Georgia's baseball team was rocked by the March 6 collision between the club's top player, left fielder Zach Cone, and center fielder Jonathan Taylor. Cone returned to action, but Taylor had to be carried off the field, broke his neck in the collision and was left partially paralyzed.
Monday, the Rangers drafted Cone in the supplemental first round, 37th overall. Then they drafted Taylor on Wednesday in the 33rd round, a move scouting director Kip Fagg described as "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. "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. 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.”
The baseball community has rallied in support of Taylor all year. Georgia's baseball team, just .500 late in the season, shook off the loss of one of its top talents in Taylor to go 3-2 in the Southeastern Conference tournament, earning an at-large regional bid. Area scouts donated nearly $2,000 to go towards Taylor's rehabilitation costs at a recent showcase. And now the Rangers have shown Taylor one more time that the game will not forget about him.
“This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization,” Georgia coach David Perno said in a school press release. "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.”
In the same press release, Cone added, "I was pumped up when the Rangers told me they were thinking about drafted J.T., and then I got a call saying that they had drafted him. I was already planning on going over to see him and now we can talk about the Rangers. This made my day; it's just awesome, and I'm so happy for him."
Fans can donate to the Johnathan Taylor Fund through georgiadogs.com, An account has been set up at First American Bank and Trust (FAB). Donations can be mailed to the following account or dropped off at any FAB location.
First American Bank and Trust, c/o Johnathan Taylor Fund, P.O. Box 1688, Athens, Ga., 30603.
A website where individuals can send Johnathan messages and check for updates has been set up by the family. To send an online note to Johnathan and the family, please visit: www.caringbridge.org/visit/Johnathantaylor.
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