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Thursday, February 19, 2004

Two Signings From Down Under

One for the Halos -- LHP/1B Matt Ryan, signed ironically because of his bat ("I'm a pitcher, not a hitter ... I don't even own a bat"), for a signing bonus of $200k. He developed shoulder problems before the National Championships:
[He] had grown in excess of 6’ and he appeared to have the baseball world at his feet when disaster struck. Just prior to going to Canberra with the Victorian U18 team Matt developed shoulder problems which saw him dropped from the team. He still went to Canberra but had to be content with watching the game from the stands, sitting most times with Trevor Jarrett. “That was so tough”, said Matt from his Grovedale home, “to sit each day and watch my team mates playing in the National Titles.” On returning to Geelong it was discovered that he had torn his labrum in his pitching shoulder which required an operation and a long period of rehabilitation. Not only had he had to sit out the National Championships but now he was unable to attend the MLBAAP Academy on the Gold Coast in July. However, instead of letting it get him down he showed the mental toughness which will get him through the pro leagues and set to work on his rehab to ensure his place in the Victorian team playing at the Championships in his hometown of Geelong this January.

“He hadn’t fully recovered at the time of the Tournament,” said Trevor Jarrett, “ and he was given duties as a hard hitting 1st baseman when he wasn’t being called upon to pitch.” With 6 other lefties the Victorians could afford the luxury of using Matt sparingly on the mound and so the pro scouts had the opportunity to witness his ability with the bat, and they liked what they saw and were soon in heavy negotiations with his agent.

And one for the Dodgers, C/1B/3B Mitchell Ayres, his teammate on the Victoria team. (Here's some photos of them together.) G'day, mates, and good luck!

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