Bucs lock up first-round pick Newman
19th overall selection will report to Class A West Virginia this week
PITTSBURGH -- This past week for Kevin Newman has been beyond his own belief. From the moment the Pirates called him a week ago to his tour of PNC Park on Monday afternoon, it's been a whirlwind, seven-day fulfillment of his lifelong dream.
The Pirates officially signed Newman, the No. 19 overall Draft pick, and introduced him to the Pittsburgh media on Monday.
The 21-year-old shortstop from the University of Arizona donned a Pirates hat, put on his No. 15 jersey and sat next to general manager Neal Huntington as he put words to the emotions he's experienced over the last week.
"It's a dream come true. It was hard to believe," Newman said. "This whole week, it was almost like I was dreaming. Getting here and signing papers, I still can't believe it's happening."
Newman will report to Short-Season Class A West Virginia this week.
Newman arrived in Pittsburgh on Sunday, ate dinner at Jerome Bettis' Grille 36, and took shelter when a nasty rainstorm swept through the area. He reported to PNC Park on Monday to undergo a physical and sign his contract, officially becoming part of the organization.
Newman agreed to a signing bonus of $2.175 million, MLB.com's Jonathan Mayo reported, a little less than $100,000 below the 19th pick's slot value of $2,273,800.
Huntington said it will be a "huge advantage" for Newman to start his career so shortly after getting drafted, as he can adjust to the lifestyle and demanding schedule that comes along with professional baseball. Newman agreed, saying he's eager to get started.
"I wanted to play as soon as possible. It's great," Newman said. "To get the extra at-bats, that's what we all want."
After fielding questions from the media, Newman followed Huntington out to the field. He met manager Clint Hurdle for the first time. He stood alongside his parents and watched as the Pirates took batting practice.
On Tuesday, Newman will head to West Virginia. The Bucs' New York-Penn League affiliate is set to begin its inaugural season this weekend at Monongalia County Ballpark.
As Huntington pointed out, Newman will be the first first-rounder to play for the Black Bears. So, is it fair to say that his Pirates career will begin with a spot in the starting lineup come Friday night?
"I would think so," Newman said, smiling.
"I would think so," Huntington added.