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08/16/07 2:25 AM ET

Notes: Rangers sign Ramirez

Club inks 44th overall pick out of high school near deadline

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers signed Neil Ramirez, a Virginia high school right-hander selected 44th overall, near the signing deadline on Wednesday. However, Texas did not sign University of Tennessee outfielder Julio Borbon, selected 35th overall, before Wednesday's 10:59 p.m. CT deadline.

Ramirez was confident he would sign early on Wednesday, but the Rangers did not officially announce his signing until 13 minutes past the deadline. The Rangers announced 75 minutes after the deadline that Ramirez was the only Draft pick to agree to terms on Wednesday.

Borbon was the only one of the 64 first-round and compensation picks that did not sign.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels was at the owners meetings in Toronto on Wednesday and is expected to talk with the media on Thursday.

Ramirez, who agreed to a reported $1 million signing bonus, was selected as the Virginia Gatorade Player of the Year after compiling a 6-2 record with a 1.46 ERA and 74 strikeouts in 52 2/3 innings for Kempsville High School.

"It's an incredible feeling for me and my family," the 6-foot-3, 190-pound Ramirez said Wednesday.

Borbon is represented by Scott Boras. The Rangers continued negotiations right up to the deadline, but were not able to reach an agreement.

The Rangers will receive an equivalent compensation pick for Borbon in next year's First-Year Player Draft.

The Rangers also did not sign fifth-round Draft pick (170th overall) John Gast, who was coming off reconstructive elbow surgery.

Gast has signed to play at Florida State, and the Rangers will not receive any compensation selection for Gast.

The Rangers also did not sign their fourth-round pick, outfielder Garrett Nash, who opted to play at Oregon State.

Murray stays put: A.J. Murray was told after Tuesday's game that he was being optioned to Triple A Oklahoma. He was last seen in the clubhouse packing his bags. But the Rangers changed their mind after deciding to put Brandon McCarthy on the disabled list, and Murray was still with the big league team on Wednesday night.

"I was ready to head down there," Murray said. "I'm relieved. This gives me another chance, but I still have to go out and prove myself."

Blalock throws: Third baseman Hank Blalock threw from third base to about 10 feet short of first base for the first time Wednesday. He took a combination of 25 grounders from his front side, back side and glove side.

"I felt good, it's just endurance and arm strength from here on out -- which is good," Blalock said.

Rangers manager Ron Washington said if Blalock continues to improve, he could go on a medical rehabilitation assignment at the beginning of the next homestand, on Aug. 23.

Laird starts: Washington started Gerald Laird at catcher for the second consecutive game on Wednesday. Jarrod Saltalamacchia will start Thursday and Friday, and Laird will start Saturday and Sunday. Washington said he will not rotate the two catchers every other day.

"I'm certainly not going to put Gerald in one day and take him out [the next]," Washington said. "I can put Salty in there one day and take him out because he plays first [if he's not catching]."

He said it: "No, because just when you think it's safe to go back in the water, that's when Jaws gets you. I'm just going to stay in that mode where I'm always reaching for it. In reality, I do want to be the closer, but I don't ever want to be complacent. If they call me the closer, I want to be the best closer, or a better closer." -- C.J. Wilson, who saved his fifth game on Tuesday, on whether he considers himself the Rangers' closer.

Tuesday's Minor League stars:

Gold: Right-hander Edinson Volquez allowed one run on four hits over seven innings with 11 strikeouts, but Triple-A Oklahoma was shut out by Memphis, 1-0.

Silver: Catcher Max Ramirez went 3-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored as Class-A Bakersfield beat High Desert, 10-2. Ramirez is hitting .339 with three home runs, five doubles and 10 RBIs in 15 games (59 at-bats) since joining the Blaze July 28.

Bronze: First baseman Mitchell Moreland had two hits for four RBIs to lift Class-A Spokane past Tri-City, 9-8.

Briefly: The Rangers committed two errors Tuesday, the first time since July 14. Second baseman Ian Kinsler has not committed an error in 20 consecutive games. ... Rob Gauntlett and James Hooper made an appearance at Wednesday's game against Kansas City. The two Englishmen are on an expedition to travel from the Geo-magnetic North Pole to the Geo-magnetic South Pole under manpower and natural power alone -- from sledging to sailing to cycling.

Up next: The Rangers host the Royals in the series finale on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Left-hander John Rheinecker pitches for the Rangers against Leo Nunez of the Royals.

Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.