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Padres Sign Two Draft-and-Follows

May 27, 2003

The Padres signed a pair of draft-and-follow picks from the 2002 draft in catcher George Kottaras and lefthander Danny de la O.

Kottaras, a Florida signee out of Connors State (Okla.) Junior College, signed for $375,000 after being drafted in the 20th round last year. With limited catching in this year's draft, Padres scouting director Bill "Chief" Gayton called Kottaras "a huge signing." Fresno City College lefty de la O was a 30th-round pick last year.

The Padres already signed outfielders Drew Macias out of Chaffey (Calif.) JC and Chad Etheridge out of Texas powerhouse Grayson CC, as well as fifth-year senior outfielder Tom Fabrizio, who led Western Michigan in hitting.

The Padres still hope to sign Clemson first baseman Michael Johnson, last year's second-round pick, UC Riverside outfielder Brian Wahlbrink and San Jacinto JC righthander Jared Wells, whose fastball has been clocked at 97 mph. Johnson, Wahlbrink and Wells are all still playing and their teams must be eliminated before Tuesday's draft or the Padres lose their rights to them.

The Padres negotiated with Marist outfielder Chuck Bechtel and made an offer but didn't sign him.

--JOHN MAFFEI

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