It’s official: M’s sign 27th pick Franklin

The Mariners have made official what seemed obvious a day ago, that they have signed high school shortstop Nick Franklin, the 27th pick in the first round of the June draft.

Baseball America is reporting that Franklin will get a $1.28 million signing bonus, above the $1.161 million recommended by the commisioner’s office.

Franklin completed his physical exam today and worked out with the Mariners, fielding ground balls at shortstop and taking a round of batting practice. His parents are on their way to Seattle from their home in Orlando and there will be a news conference Sunday. Today, though, he was much more comfortable looking in a Mariners uniform than he was Friday wearing a dark suit and tie while he watched batting practice.

Mariners scouting director Tom McNamara described Franklin as a confident player, and that came out briefly during a funny interlude between him and first baseman Russell Branyan in the clubhouse.

Branyan, spotting Franklin and McNamara in a hallway, tried to mess with the youngster. “Did we hook him? We did?” Branyan asked. “Sorry to hear that. See you up here in eight years.”

Branyan then asked, “Taking BP with us?”

Franklin said yes, and Branyan said he wished the kid would hit in his group. But, as Branyan turned to go to the field, Franklin added, “Don’t want to show you up.”

Oooh, that’s teen-aged confidence. Not quite the “I dominated them” speil from Ryan Anderson after he threw live BP to Ken Griffey Jr., Edgar Martinez, Jay Buhner on the first day of spring training for the Mariners’ position players years ago, but Branyan did a double-take before continuing toward the field.

The Mariners have signed 33 of their 52 draft picks, but not yet the biggie — second overall pick Dustin Ackley of North Carolina. Teams have until 9 p.m. (PDT) Monday to sign their picks.

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