Draft pick Houchins unlikely to sign with Nats

Draft pick Houchins unlikely to sign with Nats

CHICAGO -- Shortstop Zach Houchins, a 15th-round selection in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, said Monday it is unlikely that he will sign a professional contract with the Nationals.

Houchins said he hasn't heard from the club since June after it was discovered that he made what were deemed racist and homophobic remarks on his Twitter page.

Teams have until 12:01 a.m. ET on Tuesday, Aug. 16, to come to terms with their draftees, meaning official notification has to be in the Commissioner's Office when the clock strikes midnight. A text message to general manager Mike Rizzo was not returned.

Houchins told MLB.com back in June that he is not a racist, and he apologized to the front office.

"I called [the Nationals]. I apologized to Mr. Roy Clark [the team's assistant general manager]. I apologized to him for what was said on Twitter," Houchins said. "[Clark said], 'Yeah, anything you said on Twitter was completely unacceptable.' I understood where he was coming from. That was pretty much the conversation.

"I'm not a racist, not at all. ... Four of my best friends, two of them are black, one of them was my roommate. He is probably one of the closest people I've ever been around. ... Me and my four best friends became so close, it's just how we talk. It wasn't anything derogatory or anything like that. It's just how we talk."

Houchins is expected to return to Louisburg College, where he hit .349 with 35 RBIs.

Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time. He also could be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.