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Press Release: Tampa Bay Rays Do Not Expect to Sign LeVon Washington or Kenny Diekroeger

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Straight from the proverbial horse's mouth:

ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. -The Tampa Bay Rays announced today that the organization does not expect to reach agreement with its first- and second-round picks from the 2009 June First-Year Player Draft before tonight's midnight EST deadline.  The Rays would receive equivalent draft picks in the 2010 June First-Year Player Draft if these players do not sign.

The Rays selected outfielder LeVon Washington with the 30th pick in the first round and infielder Kenneth (Kenny) Diekroeger with the 29th pick of the second round, 78th overall.

"We are disappointed that LeVon has chosen not to sign with the Rays," said Andrew Friedman, Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. "We offered him a bonus consistent with late-first-round picks.  Immediately following the draft, he seemed eager to sign but it has not materialized.  We wish LeVon great success with his baseball career."

Washington, 18, hit .400 (34-for-85) this Spring with seven home runs, 14 stolen bases, 19 RBI, four doubles, one triple, and 32 runs scored at Buchholz High School in Gainesville, Fla.  Baseball America ranked him as the No. 2 "fastest runner" among high school players entering the draft. Baseball America also rated him the No. 29 prospect entering the draft, and the No. 9 center fielder.

Diekroeger, 18, attended Menlo High School in Atherton, Calif., where he hit .586 (34-for-58) with four home runs and 20 RBI during his senior year. He was the highest-drafted player ever out of Menlo High.

"When we drafted Kenny, we went in with our eyes wide open, knowing he had a strong desire to attend Stanford University," Friedman said.  "We knew that we would either be signing a top talent or receiving a comparable pick in the 2010 draft.  We wish Kenny all the best at Stanford."

The Rays have signed 32 of their 50 selections from Draft, including 15 of their first 20. 

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