Rangers, Astros draft paralyzed baseball players

Dennis Waszak, Associated Press (via The Grio) | June 9, 2011

NEW YORK (AP) — Johnathan Taylor and Buddy Lamothe may never play baseball again after accidents left them partially paralyzed.

That didn’t matter to the teams that picked them Wednesday during the final rounds of the Major League Baseball draft.

Taylor, an outfielder from the University of Georgia, was a 33rd-round pick of the Texas Rangers, while Lamothe, a reliever from San Jacinto College, was the Houston Astros’ 40th-round selection.

Taylor was left paralyzed from the chest down after he broke his neck in March during a game when he collided with teammate Zach Cone, the Rangers’ supplemental-round pick Monday. Texas director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said the team’s selection of Taylor was “something we felt was right.”

“We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach’s draft status,” Fagg said. “Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player.”

Taylor hit .335 last year as a sophomore for the Bulldogs, and was hitting .182 with two RBIs in 11 games at the time of his injury.

Fagg added that he and a few other Texas officials visited Cone during “the course of normal pre-draft activity” and gave him a Rangers jersey to give to Taylor that was signed by the entire Rangers team.  (Read more)