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Baseball: Foxes’ Carroll will sign Rays contract on same day he graduates

BY TAFT COGHILL JR.

Damion Carroll took an important step toward his future on Wednesday when he agreed to terms with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Now the former King George High School baseball standout is set to deal with another major progression—graduation.

Carroll flew to Tampa, Fla., Wednesday after he agreed to a seven-year contract with the Rays. The deal features a $190,000 signing bonus and a four-year college scholarship, according to a source with knowledge of the negotiations.

Carroll has to take a physical examination today in Tampa, and he’s expected to officially sign his contract on Saturday at King George’s graduation.

That will be followed by a cookout at his home, his mother, Melissa Holmes, said.

“Oh yes, Lord, it’s a very exciting time,” Holmes said.

Carroll, a 6-foot-3 right-handed pitcher, helped lead King George to the Group AA state tournament this past season, going 8–0 with a 1.30 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 66 innings.

He was recently named Group AA state player of the year by the Virginia High School Coaches Association.

Carroll was selected by the Rays in the sixth round (212th overall) of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft earlier this month. When Carroll signs the contract, he’ll turn down an opportunity to play for San Jacinto Community College in Texas.

Carroll couldn’t be reached for comment Wednesday. His mother said she expects him to adjust well to life as a professional on the field, but added that her son has yet to experience life away from home. He boarded an airplane alone for the first time on Wednesday.

“I think he’ll do very well as far as baseball,” Holmes said. “As far as being away from home, he’s never experienced that before. But he’s very excited.”

Carroll is expected to begin his career with one of the Rays’ rookie league affiliate teams, but likely will not pitch this year, according to the source.

But that hasn’t quelled the excitement for Carroll in King George, his mother said. She said her son has received community support from churches, schools, family and friends.

Holmes said it’s all happening fast for Carroll, who wasn’t on the MLB radar until his senior year.

“Everybody’s pulling for him,” Holmes said. “We’re trying to stay as humble as we can be.”

Meanwhile, Stafford High School graduate Adam Lopez has signed with the Chicago White Sox and has been assigned to their Bristol (Tenn.) farm team in the rookie Appalachian League, which opens play next week.

Lopez, a 6-foot-5 right-handed pitcher, missed most of his junior and senior seasons at VMI after undergoing “Tommy John” elbow ligament replacement surgery.

Taft Coghill Jr.: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/sports/2012/06/13/baseball-foxes-carroll-will-sign-rays-contract-on-same-day-he-graduates/

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