"It's not unusual to sign advanced college players [to a Major League contract]," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We felt that Julio had the ability to be in there well within that timetable."
Borbon will take a physical before going to Class A Spokane. Daniels said Borbon will open Spring Training with the Major League team next season.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Borbon hit .345 with three home runs and 28 RBIs for the Volunteers this past season. He was ranked as the No. 19 overall prospect by Baseball America heading into this year's Draft.
The Rangers signed their first seven Draft picks, and 30 of 54 overall.
The Rangers did not reach agreements with fifth-round selection John Gast, a left-handed high school pitcher from Florida, or 12th-round selection Drew Pomeranz, a left-handed high school pitcher from Tennessee.
Manager Ron Washington said the Rangers do not know who will start on Tuesday at Baltimore, but they will decide this weekend. It will either be John Rheinecker or Triple-A pitcher Edinson Volquez.
Rheinecker started for the Rangers on Thursday and Volquez is 5-1 with a 1.89 ERA in six starts at Triple-A Oklahoma.
Volquez, who went to Spring Training with a chance to be the No. 5 starter, began the season at Class A Bakersfield and worked his way up to Triple-A. Pitching coach Mark Connor said it was the same program the Blue Jays used with Roy Halladay.
"You find out about them that way," Connor said. "It sounds like he's matured a whole lot. He's got on the field presence. He's been outstanding."
Hank Blalock wants to be playing with the Rangers on Aug. 31 at Anaheim. He did not throw Thursday after fielding 25 grounders on Wednesday and throwing from third base to about 10 feet short of first base.
"My body isn't sore, but there's no reason to overdo it," Blalock said.
Blalock will repeat Wednesday's exercises Friday and Saturday in Minnesota. If everything goes as planned, he will throw all the way to first base next Wednesday.
Washington said Blalock would need to go on a three-game rehab assignment before joining the Rangers.
Connor was pleasantly surprised with Vicente Padilla's return on Wednesday, when he went five innings allowing an unearned run with eight strikeouts. This came after Padilla posted an 8.25 ERA in six rehab starts at Double-A Frisco.
"Guys that pitch in the Major Leagues have a hard time getting adrenaline going in Minor League games," Connor said. "Obviously, he's one of them."
He said it:
"You never like to see it. It hasn't been very much fun this year. I can't think of maybe three or four times this year we had the same rotation. It's been a hard, frustrating year." -- Connor on the constant shuffle of starting pitchers.
Wednesday's Minor League stars:
Right-hander Chris Baker allowed three hits and no runs with seven strikeouts over seven innings to lead Triple-A Oklahoma over Memphis, 4-0.
Shortstop Elvis Andrus went 4-for-5 with a home run and four runs scored lifting Class A Bakersfield past High Desert, 9-0.
Third baseman Emerson Frostad hit a home run in the top of the 12th inning as Double-A Frisco defeated Tulsa, 6-5, in 12 innings.
Pitchers C.J. Wilson and Joaquin Benoit were unavailable Thursday. Washington said the Rangers would close by committee. ...Reliever Akinori Otsuka has thrown up to 100 feet twice the past two days, but only at 60 percent effort. Connor said Otsuka would not throw off a mound anytime soon. ... Friday's starter Kason Gabbard left for Minnesota Thursday afternoon to avoid the Rangers' overnight flight on Thursday. ... The Rangers promoted Double-A starter Armando Galarraga to Triple-A. ... Triple-A right-hander Robinson Tejeda went on the disabled list with a strained quadriceps muscle.
The Rangers begin a six-game road trip in Minnesota on Friday. Left-hander Gabbard pitches for the Rangers against right-hander Carlos Silva of the Twins. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT at the Metrodome.