Z-man mum on unsigned Draft choices

General manager Jack Zduriencik steadfastly refuses to discuss the upcoming signing deadline for players the Mariners selected in the First-Year Player Draft.

As of tonight, the top two choices — oufielder Dustin Ackley, from the University of North Carolina, and infielder Nick Franklin from the same Florida high school that produced the likes of former Mariners catcher Jason Varitek — remain unsigned.

Both must be signed by 9 p.m. PT on Monday.

Ackley, the second player selected in the June Draft, is being “advised”  by agent Scott Boras, who historically waits until the last minute to get his top Drafdt clients under contract. That’s just the way he does business. So even if Ackley and the Mariners reach a contract agreement, I doubt that it will happen until a few minutes before the deadline.

On the other hand, Franklin was spotted in the Mariners dugout this afternoon by eagle-eye reporter Kirby Arnold of the Everett Herald. Franklin’s in town for a physical, a sure sign that an agreement in principal has been reached.

Franklin was the 27th player selected in the Draft and the first of two compensation picks Seattle received for losing outfielder Raul Ibanez to free agency.

The 6-foot-1 Franklin has a college scholarship offer from Auburn sitting on the table.

Meanwnile, down on the farm, word just came in that right-hander Brandon Morrow pitched a complete-game, four-hit shutout tonight for Triple-A Tacoma.

— Jim Street

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