," said Hawkins, who will be given the chance to make the Twins' rotation next spring even if the strike is settled and camps open on time.

"I don't want to replace them. I might never make it to the big leagues that way."

Hawkins is worried that players would blackball those who cross the picket line.

"Why wouldn't they blackball us?" he said. "Look at the scabs that broke the NFL picket line in 1987. There aren't too many of them still playing."

"If the (union) tells us they don't want the entire 40-man roster to go, I don't think anyone is going to go," said outfielder Marty Cordova, a roster player who spent the summer at Class AAA Salt Lake. "I talked to my agent about it. He said he should be hearing from (Twins' player representative) Chuck Knoblauch on what we should do."

Hawkins has some unsolicited advice for Minnesota's Carl Pohlad and the rest of baseball's owners.

"I think the owners need to go ahead and give in," he said. "They don't need a salary cap. Look what it's done to football."