ARLINGTON -- Neil Ramirez has four days left to sign with the Rangers. He has already signed with Georgia Tech, but would rather sign with the Rangers. "I'm pretty set on signing with the Rangers," he said. "Georgia Tech is the college I want to go to, I'd be fine going to Georgia Tech if that happens, but it's not my first choice." The Rangers selected Ramirez, a 6-foot-3, 190-pound right hander, in this year's Draft with the 44th overall pick.
"It's coming down to the wire, it's going to come down to the last day," Ramirez said. While he declined to discuss specifics of the negotiations, Ramirez said his advisors and the Rangers are "pretty close" to reaching a contract. Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said a 2008 contract is "more likely" than a 2007 contract at this point. Therefore, Ramirez would play in the instructional league this fall, but would be ineligible in the Arizona Rookie League, which would have 13 games left after the Aug. 15 signing deadline. Ramirez was selected 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 (Va.) High School. He has a fastball that reaches 96 mph along with a curveball and a changeup. Ramirez is currently in Corsicana, Texas, visiting family, but heads home to Virginia Beach, Va., on Monday. The Rangers have also not signed their first overall pick, Blake Beavan, a right-hander from Irving, Texas, selected 17th overall, and, Julio Borbon, an outfielder from Tennessee selected 35th overall. Beavan has said he would like to get a deal done with the Rangers, rather than attending Navarro College, a junior college in Corsicana, Texas. Borbon, who is represented by Scott Boras, expressed a desire to sign after the Draft, but could play his senior season at the University of Tennessee and re-enter the Draft next year. If the Rangers fail to sign any of the picks, they will receive an equivalent compensation pick in next year's Draft. Padilla, Loe to start: Vicente Padilla will start for the Rangers on Wednesday against Kansas City. Padilla, who has been on the disabled list since June 25, made his final rehab start on Friday at Double-A Frisco, allowing one run on three hits in a 62-pitch, 2 1/3-inning outing. "I heard his stuff was good. He ran up his pitches, but his line was great," manager Ron Washington said. In six rehab starts at Frisco, Padilla is 0-1 with an 8.25 ERA. He has pitched a total of 12 innings, allowing 11 runs -- all earned -- on 14 hits with 12 strikeouts. "Sometimes numbers can fool you," Washington said. "It might be the Minor Leagues. ... We'll know Wednesday. He's ready to go." Padilla will be on an 80-85 pitch count. Kameron Loe threw a 24-pitch bullpen session on Saturday and will make a one-game rehab start at Frisco on Monday. Loe was scheduled to throw his bullpen on Friday, but pushed it back a day because of back stiffness. He said "everything felt great" during his session. Loe is penciled in to start on Saturday at Minnesota and will be on a 75-85 pitch count. Hairston update: Jerry Hairston is on the 15-day disabled list with a broken rib and a bruised spine. He is out at least three weeks. "All I can do is rest and wait for it to heal," Hairston said. "I can do mild [rehab] stuff, but I can't swing. I was playing every day and it was painful, but I don't have any regrets." Murphy starts: David Murphy made his first start for the Rangers in center field on Saturday. Murphy, who played at Baylor University, can play all three outfield positions, but feels most comfortable in center. "He just got here, I don't know anything about him," Washington said. "He'll make me commit [to Murphy]. I've never seen the kid." Marlon Byrd, who went 0-for-5 Friday, had Saturday off. "We wanted to give Byrd a mental day," Washington said. "I talked with [hitting coach Rudy Jaramillo] and he thought [Byrd] needed a mental day." He said it: "It was cool because when he pitched you would see all the scouts there. The coaches would tell us, 'This is your opportunity to be seen too.'" -- catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia, on catching Kason Gabbard at Royal Palm Beach (Fla.) High School. Friday's Minor League stars: Gold: Third baseman Chris Davis hit a two-run home run in Frisco's 6-5 victory over Tulsa. Davis now leads all of the Minor Leagues with 104 RBIs. Silver: Right-hander Kendy Batista did not give up a run on three hits with eight strikeouts over seven innings as Class A Bakersfield shut out San Jose, 4-0. Bronze: Left-hander Zach Phillips pitched seven scoreless innings, allowing three hits with eight strikeouts for Class A Clinton. However, the bullpen coughed up five runs as Clinton lost to West Michigan, 5-1. Briefly: Reliever Akinori Otsuka threw 40 pitches off flat ground on Saturday and is scheduled to throw long-toss in a couple of days. ... Frisco first baseman Jim Fasano was sent down to Bakersfield. ... Catcher Salomon Manriquez came off the disabled list at Frisco. Up next: The Rangers host the Devil Rays in the series finale on Sunday at 7:35 p.m. CT at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Gabbard pitches for the Rangers against right-hander Jason Hammel.
Drew Davison is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.