May 23, 2003
SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara University senior second baseman A.J. LaBarbera signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants Thursday afternoon, officially removing his name from the upcoming Major League Baseball amateur draft. Details of the contract were not made available.
"I am very thankful and excited for the opportunity to keep playing," said LaBarbera. "It is a good feeling to know that I will at least get a good chance and playing at the next level. It is certainly a good end to a fun five-year college career."
During his two years on the Mission Campus, LaBarbera posted a .322 batting average with 17 doubles, three triples, eight home runs and 65 RBI. He scored 83 runs over the two years and stole 23 bases. He began his Bronco career at shortstop, but moved to his natural position of second base after one month. Since the move to second base he has posted a fielding percentage near .990, making only nine errors.
A very patient hitter at the plate, LaBarbera drew 28 walks during his senior campaign while striking out only 23 times. His 37 runs scored in 2003 was the third highest total on the team while his 46 runs scored in 2002 placed him second. He came to SCU via Long Beach State where he played his first two seasons of collegiate baseball.
LaBarbera becomes the fourth player during the Mark O'Brien coaching era at Santa Clara to sign a professional contract. He joins Joey Gomes, Pat Peavey and A.J. Ampi who all signed following the 2002 season. Both Gomes and Peavey are still playing in the minor leagues.
"It's a very nice way to conclude a good collegiate career," said O'Brien. "It is a dream come true for him to be able to sign a professional contract, and hopefully he can work hard and attain another dream of making it to the big leagues. It is also nice to see him continue the trend of Santa Clara players signing professional contracts. He is further proof that we are headed in the right direction with the players we are bringing in."
The Broncos expect a few more players to sign this summer. The 2003 MLB Amateur Draft will take place on June 3 and June 4.