Deadline looms for Boman

The Angels put a big gamble on the table in the ninth round of the First Year Player Draft this June when they selected left-handed pitcher Nate Boman. Within the next 24 hours, they'll know if they hit a big jackpot or crapped out.

Nate Boman, 21, pitched his way to the top of many 2006 draft watch lists early in his sophomore year at the University of San Diego. Then, a torn labrum in the middle of the spring of 2005 shut him down.

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, a club which has never shied away from highly-talented pitchers coming off of injuries, decided that his potential was worth taking a chance on, despite the fact that he hadn't pitched competitively in over a year.

"Because of Nate's makeup and the competitiveness, and the stuff and because he's left-handed, we're willing to take that gamble," said Angels' scouting director Eddie Bane of the decision to take the Southern California native this year.

Now, with classes at USD about to begin, the Angels are down to the last minute in negotiations. If Boman attends a class on Wednesday, the Angels will lose his rights and the redshirt junior will re-enter the draft next spring.

"I haven't made a decision yet," said Boman late last week. "If it (works out), I'll be an Angel. If not, I'm fine with going back to play another year and test out the draft again."

The Angels have a bit more evidence to base any decision on than they did in June when they selected the 5'11" lefty. Boman spent the summer helping the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox to the Cape Cod League championship. The circuit is one of the premiere showcases for underclass college talent.

"Nate's done a nice job, coming back on the Cape," said Bane. "He showed most of his velocity back." Working with a heavy fastball in the low- to mid-90s, Boman posted a 2.94 ERA with 38 strikeouts in 33.2 innings of work.

"It was a great experience," said Boman. "It was a bonus when we actually won the whole thing and I was able to contribute to it."

The Angels have been in frequent contact with Boman and his advisors, scouting each of his eight starts on the Cape. The club has reportedly offered Boman a mid-six figure bonus to come to terms.

Unlike other negotiations this summer, club officials feel they've been treated fairly by Boman and his family.

"Ultimately it comes down to what Nate wants to do and we respect him either way," said Bane.

By Wednesday night, he'll know whether he gets to enjoy knowing that he secured the pitcher he first drafted out of high school two years ago, or if he'll have to admire him from afar.

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