Two Paralyzed Players Drafted by Major Leagues

Coach calls move "classy"

By Greg Wilson
|  Thursday, Jun 9, 2011  |  Updated 4:22 PM CDT
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Georgia left fielder Johnathan Taylor is shown at Foley Field in Athens, Ga. Taylor was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 33rd round of Major League Baseball's draft.

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Johnathan Taylor may never walk again, but he can always say he was picked in Major League Baseball's draft. Ditto Buddy Lamothe.

The Texas Rangers chose the University of Georgia's Taylor, who was injured in an outfield collision, in the 33rd round of the annual draft. Seven rounds later, the Houston Astros drafted Lamothe, a pitcher for San Jacinto Junior College who was paralyzed in May when he dove into a river to retrieve his sunglasses.

"We thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do,” Kip Flagg, the Rangers’ director of amateur scouting, said in a statement.

The team's scouts had been following Taylor since he was a high school player. He fractured a vertebrae in his neck in March when he dove for a line drive and collided with teammate Zach Cone, who ironically was also drafted by the Rangers.

Taylor told ESPN last month he hopes to walk again, and maybe even play baseball. But his doctor has said people with similar injuries don't regain full use of their legs.

Georgia coach David Perno said the draft choice “was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization.”

As for Lamothe, Astros Assistant General Manager Bobby Heck said the team picked a player who will likely never play again because it was a chance to do a good deed.

"From an organizational standpoint, hopefully the Astros can make somebody feel better," Heck said. "It puts a lot of what we do in perspective."

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