Nick Ciuffo, after signing with the Rays on Friday, said he's eager to get back on the field and start his professional career.
Ciuffo, a catcher who Tampa Bay's first-round pick in this month's draft, said he'll start with the Rookie-level GCL Rays soon.
"I'm not real sure when I'll start playing," Ciuffo said on a conference call. "I don't think it will be tomorrow. I need to get my body back into game shape and get my timing back, hitting on the field. I'm just going to do what the Rays want me to do because they obviously know best."
Ciuffo hasn't played in a game since May 17 when Lexington (S.C.) High won a state championship. He was the 21st overall pick in the draft and signed for a $1,974,700 bonus, according to Baseball America.
"I've been on the edge of my seat since I heard my name called in New York," said Ciuffo, who said he consulted with Rays minor league pitcher Taylor Guerrieri (also a native South Carolinian) and Guerrieri "said nothing but good things."
"Whenever they want to say go at it, I'll be ready."
Ciuffo arrived at Tampa Bay's complex in Port Charlotte, Fla., on Friday and had simple first-day plans: "I'll get a tour and see what my office is going to look like for the next couple of months."