Higashioka visits Yankee Stadium

Higashioka visits Yankee Stadium

NEW YORK -- When Kyle Higashioka found out he was drafted by the Yankees, he was in an AP Calculus class at Edison High School in Huntington Beach, Calif.

His friend looked over his shoulder as he opened his cell phone to read the text message from Yankees scout Dave Keith.

"My whole class kind of went crazy," Higashioka said.

When Higashioka, a catcher selected in the seventh round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, was in the Yankees' clubhouse before Wednesday's game against San Diego, in front of a locker with his nameplate on it, he wasn't going crazy.

Instead, he was practically speechless.

"I'm excited -- I can't even describe it," Higashioka said.

He took a tour of Yankee Stadium, watched the game against the Padres and met several Yankees, including catcher Jorge Posada.

"All the guys are really great," Higashioka said.

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Higashioka batted .558 with seven homers and 25 RBIs this season. He signed a letter of intent with the University of California but said he hasn't decided where he'll start his post-prep career. Higashioka hasn't entered contract negotiations with the Yankees.

Keith, who scouts Southern California, said he likes Higashioka's physical tools and personality.

"Kyle can really swing the bat," Keith said. "He has intelligence behind the plate. He's got the whole package."

Keith was also impressed by how Higashioka caught Yankees first-round pick Gerrit Cole for the Yankees' scout team last fall.

"To see him handle Gerrit, and the movement Gerrit has with the slider, the changeup --- I never saw a clanked ball," Keith said.

Having Higashioka meet the Yankees gives him another benefit, Keith told the 18-year-old.

"Just take a look at Jorge's forearms and look at yours," Keith said as Higashioka stuck out his arms and examined his forearms. "I'm trying to remind him how hard it is to get to this spot."

At least Higashioka knows what it looks like now.

Willie Bans is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.