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Padres Draft Report

By John Maffei
June 4, 2002

SAN DIEGO--Two picks into Tuesday's draft, general manager Kevin Towers wasn't sure if he should rename his team the San Diego Tigers, or if Clemson should change its nickname to the Padres.

With their first two picks in the draft, Towers and his staff took a pair of Clemson players--shortstop Khalil Greene and first baseman Michael Johnson.

"Clemson's doing a lot better than us," Towers said of the Tigers, who are headed to the super-regionals against Arkansas. "Maybe they'll change records with us.

"We feel we've added two good players, players who can give us some pop."

Greene is hitting .484-24-79 with 29 doubles and 15 stolen bases going into the weekend games with Arkansas, and is the favorite for Baseball America's College Player of the Year award. He has hit in 30 straight games, striking out just 20 times in 300 plate appearances. Plus, he has a .966 fielding percentage with 11 errors in 313 chances.

Johnson is hitting .387-21-74 with 16 doubles and 11 steals.

"Greene is a five-tool guy," said Padres scouting director Bill Gayton. "He's very consistent, and in this organization, he has a chance to move very fast.

"The position he plays was a key. I know some scouts say he isn't a true shortstop, but he'll have to prove to us he can't play shortstop."

Greene was a 14th-round draft pick last season by the Cubs, but chose to play his senior season at Clemson.

"I knew I wasn't a 14th-round player last year," Greene said. "It's hard to change people's opinions after the fact. I wanted to come back, put up decent numbers, not necessarily to prove people wrong, but to show I should have been taken higher.

"The draft was a goal at first. I wasn't nervous about where I was going to be picked."

Johnson said he didn't expect to go before the fourth or fifth round, so he was thrilled to be taken in the second.

"It's very exciting," Johnson said. "Khalil and I, we've become good friends. We came in together the first year. It's very exciting that we'll probably be together a while longer."

Towers and Gayton said Greene and Johnson would start at either low Class A Fort Wayne in the Midwest League or high Class A Lake Elsinore of the California League.

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