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Early-round Rangers picks eager to start pro careers

Forbes, Morgan, Martin finalize deals, get tour before reporting to Arizona

ARLINGTON -- One of the Rangers' strengths is an abundance of middle infielders all through their system.

That isn't keeping two top Draft picks from being excited about getting started with their professional careers. Shortstops Ti'Quan Forbes and Joshua Morgan both signed with the Rangers less than a week after being selected in the second and third rounds of the First-Year Player Draft. They were in Arlington on Monday and Tuesday to finalize their agreement and get the complete tour before heading off to Arizona to report to the club's complex in Surprise.

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"It has been a great experience," said Morgan, who played at Orange Lutheran High in California. "We all can't wait to get to work."

Forbes, who is from Columbia High in Mississippi, turned down a scholarship from the University of Mississippi to sign with the Rangers for $1.2 million. Morgan received $800,00 to forego a scholarship at UCLA.

"This is a dream," Forbes said. "To be able to play with the Texas Rangers means a lot."

There is a possibility that one or both could end up switching positions, with the outfield a potential destination.

"I don't know yet," Morgan said. "I am a shortstop. ... Wherever they want me to play, I'm ready to go play there and try to improve. I'm just going to try and make the big league club and do whatever it takes."

They were both ranked among the top six high school shortstops in the Draft. Both players were selected for their speed, athleticism and offensive potential, so their exact position is hardly something that needs to be determined immediately.

"I play shortstop, but with my speed, if they want me to move, I'm up for it," said Forbes, who hit .427 as a senior in high school. He played at the same high school in Mississippi as NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton.

If they do stay in the infield, they could get to work with one of the best defensive instructors in the game. Part of their Arlington tour this week was getting to meet manager Ron Washington, who loves to work with young infielders.

"He talked to us about how hard it is to get up here and what it takes," Morgan said. "I love watching him on television and how excited he gets. I can't wait to get up here and see what he has to teach."

Brett Martin was also in Arlington with Morgan and Forbes. He is the left-handed pitcher from Walters State (Tenn.) who was taken in the fourth round of the Draft and agreed to a $475,000 deal. He is also reporting to Arizona this week to begin working out.

"I need to develop my changeup and my curveball and have confidence to throw them in any count," Martin said. "That's my goal to work on in Arizona. I'm excited to get started."

Martin was 9-2 with a 3.83 ERA in 16 appearances at Walters State, which is in the eastern Tennessee town of Morristown. Martin went to high school there, and it is also the hometown of Texas legend Davy Crockett.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.

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