Hawaii's Wright signs with Cleveland for $630K
The WAC pitcher of the year will not play until next season after recovering from an illness
Western Athletic Conference pitcher of the year Steven Wright signed with the Cleveland Indians organization yesterday, officially giving up his senior season and ending his Hawaii baseball career.
"I'm pretty stoked," said an ecstatic Wright, who reported he received a $630,000 signing bonus.
After he was drafted as the Indians' second-round pick, 56th overall, in last month's Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, his decision to turn pro was all but made. Wright said he spent the past week in Akron, Ohio, home of the Indians' Double-A affiliate, but he had to wait to sign and announce the deal.
The club is "kind of just nursing me back," from the bout of mononucleosis that knocked Wright out of the Rainbows' NCAA Regional appearance June 2-4.
After an 11-2 season, in which he had a 2.30 ERA and earned assorted All-America accolades, Wright was unavailable for the regional at Oregon State. It took three or four weeks to bounce back, Wright said.
"I've been real sick before, but I've never been put down like when I had mono," he said. "It put me on my back."
He is expected to miss this minor league season. The Indians have Wright running, doing plyometrics, sit-ups, etc., and will start him lifting next week. He is expected to begin a throwing program in two weeks.
"Right now, I just need to get my body and lungs back into shape," he said.
He'll be assigned to the Instructional League in September and will start next year at Class A Kinston, N.C.
Wright is the highest UH player drafted since Mark Johnson went to the Houston Astros in the first round of the 1996 draft.