ARLINGTON - Georgia junior outfielder Johnathan Taylor, partially paralyzed in a game earlier this season, was selected in the 33rd round of the Major League Baseball draft on Wednesday.
Taylor is an outpatient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta after suffering a broken neck in a March 6th outfield collision with teammate Zach Cone. The Rangers selected Cone with a supplemental first-round selection this year. The accident happened while the Bulldogs were playing Florida State in Athens.
"This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization," said Georgia coach David Perno. "J.T. is definitely a player worthy of getting drafted. He's been a big part of our program, and we are all very excited for him. When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted."
Taylor has appeared in 117 games in his Georgia career including 91 starts. He has a .312 batting average.
"We thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do," said Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg. "We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach's draft status. 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.
"A few weeks ago, myself and a couple other members of our department visited Zach Cone in Georgia in the course of normal pre-draft activity. We presented Zach with a Rangers jersey for Johnathan that had been signed by the entire club, and asked if Zach could deliver it to his teammate."
Taylor had neck surgery the day after the collision and was transferred to Shepherd Center four days later. He will continue a rehabilitation program for the next 4-to-6 weeks.