Bauserman, Pirates Talking Contract

No deal is in place yet. But Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln quarterback/baseball pitcher Joe Bauserman sounds like he is getting close to signing with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bauserman, who is committed to enroll at OSU in 2005, was taken in the fourth round of Monday's amateur baseball draft by the Pirates. Click here for more.

You could say that Joe Bauserman is in somewhat of a holding pattern right now.

Bauserman remains committed to play college football at Ohio State beginning in 2005. But this Tallahassee (Fla.) Lincoln product is also pondering his future as a professional baseball player after the Pittsburgh Pirates selected him in the fourth round (112th overall) in Monday's amateur draft.

"We're just kind of going back and forth," Bauserman said of the ongoing contract talks with the Pirates. "We're just talking."

Bauserman admitted he expects to have a deal finalized with the Pirates sometime in the next week. That would likely call for him to report immediately to a Rookie-level farm team, where he would play for the rest of this season.

"If the situation is right, that is what I will probably do," he said. "It may take about a week or so."

Bauserman, who was clocked as high as 97 mph this season, admits that draft day was somewhat unnerving.

"I was kind of thinking I might go in the third round," said Bauserman, who was 4-2 with a 1.58 ERA while recording 75 strikeouts and hitting .339 as a senior. "I was just sitting there waiting for the call before it finally happened."

He said OSU coach Jim Tressel contacted him and congratulated him later the same day. Have he and the coach discussed his future and the possibility of him playing baseball and football at the same time?

"No, we really haven't talked about it," he said. "I don't what will happen. I guess it depends on where everything is going."

It seems likely that Bauserman will sign and play minor league ball through Sept. 1. He is not due to enroll at Ohio State until the winter. But, if he enrolls in the winter, he would probably miss much of spring training and would not be available until mid-March. If he then left for baseball, he would miss spring football with the Buckeyes in April. He could also stay in school until mid-June, go through spring ball and then report to the Pirates' minor league system.

Or he could also opt to put his college football career on hold and devote his full time to baseball. He would retain his full eligibility when and if he would ever report to Ohio State -- a la Florida State's Chris Weinke.

The 6-2, 215-pound Bauserman committed to Ohio State last July. But, by design, he did not sign with the Buckeyes on national signing day in February.

Bauserman is a native of Strasburg, Va., where he started as a freshman and sophomore (team was 12-1) at quarterback. But he also had a budding baseball career going and the family suddenly uprooted in July 2002 and moved to Tallahassee.

Bauserman enrolled at Lincoln, where, as a junior, he passed for a school-record 3,004 yards, including 1,200 in four postseason games. He threw for 24 touchdowns and won third-team all-state honors in Class 4A.

He also had a big year in baseball, earning second-team all-state selection after hitting .324 with three home runs while posting a 1.35 ERA and 4-1 record on the mound. He struck out 71 in 41 innings.

As a senior, he threw for 2,000 yards and 27 touchdowns and also rushed for nine scores. He participated in the 2003 CaliFlorida Bowl. Bauserman was rated as the No. 22 overall prospect in Florida and also as the nation's 22nd-best quarterback by The Insiders. Bauserman is qualified with a 930 on the SAT.

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