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06/08/05 8:15 PM ET
Phils select third baseman Costanzo
Local product thrilled to be picked by hometown team
By Ken Mandel / MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Mike Costanzo couldn't believe his good fortune when he was selected by his hometown team on Tuesday, and eagerly awaited the start of his Phillies career. He wasn't kidding. Less than 24 hours after being selected 65th overall, Costanzo agreed to begin his Phillies career, capping a whirlwind few days of activity. "You have no idea what my house has been like," he said. "There were like 100 people when I got home last night. Outside signs everywhere, shirts made. It's been awesome for me and my family. This is one of the greatest things ever." Negotiations began almost immediately with Costanzo and his Maryland-based advisor, David Pasti -- around 11 p.m. ET at the Costanzo's home. At 3:15 a.m., with those 100 family members and friends standing by, the kid officially became a Phillie. "We are very pleased to have him signed so quickly," said Phillies director of scouting Marti Wolever, who hinted on Tuesday that signing Costanzo wouldn't be a problem. "It's nice to select and sign a local prospect who is so eager to begin his Phillies career." The Phillies didn't disclose how much they paid Costanzo, but it was believed to be comparable to what Dustin Bedroia -- last year's 65th pick -- received from Boston. The exact dollars were lower, but it pays for the rest of his education. The Glen Mills, Pa., resident will join the Batavia Muckdogs roster and report to Clearwater, Fla., on June 13 for workouts prior to the start of the New York-Penn League season, which begins June 21. The versatile lefty will play third base. "I want to be here in two days, but that's unrealistic," he said. "They're going to develop me well at third. I want to get here as soon as possible." Before heading to upsate New York, Costanzo got a taste of hitting at Citizens Bank Park, teeing off against first-base coach Marc Bombard. Manager Charlie Manuel joked that he wanted to see how Costanzo hit off the lefty Bombard. The unofficial count of the numbers of souvenirs launched by Costanzo was six, not bad for a kid who hadn't swung for a few days, though he stopped by a batting cage Wednesday morning to shake off some of the rust. Nerves aside, he handled Bombard's best stuff well, impressing many of the players with his stroke. Of course, none were going to tell him that, and some let some unprintable insults fly. Infielder Tomas Perez gave him a traditional welcome with a shaving cream pie. For Costanzo, that was part of what had been a fantastic day. Already running on fumes, words couldn't describe the feeling he had when he saw his name on a Phillies jersey hanging in the clubhouse. "Oh, my God," he said. "I got the chills when I walked in. The guys are unbelievable. They're treating me like gold." Once he took the field for the team, he was summoned by closer Billy Wagner and Jim Thome, who gave him some tips. "I was like, 'What am I doing here?'" Costanzo said. "I can't believe this is part of my dream. My dream is to play here every day in front of these fans. I can't wait. I'm a happy camper."
Ken Mandel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.