Brackman Upbeat About Negotiations

DURHAM, N.C.–There was a time when it was common for teams to hash out contracts with players over peanuts and soda at the ballpark, but that wasn’t the result of a conversation between Andrew Brackman and Damon Oppenheimer when the two met at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Friday night prior to the Japan/Team USA game.

With Oppenheimer, the Yankees’ scouting director, in town to evaluate the college national team, Brackman, the Yankees’ unsigned first-rounder from North Carolina State, and Bob Brower, a representative of the Scott Boras Corporation, bumped into each other at the ballpark in what Oppenheimer called a coincidental meeting.

“I think the negotiations with a guy like Brackman . . . go between (general manager) Brian Cashman and Scott Boras,” Oppenheimer said. “My conversations with Andrew are, ‘hang in there, we’re working on it, we’ll get it done, keep yourself in shape and get yourself ready to go.’ Those conversations are pretty simple.

“The ones that really count are between Brian and Scott, and I’m real optimistic we’re going to get it done and he seems real positive about it, as well.”

A terrific, if unproven talent, the 6-foot-10 righthander cordially shook hands and spoke with fans during the game, and seemed genuinely optimistic he would sign with the Yankees by the Aug. 15 signing deadline. “Everything is going along exactly like we hoped it would work out,” he said.

The most significant caveat to Brackman’s potential signing is his health. After his junior season got off to a strong start, Brackman came down with an arm injury that cost him most of the final month of the season.

“Right now, I’m just tossing, throwing on the side, working out one to two hours a day, lifting and staying in shape,” Brackman said. “I haven’t felt pain in a while. Hopefully when signing day comes, I can get right out there.”

Other industry sources suggest Brackman’s bill of health isn’t as clean as he says publicly.

“Healthy or injured, we’re going to do everything we can to get him signed,” Oppenheimer said.