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Published: Friday, July 29, 2011, 10:54 a.m.

E-W's Jones signs with Yankees

Before Austin Jones' senior year at Edmonds-Woodway began, what happened Thursday was almost unthinkable.
But then the Warriors first baseman set the school record with a .568 batting average and led his team to the 4A state quarterfinals. Two months after his last high school game, he will begin his career as a professional baseball player in the New York Yankees organization.
It all happened so fast even Jones says that it is hard to believe.
"It would have been nuts (to think about) even at the end of the season. I don't think I would have believed it. It's still hard to believe right now," Jones said.
After being selected in the seventh round of the Major League Baseball draft in June, Jones chose to sign with the Yankees rather than accept a scholarship to play baseball at the University of Arizona. A year ago neither were on his radar.
"It is crazy," Jones said. "If you go back and look at last October, I was looking at junior college teams then it morphed into Division 1 schools and then the pro teams started looking."
After signing a contract with Yankee scout Mike Thurman Thursday, Jones flies to Tampa today and will begin playing immediately for the Yankee affiliate in the Gulf Coast league.
It was tough to pass up a free education at Arizona, but Jones says the decision came down to playing time and the ability to get his dream career started. His parents were involved in the decision, but they made sure to leave final say up to him.
"My parents tell me every day to look at my goals and make sure to set new ones," Jones said. "My number one goal ever since I can remember is to play professional baseball."
In college he figures that he'd only see 200 at bats if he started every game, whereas in the minors, not only will he begin playing right away, but also he expects to see 350-400 at bats.
"I feel like I can progress more and really get my career started by going professional," Jones said.
According to Jones the coaches at the University of Arizona were disappointed but very understanding and they asked that he keep in touch.
"It's still a good relationship with them, which is good because it was hard to make that call," Jones said.
He still plans on pursuing a college degree beginning winter quarter at Edmonds Community College during the baseball off-season. The only difference is he expects it will take a few years longer to get a degree.
One thing that always comes with signing with a major league team is a signing bonus and based on where he was selected (439th overall) Jones' bonus could be anywhere between five and six figures, but he declined to specify exactly how much. He did say that it was a four-year agreement.
"It'll be on the Internet in enough time, but I personally don't want to (disclose the amount) because I don't like tooting my own horn," Jones said. "It was exactly what they promised."
He has no plans to buy any fancy cars or houses in the immediate future either.
"I think for now I'm just trying to find as much interest as I can for all of my money," Jones said. "I'm trying to be a little more mature and save it."
He wants to save to buy a house and although he expects to live with his parents for the next few years, he said he might end up buying his first house in Edmonds.
"Edmonds is a great city, great town," Jones said. "I don't need to go anywhere else."

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Story tags » Edmonds-Woodway High School High School Baseball

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