O'Campo heading to Surprise

The Texas Rangers signed 18-year-old right-handed pitcher Kyle O'Campo just before Wednesday night's deadline. The Rangers' 13th round pick, O'Campo was rated as Scout.com's 94th best prospect leading into the 2007 MLB Draft. Lone Star Dugout spoke with the pitcher shortly after he signed with the club.

"It feels great," said Kyle O'Campo, who signed with the Texas Rangers just before Wednesday's deadline. "It has been kind of draining, but it all worked out in the end. I couldn't have asked for it to happen any other way."

The Rangers' 13th round pick, O'Campo signed for an above-slot $250,000 signing bonus. While he says he was very happy with the money, he generally stayed out of the negotiation process.

"I kind of stayed out of it," he said. "My advisor was just doing all that. I was just sitting back, playing catch, and trying to not worry about it."

Rated as Scout.com's 94th best prospect prior to the 2007 Draft, O'Campo dropped to the 13th round because of his commitment to collegiate baseball power Cal State Fullerton.

While O'Campo waited during the negotiation process, the Rangers advised the right-hander to throw bullpen sessions on the side in order to stay in shape. O'Campo says he was able to get some much needed rest during the time off.

"I had a long high school career, so it was actually nice to not be throwing," said O'Campo. "I know it's a long road, so there is plenty of time for me to pitch. It was nice to rest my arm and get it strong."

One of O'Campo's mid-July bullpen sessions was attended by Rangers Director of Scouting Ron Hopkins, who wanted to get a glimpse of the young hurler.

"He said everything looked good," claimed O'Campo of his workout with Hopkins. "He basically just wanted to see how my arm looked and if there were any hints that my arm was maybe hurt. It was good and he suggested for them to sign me."

After signing his contract in California with area scout Steve Flores, the Rangers flew O'Campo to Arlington for the physical.

"I'm actually in Texas right now," said O'Campo on Thursday afternoon. "I'm going to go watch the game tonight. I just got done with my physical and everything. They're going to send me to Arizona tomorrow."

With only two weeks left in the Arizona League season, O'Campo says he will just be getting back into shape once he gets to Surprise.

"They're basically going to have me on a throwing program," he said, "but no pitching because I haven't thrown a bullpen in a couple of weeks. I'm going to be running a lot, just getting into shape."

Because he has not pitched competitively since his high school season came to an end, the Rangers may elect to send the former High School All-American to their instructional league.

"I might stay out in Arizona and pitch in the instructional league," said the right-hander. "They're talking about it, but it's not final yet."

Armed with a low-90's fastball and an above-average slider, O'Campo says he would like to work on developing his changeup while he is in Arizona. However, he plans let the Rangers decide what is best for him.

"I'm just going to go out there and do what I've been doing," replied O'Campo. "I want them to tell me what I need to work on. It would be nice to improve my changeup. Other than that, I'll just let them tell me and I will do whatever they tell me."

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