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Fort Worth Cats sign major-league draft pick Aaron Crow

Pitcher Aaron Crow, who was selected ninth overall in the Major League Baseball first-year player draft by Washington in June, signed a minor-league contract with the Fort Worth Cats on Wednesday.

Crow was the Big 12 pitcher of the year at Missouri last season. He was 13-0 in 2008 with a 2.35 ERA and 127 strikeouts in 107 innings.

All signs point to Crow officially being a member of the Cats after Friday’s 11 p.m. MLB signing deadline for draft selections passes.

Discussions with Nationals general manager Jim Bowden have stalled, Crow’s agent, Randy Hendricks, said.

“We wouldn’t have had him sign with the Cats if we thought he was going to sign with the Nationals,” Hendricks said. “The last I talked with Jim Bowden, he didn’t think there was anything more to talk about. I didn’t disagree.”

The stalled contract talks are what led Crow to being in Fort Worth on Wednesday evening to sign with the Cats.

Hendricks said Crow took some time off after finishing last season with Missouri, but has been working out for about a month in anticipation of returning to the mound soon.

The question, though, has been where will he play.

After negotiations with Washington came to a standstill, Crow said one reason he’d like to play for the Cats is the presence of family in Fort Worth.

“I have an aunt and uncle who live down here,” Crow said. “I’m looking forward to spending some time with them.”

He added, though, that his pitching future “remains to be seen.”

Hendricks seemed more confident that Crow would be pitching for Fort Worth as soon as possible after Friday.

“Our real focus is on Aaron pitching for the Cats and entering the draft next season,” Hendricks said.

Crow is the third high draft pick to sign with the Cats in recent years.

Luke Hochevar, the 40th pick in the 2005 draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, signed with the Cats and pitched in a few games, then re-entered the 2006 draft and was selected No. 1 overall by the Kansas City Royals.

Max Scherzer, who also played at Missouri, was taken with the 11th overall pick in the 2006 draft by Arizona. He started three games in Fort Worth. However on the eve of the signing deadline, he reached an agreement with the Diamondbacks.