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Rangers lock up Draft picks Jenkins, Matuella

ARLINGTON -- The Texas Rangers locked up two more notable pieces to the future on Monday.

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The Rangers signed second-round draft pick Eric Jenkins and third-round selection Michael Matuella. Both players signed for $2 million.

Jenkins is a speedy outfielder from West Colombus High School in North Carolina. He hit .323 and had 27 stolen bases as a senior. Jenkins had made clear on Draft night he was ready to go pro, and was glad to get the signing process completed.

"This was very important for me," Jenkins said. "This has been one of my dreams since I was a little kid. I'm really thankful for the Rangers for drafting me and giving me this opportunity."

Matuella had an interesting road to this point. The right-handed pitcher from Duke entered the season as a projected top-five pick, but had to undergo Tommy John surgery this spring after going 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA in six starts. Matuella had previously battled a back condition called spondylosis.

Matuella took a dramatic fall on Draft boards, but he said he thinks he has found a perfect fit in the Rangers organization.

"It was definitely really frustrating," Matuella said of his injury "… Obviously, there were a couple days where I was pretty upset, but once I got over that mourning period, so to speak, I reset my goals … The Draft was out of my control. I try to focus on things that are in my control."

Matuella is two months removed from his Tommy John surgery and said he hopes to begin throwing by September. He also said the back issue, which is similar, but less severe than an injury Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison is still recovering from, is a non-issue.

Jenkins will fly out Tuesday to the Arizona Summer League Texas Rangers, and Matuella will be on the Spokane roster, but will continue his rehab in Arlington for the time being.

Texas has agreed to terms with 29 of the club's 40 picks in this year's Draft.

Cody Stavenhagen is an associate reporter for
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