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06/08/05 9:07 PM ET

A's ink top pick Pennington

Oakland, first-round pick waste no time in deal

OAKLAND -- Cliff Pennington said he wanted to get to work right away, and the A's made that possible sooner than anyone expected.

The junior shortstop out of Texas A&M, selected 21st overall Tuesday as Oakland's first-round pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, signed with the club Wednesday for a reported bonus of $1.45 million.

Signing a first-rounder this early is rare, but Eric Kubota, Oakland's director of scouting, said late Wednesday that he had a feeling Pennington would be in the fold sooner rather than later.

"We anticipated getting it done quickly, but probably not this quickly," said Kubota, who casually made the announcement during MLB.com's live webcast of the draft. "I think it's an indication of how much Cliff wants to get out there and play, and how easy it was to work with his agent, Matt Sosnick."

"I'm ready to get out there and start working my way up," Pennington said Tuesday.

Pennington, a 5-foot-11, 175-pound switch hitter who batted .363 with seven homers, 39 RBIs and a .453 on-base percentage in 56 games with the Aggies this year, likely will start his professional career with Oakland's short-season Class A team in Vancouver.

Mychael Urban is a national writer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.