Texas Rangers, Houston Astros Draft Paralyzed Players
It may only be the second week of June, but the pennant race in both leagues for classiest move by a major league team is over.
Earlier this week, the Texas Rangers drafted a paralyzed player in this year’s Major League Baseball draft, while their cross-state rivals Houston Astros did the same.
Last year’s American League champs selected Johnathan Taylor, an outfielder from the University of Georgia, in the 33rd round. Taylor has not been able to walk since he collided with teammate Zach Cone during a game against Florida State back in March.
Cone was selected in the first round by, you guessed it, the Rangers.
Rangers’ Director of Amateur Scouting Kip Fagg said, “We thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do. We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach’s draft status.”
Fagg said one of the team’s scouts has been in touch with Taylor for years, adding, “As an organization, I think all of us are always trying to do the right thing in any situation. Taking Johnathan in the draft today, it was something we felt was right.”
Taylor fractured the vertebrae in his neck and injured his spinal cord during the collision with Cone. He hopes to return to the baseball field one day, despite the fact one of his doctors told him people his injuries fail to recover 100 percent function in their legs.
Still, the Rangers’ decision to draft Taylor blew him away. His mother said, “When he got the call, his face lit up, and we were all very excited. It was awesome news.”
The Astros matched the Rangers by selecting Buddy Lamothe in the 40th round of the draft. The pitcher from San Jacinto College North was injured last month in a skydiving accident.
The team’s assistant general manager, Bobby Heck, said, “From an organizational standpoint, hopefully the Astros can make somebody feel better. It puts a lot of what we do in perspective.”
Lamothe is expected to continue his recovery at the same Houston rehab center where Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been receiving treatment.