Twins complete deal with first Draft pick Buxton
High school outfielder from Georgia was selected No. 2 overall
MINNEAPOLIS -- Outfielder Byron Buxton, the No. 2 overall selection in this year's First-Year Player Draft, was at Target Field on Tuesday, as he underwent a physical and took batting practice before the Twins' game against the Phillies.
The Twins reached an agreement with Buxton and an announcement was made on Wednesday. The deal is for $6 million, according to a source, just below Major League Baseball's recommended slot bonus of $6.2 million.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan was pleased to have Buxton sign early, as he's set to start his professional career in the Gulf Coast League, with a chance to move up to Rookie-level Elizabethton before the end of the season.
"That's the good thing about some of the new rules; it allows players to start their development process," Ryan said. "It used to be the deadline would go to the last minute, and that wasn't good for anybody. So now a few Draft choices have signed already, and he's right up there. ... He wanted to play."
Ryan said on Tuesday that he was happy to have Buxton around to meet players, coaches and executives. Buxton -- who was joined by his family, his agent Al Goetz, and Twins scout Jack Powell -- took batting practice with Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Ryan Doumit.
"We brought him in to expose him to our Major League coaches, and our manager and our players," Ryan said. "I thought he did quite well out there for a young guy that came up here, 18 years old, not been around the type of caliber that these guys are. I'm proud of that. It was good to see. We didn't want to see balls going up in the cage and so forth. We wanted to see them go out, and that's exactly what he did."
Buxton -- using a bat given to him by Mauer -- sprayed the ball over the field, and hit one homer into the bullpen in left-center field. Buxton said it was especially cool to get the bat from Mauer, and to get his own personalized Twins jersey with his name and No. 1 on the back of it.
"It was great," Buxton said. "I wasn't nervous. I was just being myself and relaxed, and I stayed calm."
The five-tool outfielder batted .513 with three homers, 17 doubles and 35 RBIs in his senior season at Appling County High School (Ga.). He also went 10-0 with 154 strikeouts over 81 innings as a pitcher, including an 18-strikeout performance to clinch his high school's first state title.
Twins manager Ron Gardenhire liked what he saw from Buxton, as he had the chance to meet him for the first time and watch him run around and take batting practice.
"I just told him to enjoy it -- 'Congratulations, enjoy the heck out of this. Be yourself, and let your ability take over and go have some fun,'" Gardenhire said. "He's a nice-looking young man. We'll see how he does when he gets down to the Minor Leagues, but he looks like he's got a lot of tools. He looks like he's a talented young man, which he must be, or we wouldn't have drafted him with the second pick."
Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, and follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger. MLB.com reporter Jonathan Mayo also contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.