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Miami, first-rounder Heaney get deadline deal done

MIAMI -- Signing Andrew Heaney came right down the wire on Friday afternoon.

Officially, the Marlins and their first-round Draft pick sealed the deal within an hour of the 5 p.m. ET deadline to lock up all Draft picks.

In the morning, the Marlins and Heaney reached agreement on a $2.6 million deal, but closing the contract literally came down to how quickly the team medical staff could complete a physical.

On short notice, the team physician, Dr. Lee Kaplan, took the necessary steps to getting Heaney into the medical center for the blood work and physical.

"It really came down to Dr. Kaplan and his medical team at the University of Miami that saved the day," Marlins president of baseball operations Larry Beinfest said. "That's the only way this thing got done.

"They cleared out the hospital, went to the ER to get the blood work done. They went way and above any normal timeline for a physical to get this done, which we didn't think could get done, but they got it done."

Beinfest spent much of Friday flying to Miami from California, where he was with his family. Around 4:20 p.m., he had a voice message from Dr. Kaplan saying the physical was completed.

"I knew that I wanted to sign," Heaney said. "I knew they wanted to sign me, and I don't think it was really taking a chance, because in my mind, I knew we were going to get it done.

"I wanted to get down here and not leave any physical or any of that stuff to chance."

Now, Heaney, the ninth overall pick in the First-Year Player Draft, will be headed to the team's complex at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, Fla., to get ready to pitch.

Along with signing Heaney, the Marlins also worked out a deadline deal with shortstop Avery Romero, their third-round pick from St. Augustine, Fla.

For a couple of days, it looked as if the Heaney deal could fall through. On Tuesday, the Marlins had notified the left-hander that the $2.6 million was their final offer, and that they needed an answer to get Heaney in Miami to take his physical.

The offer then was rejected, and by Wednesday night, Beinfest felt there was little chance to reach a deal by Friday. There were some conversations late Thursday night, and Heaney arrived in Miami by Friday morning.

After signing, Heaney attended the Marlins-Nationals game, sitting next to team owner Jeffrey Loria.

"I went to bed Wednesday night saying it was done," Beinfest said, meaning there was no chance Heaney would sign. "You need to have time. Things can happen."

The Marlins are adamant about their picks taking physicals before they sign because of what happened in 2003. That year, they selected right-hander Jeff Allison in the first round.

The pitcher ended up having addiction problems and he no longer is in the organization.

"We had a really unfortunate thing happen 10 years ago with Jeff Allison," Beinfest said. "We require physicals before the contracts can be consummated. That's just the way it goes. We got burned. It was unfortunate. We require it, and I don't think it's unreasonable. We're up front with everybody. They know we require it."

Once Heaney gets in shape at Jupiter, he likely will be headed to short-season Class A Jamestown.

"He's got to go up to Jupiter, and we've got to assess where his arm is," Beinfest said. "We don't know if he's been throwing a lot. Obviously, he had thrown a number of innings at Oklahoma State."

Heaney will be groomed as a starter, and he could move rapidly through the system.

"I don't know how, why or when Andrew Heaney got in town," Beinfest said. "I was on the West Coast, I was kicking back with my family, and there was nothing going on. We were preparing for today to try to get Romero done and whatever else we wanted to do. There had been no contact since Tuesday, when we said we'd like to get a deal done, and get Andrew in within a reasonable amount of time. Andrew miraculously was in Miami this morning."

Miami Marlins