Dodgers Sign #1 Pick Ethan Martin

First-round Draft pick Ethan Martin has signed for a $1.73 million bonus believed to be $1.73 million. The 19-year-old is a right-handed pitcher from Stephens County High School in Georgia. He also played third base in high school and after signing he took joined the Dodgers' batting practice and hit four shots into the seats.

"After he hit a couple into the seats, I asked him if he wanted to play third," said manager Joe Torre, who is looking for offense anywhere he can find it. "I hear he can pitch pretty well, too. He's got a good swing, good size."

Martin was the 15th overall and the Dodger last five No. 1 picks all have been high school pitchers, including SCott Elbert, 2004, Luke Hochever 2005 (who didn't sign), Clayton Kershaw 2006 and James Withrow 2007. They also drafted supplemental first round picks Justin Orenduff 2004, Bryan Morris 2006 and James Adkins 2007.

Martin will report to the Gulf Coast League rookie team and be limited to about 35 innings. Kershaw pitched 37 innings his first season after signing and arrived in the Major Leagues in less than two years.

Martin has been pitching only two seasons, so he has a fresher arm but less experience. He said the most pitches he made in a high school game was 130, but he mostly stayed in the 80-90 range. By comparison, Chad Billingsley, a first-round pick in 2003, said he often exceeded 130 pitches a game in high school.

In his only other visits to California, Martin said he had played in a tournament in San Diego and had skiied in Lake Tahoe as a youth. He and his family visited Hollywood, where he received the traditional motivational speech from Hall of Fame manager Tom Lasorda and underwent a physical exam.

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