ATLANTA, Ga. - Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor was being scouted by several big league teams.
Then came disaster on March 6, when Taylor collided in the outfield with teammate Zach Cone and suffered a broken neck. The injury resulted in paralysis.
Last Wednesday, the story took another turn. The team that had been scouting him heaviest before he got hurt, the Texas Rangers, picked him in the 33rd round.
"It's a real pleasure to be drafted by a Major League team after all I've been through," Taylor said on Saturday. "I'm just very shocked. I mean, the first day Coach called me, I was like, I didn't believe him at first, when he told me that, and then our trainer Mike Dillon told me and I was like, oh my gosh, I can't believe I just got drafted."
Taylor was the second Bulldog outfielder that the Rangers drafted. In the supplemental round on Monday, they took Cone, Taylor's best friend and the other half of that devastating outfield collision. Taylor recalled the scene when Cone visited him at the Shepard Center on Wednesday.
"He came in to visit me and he was like 'We're on the same team again, brother.' I went, 'Yeah, I know. This is crazy.'"
Taylor has made great strides in the two months since the injury, regaining more and more control of his hands and arms. He remains convinced that one day he'll be back on the diamond.
"I believe I can get back on the baseball field," said Taylor. "All I have to do is keep on working hard, every day, 9-to-5, and just keep getting stronger and keep continuing to make progress --you know, just throw all the negative and criticism away. Some people might say I might not be able to walk but you know, all you got to be able to do is to fight and continue to work hard and trust in God. I think I'll get out there again."
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