Mahtook talks about ‘hard decision’ to sign with Rays

It’s official: Mikie Mahtook is a former LSU Tiger for good.

Mahtook signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, who drafted him with the 31st pick of the first round, not long before the 11:01 p.m. EDT deadline Monday night.

According to the Rays’ website, the outfielder signed for $1.15 million.

“The hard part of it (negotiations) wasn’t the money or anything like that,” Mahtook said. “The hardest part was me making a decision on what I wanted to do – whether I wanted to come back to LSU or whether I was going to take that next step in my life.

“Everything about LSU I love. It was a really hard decision.”

LSU coach Paul Mainieri felt Mahtook’s decision was best.

“I could not in good conscience encourage him not to (sign),” LSU coach Paul Mainieri said.

Mainieri said JaCoby Jones and Cody Glenn, a 15th-round draft pick by the Toronto Blue Jays, will compete to fill Mahtook’s spot in center field.

Mahtook will report Sunday to Tampa Bay’s Class A advanced farm club in Port Charlotte, Fla.

More to come in Wednesday’s editions of The Advocate and at