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No. 5 overall pick agrees to $9.5 million deal

11/21/2003 - Mark Teixeira

ARLINGTON, Texas -- First-round pick Mark Teixeira agreed to
a $9.5 million, four-year deal with the Texas Rangers on Wednesday,
ending the threat that the third baseman would return to Georgia
Tech.

Teixeira, the fifth pick in June's draft, was given a major
league contract with a $4.5 million signing bonus, payable over
three years.

The deal was hammered out between Rangers officials and
Teixeira's agent, Scott Boras, the same person who brokered the
$252 million, 10-year deal that All-Star shortstop Alex Rodriguez
got from Texas last winter.

Texas owner Tom Hicks called Teixeira a special player, one he
believes could join A-Rod on the left side of the Rangers infield
within two years.

"He has a real good chance to be in the major leagues in 2003.
It's really up to him," Hicks said. "He's the best player we've
ever drafted as a franchise. He has more clear potential to be
successful in the major leagues than any other we've seen."

Teixeira, considered one of the best switch-hitters in college
baseball, hit .409 with 36 homers and 165 RBI in 140 games over
three seasons at Georgia Tech.

"I'm sure there will be some expectations, but I put high
expectations on myself," Teixeira said by phone from Atlanta.
"Hopefully, I will become a producer for the Rangers. I'm just
going to go out there and play, and whenever they need me, I'll be
ready."

The Rangers are expected to put him on the 40-man roster and
send him to the Florida Instructional League.

Teixeira was the national college player of the year in 2000
when he hit .427 with 18 homers and 80 RBI.

A broken right ankle kept him out for 10 weeks this past season.
In 16 games as a designated hitter, he hit .419 with five homers
and 20 RBI.

Although he did not play the field for Georgia Tech for 16 games
this spring, Teixeira has said his ankle is 100 percent.

Teixeira is expected in Texas on Thursday, when he will undergo
another physical before the contract is finalized and signed. Hicks
said the Rangers have been assured that Teixeira's ankle is
completely healed.

"It feels great. I can run full speed," Teixeira said. "I've
been working out every single day, rehabbing, running a lot and
getting it strong."

Teixeira has remained this week in Atlanta, where he sat out as
classes began at Georgia Tech on Monday. Had Teixeira attended any
classes to start his senior year, the Rangers would have lost their
rights to him.

Teixeira will be paid $250,000 in 2002 followed by yearly
salaries of $750,000, $1.5 million and $2.5 million.

Hicks said real negotiations with Teixeira didn't really begin
until the last few days. That is the way Boras wanted to do it.

"We didn't really drag on, we just didn't get started until the
end and that created a sense of urgency for everyone," Hicks said.
"There was the normal give and take."

The sticking points apparently were never over money, but were
related to technical issues related to the status of the contract
should there be another work stoppage in baseball after this
season.

"I was optimistic the whole time that we'd get something
done," Teixeira said. "I'm not much involved in the business
side. My role is playing ball."