ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) - While Texas negotiated with its
first-round pick, the Rangers and second-round selection Robbie
Ross agreed Friday night to a minor league contract with a
$1,575,000 signing bonus.
With the signing of the 19-year-old Ross, a left-handed pitcher
from Lexington Christian Academy in Kentucky, the Rangers had
signed eight of their top nine picks. The only unsigned player in
that group was first-round pick Justin Smoak, the 11th overall pick
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said negotiations were still
ongoing with Smoak with an 11 p.m. CDT deadline approaching.
"We are still talking," Daniels said as the Rangers began
their game against Tampa Bay. "I'm not sure which direction it
Smoak, a switch-hitting first baseman from the University of
South Carolina, and Ross are represented by the same agent, Dustin
Bledsoe. Smoak hit .383 with 23 home runs and 72 RBIs as a junior
The Rangers announced the signing of Ross and introduced him
midway through the game.
Ross, the 57th overall pick, was one of Kentucky's best high
school players. We went 5-2 with a 1.51 ERA, with 75 strikeouts and
only six walks in 51 innings.
"All our scouts raved about his competitiveness and demeanor on
the mound," Daniels said. "To add that type of young pitcher to
our system is consistent to what we're trying to do."
Ross, who underwent a six-hour physical Wednesday after arriving
in Texas, is excited about pitching in the same organization for
which Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan is the president.
"Nolan Ryan was such a great competitor. He was always a
bulldog when he pitched. I want to be just like him," Ross said.
"It's funny to get drafted by the Rangers and him being the
president of the team. I like to get in there and compete."
The Rangers are sending Ross to Surprise, where their spring
training complex is, to pitch in the Arizona Fall League.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)