Pro debuts of No. 1 Draft picks
Rays take Beckham with top pick
Tim Beckham's Draft Report
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PRINCETON, W.Va. -- Ever since Tim Beckham, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2008 draft, officially signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on June 19, the question has been when he would make his pro debut.
The answer: Thursday night. Fans can listen in on MiLB.com Gameday Audio at 7 p.m. ET.
Beckham, the high school shortstop from Griffin, Ga., will be in the starting lineup for the Princeton Devil Rays, Tampa's affiliate in the rookie-level Appalachian League. Those wanting to see his defensive skills will have to wait. Beckham will be the DH against the Burlington Royals, hitting in the No. 2 spot in the order.
"This is our second go-round with this," said Princeton general manager Jim Holland, referring to having No. 1 overall pick Josh Hamilton make his professional debut here back in 1999. "So we're prepared for it. We hope Tim's will be a successful chapter that helps get him to the big leagues. We're anxious to get started. I know he is."
Beckham has been with the P-Rays since signing, starting workouts on Monday and getting himself prepared for this moment. His brother, Jeremy, a 17th-round pick of the Rays out of Georgia Southern, has played in five games so far for Princeton, going 4-for-14 (.286) with one RBI and a stolen base. Now younger brother Tim is ready to join him in the lineup for the rest of the summer.
Beckham became one of the quickest No. 1 overall picks to sign when he agreed to a reported $6.15 million bonus just two weeks after hearing his named called. Now he can begin the climb to the big leagues with his first professional at-bats here in Princeton. "He's had a lot of energy since he's been here," Holland said. "You can tell he's antsy."
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.