WASHINGTON (AP) -The Nationals signed left-handed pitcher Josh Smoker, the 31st player chosen in the June draft, on Tuesday and assigned him to the Gulf Coast League.
The 18-year-old Smoker was signed one day before the deadline for drafted players to reach a deal. Smoker, who graduated from Calhoun (Ga.) High School this spring, will report to the Nationals rookie team in the GCL on Saturday.
``He's a dominating left-handed pitcher,'' Nationals general manager Jim Bowden said. ``We were very pleased he was still there when we selected.''
Washington has signed 19 of its first 20 draft picks. Jack McGeary, another left-handed high school pitcher, who was selected in the sixth round, has yet to reach a deal. McGeary will attend Stanford if he doesn't sign with the Nationals.
Smoker, who went 13-0 with a 1.24 ERA in his senior year, was one of two picks the Nationals received as compensation for the Chicago Cubs' signing of outfielder Alfonso Soriano.
Smoker was confident he would sign with Washington even as Wednesday's deadline loomed.
``There's always the possibility, but we knew our adviser would get the job done,'' he said. ``It was only a matter of time.''
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