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Royals sign top draft pick A.J. Puckett

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The right-handed pitcher signs for $1.2 million

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals have signed second-round draft pick A.J. Puckett for a bonus of $1.2 million, higher than the recommended slot bonus of $963,700 for the 67th overall pick. The right-handed junior pitcher from the University of Pepperdine had a 1.27 ERA last year in 99 innings, at one point tossing 45 2/3 scoreless innings in a row.

Puckett required emergency brain surgery in high school following a car accident, but recovered and became one of the top pitchers in West Coast Conference. The Royals have not yet assigned him to a team, but he will most likely begin his career in Advanced Rookie Ball in Idaho Falls.

The Royals have come to terms with a number of draft picks including fifth-round selection shortstop Nicky Lopez out of Creighton, who signed for $243,000, under the $324,800 slot. Sixth-round outfielder Cal Jones, a high schooler out of Alabama, has also signed, as has 24th round catcher Michael McCann. The Royals have inked local products Grant Gavin, a pitcher from Central Missouri taken in Roune 29, and Nathan Webb, a pitcher out of Lee's Summit North taken in Round 34.