Gaviglio to meet with Cardinals next week

Sam Gaviglio is technically in Corvallis, but he's also in a sort of post-draft limbo. The St. Louis Cardinals drafted the former Ashland High pitcher in the fifth round on June 7. He'll almost certainly sign before the Aug. 15 deadline, fulfilling a lifetime dream of becoming a professional baseball player.

But until that happens Gaviglio, 21, who has one year of college eligibility left, is still Oregon State's ace.

"It's always an option," Gaviglio said when asked if there's any chance he'll return for his senior year.

But not a very popular one, since players who choose to go pro after their senior season have far less bargaining power during contract negotiations. Usually that translates into a smaller signing bonus.

Gaviglio, a 6-foot-2 right-hander, says he will meet with a representative from the Cardinals next week to begin negotiations. He's been told that if a deal is struck, he will most likely be assigned to the Cardinals' short season rookie league team in New York, the Batavia Muckdogs, and that he would be limited this year to 40 innings.

"I've always wanted to play pro ball," Gaviglio said. "It's been my dream.

"(Waiting) is kind of making me anxious to do something. I'm just trying to enjoy my time that I have off and then stay focused for what I need to do."

Gaviglio is currently finishing a class in Corvallis, and hitting the weight room on the side. After that, he has tentative plans to return to his parents' home in Ashland. He's already contacted his former high school pitching coach, Chuck Thacker, about getting some work in.

As for the Cardinals, Gaviglio says that he's heard good things about the organization. He found out that they were seriously considering picking him when a representative called him during the fourth round. He was eventually taken with the 170th overall pick.

"I found out that (the Cardinals) are pretty well organized and well respected, and I've heard from a couple random people saying that it's a good fit for me," Gaviglio said.

Gaviglio was originally drafted in the 40th round by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 2008 first-year player draft, but decided instead to play for Oregon State. That decision appears to have paid off.

In Corvallis, Gaviglio emerged as the surprise staff ace as a freshman, going 10-1 with a 2.73 ERA. He battled a nagging hamstring injury during his sophomore year and took a step back, but was better than ever as a junior. In what could prove to be his final college season, Gaviglio went 12-3 with a 2.54 ERA and was bombarded with postseason awards — among them, all Pac-10 first team, Baseball America second-team All-American and semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award.

"I thought it was great," Gaviglio said of his time at Oregon State, perhaps tellingly speaking in the past tense. "I was fortunate to have Nate Yeskie as my pitching coach. A lot of my success was due to him. And I had fun."

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