ATLANTA - As he waited at his family's home in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a couple of representatives from the Phillies scouting department to arrive and make his signing official, Anthony Hewitt had to fight the urge to hop a flight to Florida.
"I'm ready to go right now," said Hewitt, the potential-laden high school infielder whom the Phillies selected with the No. 24 pick in the amateur draft in early June. "I'll go down there right now."
He will get that chance soon enough.
The Phillies and Hewitt, the Daily News has learned, have agreed in principle on a compensation package that includes a signing bonus in the neighborhood of $1.4 million, paving the way for him to report to the team's rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League.
Before that happens, Hewitt will make an appearance at Citizens Bank Park this weekend, where he will take batting practice with the Phillies and meet some of the players he hopes to one day call teammates.
Though signability was mentioned as a concern by some predraft analysts thanks to a scholarship offer from Vanderbilt, Hewitt seemed set to begin his pro career from the moment the Phillies drafted him in the first round.
"I wanted to get the best possible deal that I could, and the deal that was fair to me," said Hewitt, who added that he plans on letting his bonus sit in the bank for a while. "After that was squared away I was ready to get down [to Florida] as soon as I can."
At 6-1, 195 pounds, Hewitt was mentioned by some analysts as the best high school athlete in the draft. A 19-year-old in the infancy of his baseball maturation - he hit .536 with eight home runs and 19 RBI as a senior at Connecticut's Salisbury School - it was important for both sides to reach an agreement and get Hewitt as much work as possible this summer.
"A player of Anthony's caliber is exactly what this organization has a track record of developing," said Jack Toffey, Hewitt's Boston-based agent.
Of the nine high schoolers selected in the first round this year, Hewitt would be the fourth to sign. His family was scheduled to meet last night with Phillies scout Gene Schall and regional supervisor John Castleberry to formalize the agreement. Hewitt expects to be formally introduced to the public and the team in Philadelphia at some point this weekend, likely Friday, during the team's series against the New York Mets.
Though Hewitt played shortstop in high school, he played third during the summer and expects the Phillies to use him more at that position.
"I'm really comfortable at third," he said.
It sounds like he will be there shortly.
continues to lead all All-Star candidates with 2.65 million votes. Voting ends tomorrow night and no other Phillie appears to have a chance of being voted in . . . Righthander
, who threw 73 pitches in an appearance Sunday at Triple A Lehigh Valley, is scheduled to pitch again Friday at Pawtucket. *
For more Phillies coverage and opinion, read David Murphy's blog, High Cheese, at http://go.philly.com/highcheese.