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Saturday, August 28
Marlins sign first round pick RHP Josh Beckett

HOUSTON (Ticker) -- The Florida Marlins, one of the youngest teams in the major leagues, today signed righthander Josh Beckett, their first round pick in 1999 draft.

According to the Marlins, the deal is a four-year, $7 million contract that includes a $3.625 million signing bonus and runs through the 2002 season. Pitcher Alex Fernandez is the only current Marlin with a 1999 salary larger than Beckett's bonus.

Beckett was one of two 1999 first-round picks still unsigned. He is scheduled to begin playing for the Marlins in the Fall Instructional League and will be placed on the 40-man roster.

"I'm very happy and excited to have Josh on board," Marlins director of scouting Al Avila said. "First and foremost, I'd like to thank Mr. Henry (Marlins owner John Henry) for making this possible and (general manager) Dave Dombroski for supporting our decision. I'd also like to thank scouts Bob Laurie and David Chadd for their diligent work in following Josh throughout his career."

Beckett, 19, was named USA Today High School Pitcher of the Year after posting a 10-1 record and 0.46 ERA in his senior season at Spring High School in Spring, Texas. He is the highest selected high school righthander in draft history

"I am so excited and glad that this deal got done," Beckett said. "It was a long process, but now I look forward to playing baseball for the Marlins. It's hard to put into words how happy I am."

The 6-4, 190-pound Beckett was selected as the No. 1 high school prospect in the country this season and had 155 strikeouts with just 22 walks in 75 1/3 innings.

The only remaining unsigned first-round selection is high school lefthander Ty Howington, whom Cincinnati tabbed 14th overall.

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