Delmonico is a kid from a baseball family

I wanted to let you in on a few other quotes and notes about Nicky Delmonico from my interview with him yesterday.

He is the Orioles' sixth-round pick from Farragut High in Knoxville, Tenn. that signed just before Monday's deadline, accepting a $1.525 signing bonus from the O's and giving up his scholarship to play college ball and join his brother at Georgia.

Giving up that size of a bonus, clearly the Orioles deemed Delmonico as a first-round talent, and he got more money than did 10 first-round picks.

This is a kid who grew up as a bat boy for the University of Tennessee team when his father coached the Vols from 1990-2007. He has two brothers in the game - Joey, who just finished his junior season at Georgia, and Tony, who is playing in the minor leagues now for Rancho Cucamonga of the California League.

"As a little kid, I grew up on the diamond," Delmonico said. "It's what I call my home. To be with Baltimore will become just another family to me.

"Growing up with two older brothers that never took it easy on me in the yard, playing football or baseball, to have them to look up to and all the players I got to see at Tennessee like J.P. Arencibia, I got to learn from a young age. One of the greatest memories I have is being a bat boy at Tennessee as a kid.

"What is funny is, ever since I was little, I wanted to wear the colors orange and black at Tennessee and you know, one day I can wear those colors again (with the Orioles). A dream come true."

Delmonico played third base, catcher and center field in high school this year.

"They (the Orioles) see me at third base is what they are telling me. You know, I love the infield and take a lot of pride in going out and taking ground balls," he said.

Delmonico played through some injuries during his senior season, but said he finished the year 100 percent.

"After my junior year, there was a little problem with my back and I grew two inches," Delmonico said. "I think that put a little stress on my back. It wasn't as serious as people thought. At times, it was a little tough to handle. I had some nagging injuries with my wrist. It jammed up when I slid into third base.

"But at the end of the season it was 100 percent and I really started to feel my swing and it took off from there. I had to play a huge role in going into the state tournament, knowing the guys looked up to me. I was able to finish off my career with four state championships.

"One of the guys I look up to the most is Cal Ripken Jr. He is a player I would like to take after. You have to play with injuries sometimes and he did."

The lefty hitter, who turned 19 in July, was a career .450 hitter in high school. He said he will take his physical in Baltimore this week and then head for Sarasota and eventually will take part in instructional league workouts in September.

Now he's getting to do something he always wanted to do - play pro ball.

"It's a dream come true," Delmonico said. "Ever since I was little in the dugout with my dad and the other players, I thought about the opportunity to play professional baseball. I just want to thank everyone, my family and friends and I could not have done this without them."

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