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GIANTS PICK DIXIE STAR: Dixie College outfielder Ryan Pene was the first Utahn selected in Wednesday's Major League Baseball amateur draft. The Rebel standout was picked by the San Francisco Giants in the sixth round, the 198th player chosen.T-BIRD DRAFTED: SUU pitcher Nick Roberts was taken in the seventh round by the Houston Astros in the same draft. Roberts was the 233rd overall pick and the second Utah prospect taken on the first day of selections. He was rated the No. 1 amateur prospect in the state heading into the draft, according to Baseball America Magazine.

Roberts was 10-14 in two seasons as a Thunderbird, with a 7.30 ERA and 168 strikeouts -- second-best strikeout total in school history -- in 178 2/3 innings. This past season, Roberts was 3-7 with a 6.52 ERA and a school-record 91 strikeouts in 89.2 innings.

PORTUGAL TO QUIT?: Speculation continued to mount Thursday that Boston Red Sox pitcher Mark Portugal, who cleared out his personal belongings from his locker last weekend, may retire from baseball.

"I think he's going to quit," an unidentified Red Sox player told The Boston Globe.

According to published reports, Portugal told teammates that he wants to quit playing so he could devote more time to his three children in the wake of his divorce. His children, ages 3 to 10, live in Barrington, R.I.

Pitching coach Joe Kerrigan confirmed that the right-hander wants to retire, the Globe said, but would not elaborate on Portugal's reasons.

Portugal, 36, signed a one-year contract with the Red Sox for $2.7 million, with a club option of $3.3 million (or a $300,000 buyout) for the 2000 season. He is 3-3 with a 5.33 ERA in 10 starts this season.

In the past two years, Portugal, who has been on the disabled list 10 times in his career, has had surgery on both his pitching elbow, which caused him to miss almost all of the 1997 season, and his left knee.