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Braves sign top pick, send lefty to Rome

ATLANTA - The Atlanta Braves agreed to terms late Thursday night with their top selection from the 2009 First-Year Player Draft, left-handed pitcher Mike Minor from Vanderbilt University.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Minor will be assigned to the Class A Rome Braves.

Minor was chosen with the seventh overall pick, the highest selection for the Braves since they drafted outfielder Mike Kelly out of Arizona State University with the second pick in 1991.

"This is a great day for the Braves," said Roy Clark, Atlanta's director of scouting. "He was a very polished college pitcher who experienced a lot of success, especially for Team USA, and we think he has a chance to be special. We're excited to get him started in our organization and to watch him develop."

The 2008 Baseball America Summer Player of the Year, Minor posted a 6-6 record with a 3.90 ERA during his junior year for the Vanderbilt Commodores in 2009. He struck out 114 batters in 110.2 innings. In Southeastern Conference play, Minor went 4-4 with a 4.41 ERA in 10 starts in 2009. The 6-foot-4, 195-pounder was named a National and SEC Pitcher of the Year candidate and a preseason All-American entering the 2009 season. In three seasons with Vanderbilt, Minor went 22-10 with a 3.53 ERA and posted 10 complete games in 50 appearances (48 starts).

Minor, who was the ace on USA Baseball's college national team last year, posted an impressive 3-0 mark with a 0.75 ERA, including two victories against Cuba, during the 2008 summer. In a two-year span with Team USA, Minor compiled an 8-2 record with a 1.17 ERA and 74 strikeouts with just 17 walks in 69 innings.

The Braves have now signed 23 of their 49 selections from the 2009 draft.

AAA championship game changes names

If the Gwinnett Braves reach the Class AAA title game this season, they won't be playing in the Bricktown Showdown, which had been the name of the game pitting the International League and Pacific Coast League champions.

As of Friday, the one-game event will be called the Triple A Baseball National Championship Game. It will still be played in the Bricktown District of Oklahoma City, just under a new name.

The championship game will be held Sept. 22 at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN2 and Westwood One radio.

The Richmond Braves, Atlanta's AAA affiliate before moving to Gwinnett this season, advanced to the 2007 Bricktown Showdown but lost 7-1 to Sacramento.