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Jays sign first-round draft pick
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07/23/2004 8:07 PM ET
Jays sign first-round draft pick
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David Purcey will likely report to Single-A Auburn. (Courtesy University of Oklahoma)
TORONTO -- The bargaining's over, so the baseball career can begin.

On Friday, the Blue Jays finally signed David Purcey, their first pick from the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. Reportedly, the left-hander received a $1.6 million signing bonus and will report to Single-A Auburn. That deal gave Toronto 33 of 52 draftees under contract, and only one remaining that they plan on signing.

"They're all in the barn," said J.P. Ricciardi, Toronto's general manager. "Guys in the first round try to see who gets slotted and who goes where. They're usually the last to sign."

Purcey was the 16th overall pick, and Ricciardi said he can get four or five starts before the end of the short-season New York-Penn League. After that, the southpaw will likely head off to Instructional League, where he can work with Toronto's coaches on adjusting to pro ball.

Ricciardi passed credit on to Jon Lalonde, the team's director of scouting. In turn, Lalonde praised the area scouts, who helped the signing process immeasureably. He said that they helped establish a realistic appraisal of what each prospect wanted, and that aided the front office in getting things done quickly.

It was Lalonde's first draft in the head chair, and he said he learned a few significant lessons.

"Don't take it personally. Things are being said, but you think you're being up-front and fair," he said. "It's a business from the player's side and it's a business from our side. This is a sizable investment, and we'd like to maximize our return in the long run. As much as you'd like to win the New York-Penn League title, we have to look down the road."

Toronto is doing exactly that with Cory Patton, the team's sixth-round selection. The outfielder suffered a stress fracture in his left foot before the draft and played through pain during the postseason. The Jays weren't aware of the injury when they made the pick, but they plan on letting him heal and trying to sign him.

"They've been great on their end -- very forthcoming, didn't try to hide it. It's supposed to be an eight-to-12 week recovery process, and we'll follow his progress," Lalonde said. "It would've been a discount factor, for sure. That being said, it tells you a lot about the kid. He dislocated his foot in the regional and wanted to play outfield the next week."

Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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