SAN DIEGO -- Second baseman Cory Spangenberg said he wanted to sign with the Padres fast, and boy did he deliver.
The Padres' first selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft agreed to a $1.86 million signing bonus, approximately Major League Baseball's slot recommendation for the 10th overall pick.
"I just wanted to sign and start playing as soon as possible," said Spangenberg, who took his physical, signed his contract and took batting practice Friday at PETCO Park.
"I've just always wanted play as a kid, and it's not about the money," Spangenberg said. "It's about playing ball."
Spangenberg can continue to move quickly. He is going to the Padres' Spring Training facility in Peoria, Ariz., for a few weeks before he's sent to Eugene, where the Padres' short-season Class A team plays.
The Padres would like to see him advance to Class A Fort Wayne by the end of the season.
"His bat's advanced," said Jaron Madison, the Padres' director of scouting. "He had to have been one of the top two or three hitters in the whole Draft. And defensively, as long as he makes the transition back to second base like we think he will, he'll move quick."
But before Spangenberg leaves San Diego to start his professional career, he took some time to enjoy the life of a newly signed rookie, including absorbing some heckling from Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson. Hudson yelled out during Spangenberg's interview, among other things, "What are you, the LeBron James of baseball or something?"
Spangenberg is excited to be in the Padres organization with a ballpark he said is second to none, and the Padres are happy to have found a guy they think fits that park.
"One of our big emphases were finding guys who can not only defend, but can run and take advantage of the spaciousness of the ballpark, and he fits that perfect," Madison said. "He's going to hit a lot of line drives, and hit a lot of doubles and triples. Home runs are going to be there, but his strength is line drives and doubles and triples."