No matter what smoke and mirrors may have shrouded their decision-making process in the days leading up to the draft, the Phillies now admit they had their mind made up all along.

The clincher came last Wednesday when lefthander Jesse Biddle, from Germantown Friends, auditioned in a private workout at Citizens Bank Park. After that, if he was still available when the Phillies made the 27th overall pick in this year's draft, they planned to take him.

He was. They did,

"He was outstanding, even better than he'd been during the season," scouting director Marti Wolever said. "It really was a no-brainer."

Wolever said Biddle was throwing 89 to 91 mph earlier this spring but hit 94 last week. "And we think there's some more left," he added.

Biddle, 6-5, 225, has a scholarship offer from the University of Oregon that may have scared off some teams, but Wolever said he wasn't overly concerned about signability. He said Biddle and his adviser, Matt Sosnick, have indicated he's interested in getting his professional career started.

Biddle was 9-2 with a 1.06 earned run average this season with 140 strikeouts in 59 1/3 innings. As a junior, he was 5-0 with an 0.64 ERA.