The Washington Times - June 29, 2009, 06:36PM

First off, the tarp’s on the field here at Land Shark Stadium, and it doesn’t look like we’re going to start on time. How about that: The Nats in a rain delay? What were the odds?

Meanwhile, the Nats announced the signings today of seven draft picks, the most notable being second-round selection Jeff Kobernus, a second baseman from Cal-Berkeley.


Kobernus received a $705,500 signing bonus, which is right about where MLB’s slot figure for the 50th overall pick should be. He’ll report immediately to short-season Class A Vermont. Actually, he was boarding his flight there a little while ago when I got a hold of him.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said above the din of other passengers stowing their luggage and flight attendants making announcements. “I’m excited to get out here and get playing and start my pro career.”

Signing quickly was a priority for Kobernus, who has been told by the Nationals he’s got a good chance of moving up through the system at a brisk pace. He turns 21 tomorrow, and he’s got three years experience playing in the Pac-10. On top of all that, the Nats are thin on second basemen in the system, so there’s definitely an opportunity here.

“Oh yeah, it’s definitely a motivation, knowing it’s wide open,” he said. “If I go out and do what I’m supposed to do, I’m going to have a chance to move up quickly.”

Described as a versatile, speedy player who makes good contact and doesn’t strike out much, Kobernus played center field his freshman year at Cal, then third base his sophomore year. It wasn’t until this past season that he settled in at second base, but he says he’s most comfortable there and believes it’s his best position.

The other players who signed today:

17th round pick Chad Jenkins (LHP, Cecil Comm. College)

22nd round pick Daniel Rosenbaum (LHP, Xavier University)

23rd round pick Kyle Breault (SS, Northville, Mich., HS)

27th round pick Brandon King (RHP, Martinsburg, W.V., HS) 

28th round pick Matt Swynenberg (RHP, Black Hawk, Ill., Coll.)

34th round pick Shane McCatty (RHP, Oakland, Mich., Univ., son of Nats pitching coach Steve McCatty

The Nats have now signed 23 of their draft picks overall, including five of their top 10.