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Baseball

No. 1 overall pick signs with Padres

By wire services
Published June 10, 2004

SAN DIEGO - Shortstop Matt Bush, the first player taken in the baseball draft, signed a deal with the Padres on Wednesday that includes a $3.15-million signing bonus.

"This is a great day for both the Padres and Matt Bush," scouting director Bill Gayton said. "It's always a goal to sign as many of your top selections as possible and now, just a day after completing the draft, we're off to a tremendous start."

Bush, who starred at San Diego's Mission Bay High, was the first high school shortstop taken with the top pick since Seattle got Alex Rodriguez in 1993. He also was just the second San Diego native to be selected by the Padres with their No. 1 pick.

Bush is expected to take batting practice with the Padres before their home game against the Rays on Tuesday, then report to the Padres rookie-level affiliate in Peoria, Ariz., two days later.

CUBAN DEFECTS: First baseman and outfielder Kendry Morales, considered by some to be Cuba's top young player, has defected to the United States, his stepfather said.

Henry Nunez confirmed in an interview with the Associated Press that Morales, a switch-hitter said to be 20, had defected but provided no details.

The Spanish-language newspaper El Nuevo Herald of Miami reported Morales and 18 others left Cuba over the weekend aboard a boat bound for South Florida.

Morales was taken into custody Monday at Miami's Krome Detention Center and freed in the United States a few hours later, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokeswoman Nina Pruneda said Wednesday.

ANGELS: 3 Raul Mondesi was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a tear in his right quadriceps muscle after just eight games with the injury-riddled team. Designated hitter 3 Tim Salmon returned to the lineup after missing 35 games with a sore left knee.

CUBS: Sammy Sosa will go on his first injury rehabilitation assignment since 1992 when his sore back feels better.

The slugger has been on the disabled list since May 16 with a sprained ligament in his lower back brought on by two violent sneezes. He took batting practice for the first time Tuesday, and said Wednesday he felt a little sore.

"I came back yesterday and swung too much," he said. "My back is okay. When you've been in that situation and you come back, your body is going to be sore. That's what I'm going through right now. You give it a couple of days, and then you come back again."

Sosa wouldn't put a timetable on his return, but said it would include a minor-league trip.

In other news, Todd Walker's leadoff single in the first inning against the Cardinals was the 1,000th hit of his career.

CARDINALS: Albert Pujols ran for about 10 minutes and took part in a ground-ball drill, his first time on the field since injuring his left hamstring last weekend.

Pujols also stood in against a pitcher in the bullpen but didn't take any swings.

DIAMONDBACKS: They placed catcher Brent Mayne on the 15-day disabled list with a strained back. The move is retroactive to June 6. Arizona purchased the contract of catcher Juan Brito from Triple-A Tucson to replace Mayne on the 25-man roster, and moved infielder Matt Kata from the 15-day list to the 60-day DL to make room for Brito.

ORIOLES: Pitcher Kurt Ainsworth had surgery on his right elbow and probably will be sidelined until August. Trainer Richie Bancells said it would be 6-8 weeks before the right-hander can begin throwing again.

"They cleaned up the inflamed tissue," Bancells said. "His elbow, otherwise, looked very good."

REDS: Shortstop Barry Larkin has a lower abdominal strain in his left side and will be out until at least Friday.

ROYALS: They reached an agreement with high school third baseman Billy Butler, the 18-year-old who was taken with the 14th overall pick in the draft. He is from Jacksonville and agreed to a contract that includes a $1.4-million signing bonus.

"I'm just along for the ride," he said. "I'm going to do whatever they tell me to do."

[Last modified June 9, 2004, 23:53:20]


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