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August 13, 2008To say that the Tulane baseball program wishes time flew by in August would be an understatement at this point.
Just two days from the deadline for high school players to sign professional contracts, the Green Wave baseball team's 2009 hopes took a hit when T.J. House opted to sign with the Cleveland Indians.
While House will not officially put pen to paper until Friday, all parties involved have been informed of his intentions, and the pitcher is headed on a flight to Cleveland this evening to take a physical for the Indians.
"It was a tough decision because I was in a win-win situation," House told The Wave Report Wednesday afternoon. "I could either go to college and get three years of education under my belt and go play for one of the top programs in the country or go start my career now and get three years under my belt in the minor leagues.
"I thought about it real hard. I prayed about it. I came to the decision that this is what I need to do and this is what is best for me."
While many speculated that House had indeed received the $1.6 million he requested earlier in contract negotiations, the Picayune, Miss., product's contract will total only $1 million.
But despite the lesser amount, the total worth of the contract is abnormally high for a 16th-round pick such as House.
"That shows that they do want me, and they do want me in the organization," he said. "I know they are going to take care of me, and I am going to have time to improve and work my way up through the organization and hopefully in three or four years I can be up in the big leagues throwing for them."
House's decision comes as a shock to many after the pitcher seemed like a lock to take the mound for the Green Wave next season.
"I actually was planning on coming to Tulane," House said. "I had decided before the draft that college was going to be the place for me. I really thought it would be the best thing for me.
"But as the summer went by I ended up getting sick and I couldn't play summer baseball. Then I started thinking a little bit more. My plans were originally to go to Tulane, but things change and you have to do what is best for you."
House said he plans on calling Tulane coach Rick Jones later this evening to explain his decision.