Tide’s House turning pro

Published 1:07 pm Friday, August 15, 2008

Picayune’s T. J. House won’t be pitching for Tulane next season after all.

House, the former Maroon Tide All-State standout, will ink a professional contract at Noon today with the Cleveland Indians organization.

House confirmed his decision by phone late Thursday night, while he was at Jacobs Field in Cleveland watching the Indians take on the Baltimore Orioles.

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Today is the deadline for prep players to sign pro contracts, as opposed to honoring their college commitments.

“It’s been kind of a quick thing, it just all came together over the last few days,” House said. “They showed a lot of faith in me as a player and a person, and when we began talking again this week it just all happened. I am excited.”

House signed a scholarship with Tulane last fall, and was then also expected to be a high pick in the annual baseball amateur draft in June.

House, however, indicated to all parties that he was going to go to Tulane, but Cleveland still took the standout southpaw in the 16th round.

House’s contract is estimated to be worth around $ 1 million, money almost unheard of for a 16th round pick

“It was a tough decision, one that I thought about real hard,” House, who paced Picayune to the Class 4A state playoffs for the first time in four years this past season with his arm and his bat, said. “I was in a good situation either way, going to one of the best college programs in the nation or signing a pro contract.

“I was planning to go to Tulane for almost the entire time. But I prayed about it and I came to the decision that this is what I need to do and this is what is best for me, to go ahead and start my pro career now.”

House was named the top prospect in the state of Mississippi before his senior season began. He finished his senior season 6-1 with an ERA of less than 1.00, and he struck out over 100 hitters. He also led the team in home runs with five.

House said that he would report to Orlando on Monday to finish out the several weeks left in the Rookie Class Gulf Coast League. He will then report to Arizona in mid-September for the Indians Instructional League.

“This is the chance to go after my dreams of playing in the Majors one day,” House concluded. “It was the right time for me to do this.”