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Braves' top pick Davidson signs, takes BP at Turner

ATLANTA -- Three weeks after using his aunt's season tickets to watch the Braves play the Rockies, Braxton Davidson found himself back at Turner Field. Only this time, he was wearing a Braves uniform, interacting with Jason Heyward and taking batting practice with the big leaguers.

Davidson received the royal treatment as he spent Monday making the final preparations to begin his professional career. He signed his first professional contract, agreeing to the slotted $1,705,400 signing bonus figure, and then spent the afternoon hours interacting with Braves players before they played a series opener against the Phillies.

"I'm speechless," Davidson said. "I get to play for the Atlanta Braves and hopefully be in the big leagues whenever I can -- three or four years hopefully, or a little sooner. But as long as I get there, that's fine."

Davidson is expected to report to the Braves' Gulf Coast League team in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., later this week. He graduated from TC Roberson High School (Asheville, N.C.) this past weekend, and will celebrate his 18th birthday on Wednesday.

"I'm getting these milestones out of the way," Davidson said. "I graduated high school and signed my first contract. Now, I'm getting ready to go down to Orlando to play some ball. Hopefully, I'll be in Danville soon."

With the 32nd overall selection in this year's First-Year Player Draft, the Braves were thrilled to get a high school product with the kind of power potential Davidson possesses. The young left fielder displayed his powerful left-handed swing as he took batting practice with Gerald Laird, Jordan Schafer and Dan Uggla before Monday's game.

"You always want to impress the big leaguers," Davidson said. "That's what I tried to do. So, I sprayed the ball around a little bit and showed some power. It was pretty neat."

Davidson also was thrilled to spend some time with Heyward and some of the other Braves in the home clubhouse.

"I was in awe when I saw them. I was like, 'This is Jason Heyward and this is Freddie Freeman, this is pretty neat,'" Davidson said. "They're the faces of the franchise. So, they were pretty cool to be around."

Seven years ago, Heyward was the wide-eyed first-round selection who was invited to Turner Field to get a glimpse of the stage that awaited him. Davidson can only hope the journey he is about to begin proves to be as smooth as the one Heyward has experienced.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for
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