When doesn't the baseball draft work in mysterious ways?

Beginning at roughly 10:30 yesterday morning, Villanova lefthander Mike Francisco spoke and/or exchanged text messages with a half-dozen major league organizations.

Mindful that Francisco, a product of Malvern Prep, had not signed last year after being selected by the Phillies in the 45th round, the teams "were trying to see whether I still wanted to play pro ball."

Then, toward the latter part of the afternoon, while he was speaking on the phone with 'Nova coach Joe Godri, Francisco received a text from a Mets scout, who indicated his franchise would take him with the very next pick (No. 1,452 overall) in the 48th round.

"Very cool," Francisco thought.

Another text followed shortly thereafter. Same guy.

"You just got picked by somebody else."

"I didn't even know who it was," Francisco said, laughing. "I had to go on line to find out. When I saw it was the Milwaukee Brewers . . . Pretty surprising. I hadn't talked to them all year."

The 6-4, 225-pound Francisco, a reliever, this season went 2-3 with nine saves and a 3.60 ERA.

"I'm fully thankful to be getting another chance at pro ball," he said. "The Phillies saw me last year [in a New England summer league] and talked to me a number of times, but the [money] numbers weren't close to keeping me from returning to finish up my degree [marketing].

"I was thinking maybe I could go a little higher this time, but all I wanted was another opportunity and I got it. I'm very excited."

When asked for his feelings about the fact that his pro career won't start with his hometown team, as it could have, Francisco said, "Ah, there's still that possibility in the future, right? At least I'll always be able to say my hometown team drafted me once, even if it wasn't in the year when I signed."

Francisco said he expects to reach terms quickly and begin his career with a low-level affiliate in Arizona or Montana.