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11 June 2007
JSU's Hand Going Pro

By Al Muskewitz
Star Sports Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

“Done deal.”

With those two words, Jacksonville State junior right-hander Donovan Hand confirmed Sunday he's taken the Milwaukee Brewers' offer and will forego his final season of eligibility with the Gamecocks.

“I pretty much knew once I got drafted I was going to sign if I got a pretty good deal,” Hand said. “It was a real good offer. It took us about an hour or two to decide.”

Hand declined to give details of his first pro contract, but said it was “substantially more” than he figured for a 14th-round draft pick. It is believed to include provisions for him to complete his education.

“I was satisfied with what I got,” he said.

Hand signed Saturday afternoon, less than 30 hours after the Brewers made him the 431st overall pick of the draft. He leaves Wednesday for a two-day mini-camp in Phoenix, then ships out to the organization's Class A Pioneer League affiliate in Helena, Mont.

The Brewers' advanced affiliates are close to his Hatton home — Huntsville (AA) and Nashville (AAA) — and his goal is reach them “before long.”

“They told me I could progress as fast as I wanted to,” Hand said. “If I work hard, the sky's the limit.”

Despite a 7-8 record this year, Hand was the Gamecocks' best pitcher the past three years. He was 19-8 with a 2.82 earned run average his first two seasons.

His departure to pro ball immediately elevates sophomore Ben Tootle of Oxford as the ace of the staff. Tootle was 6-3 with a 5.91 ERA this season.

About Al Muskewitz

Al Muskewitz covers golf and Jacksonville State University sports teams for The Star.

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