MICHAEL HANSON SIGNS FREE AGENT CONTRACT WITH ATLANTA BRAVES

LEXINGTON, Va. -- Just one day after graduating from Washington and Lee University, former Generals' shortstop Michael Hanson (Atlanta, Ga./Pace Academy) found himself at Turner Field signing a rookie free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves on June 6.

Hanson reported to the Braves' training site at Disney's Wild World of Sports in Orlando, Fla., on Sunday and will have several days of workouts prior to joining the Danville Braves of the Class "A" Appalachian League for the team's first game on June 16.

"I'm very excited to get the opportunity to continue playing baseball," said Hanson from Orlando. "I was surprised and excited to get the phone call on Friday as I was driving home from school. I grew up watching the Braves and they would have been my first choice. From what I hear, they have a good reputation for player development and they have certainly had a lot of success at the Major League level."

The 2003 Old Dominion Athletic Conference Player of the Year, Hanson became the second W&L baseball player in school history to earn All-America honors when he was placed on the 2003 ABCA/Rawlings Third Team All-America squad. He was a four-time All-ODAC selection, having earned first team honors each of the past two seasons.

This season, Hanson batted .371 with five home runs, 12 doubles, 23 RBI, 14 stolen bases and a school-record 46 runs.

A career .360 hitter, Hanson graduated as W&L's all-time leader in games played (136), at-bats (519), hits (187), runs (148), doubles (43), triples (13) and stolen bases (51). The Generals' leadoff hitter, he finished his career having reached base in 74 straight games dating back to April of 2001.

Hanson is the second W&L baseball player to sign a professional contract in the last five years, joining Christian Batcheller '00 who was drafted in the 46th round of the 1999 Major League Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

-- GENERALS --