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First-round pick C Justin O'Conner at Trop, will sign tonight



Update 8:00 p.m. The Rays have confirmed that O'Conner has signed.


Developing: First-round pick C Justin O'Conner was at Tropicana Field with his family Friday afternoon, saying he's going to sign tonight and is excited to begin his professional career. He said he'll report to the Gulf Coast League Rays in Port Charlotte.

"I want to get ready, I want to play," he said. "I want to get down there as soon as I can and start playing."

O'Conner, the 31st pick overall from Cowan High (Indiana), is the first catcher ever taken by the Rays in the first round. He's relatively green at the position, having just started catching two falls ago. But O'Conner is eager to learn through the minor league system.

O'Conner said it was a bit "intimidating" meeting some of the Rays players, along with manager Joe Maddon and Don Zimmer. He said draft night was pretty crazy, and he calmed down a bit after the 16th pick by playing cornhole in the backyard with his family.

"The Rays told me to look at the TV for the 31st pick," O'Conner said. "We all went inside and they called my name, everyone went crazy."

[Last modified: Sunday, July 11, 2010 12:15am]


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