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Phillies Take Ex-Rio Grande Pitcher Giles in Round 7

Pitcher Had Big Year at Yavapai

Kenny Giles couldn’t watch anymore.

Giles, the former standout pitcher at Eldorado and Rio Grande high schools, tuned in the early rounds of Tuesday’s portion of the Major League Baseball draft. Then he went outside for a walk.

“It went on and on and on and just got more and more stressful,” Giles said. “I couldn’t take it. I had to go outside for a while.”

Giles was in Albuquerque watching the draft with his father, Glen Giles, but wasn’t tuned in when his name was called. The Philadelphia Phillies selected the Albuquerque native in the seventh round. The 20-year-old right-hander was the 241st player drafted overall.

“I was ecstatic. I couldn’t believe it,” Giles said of his reaction when his father told him his name had been called. “I thought my dad was playing a prank on me.”

Giles is coming off a strong season at Arizona’s Yavapai College during which he appeared in 23 games as a reliever. Giles pitched 38 innings, compiled a 1.18 earned-run average and struck out 67 batters. He turned more than a few scouts’ heads with a fastball clocked as fast as 98 mph.

Still, Tuesday presented something of a good-news, bad-news scenario for Giles. He was surprised and delighted be selected by the Phillies, but had hoped to go higher than round seven of the draft.

Fortunately, Giles has options. He previously committed to play college baseball at Arizona next season.

“We’ll see how the negotiations go,” Giles said. “If everything goes the way I want, I’ll be with the Phillies. If not, I’ll be in Tucson. It’s good either way.”

Regardless, Giles will have a new baseball address for the fourth straight season. After playing for Eldorado through his junior year, Giles transferred to Rio Grande and helped the Ravens win a district title in 2009. He pitched just 11รข…” innings at New Mexico Junior College the following season before moving to Yavapai for 2010-11.

“It’s been a roller-coaster for me,” Giles said. “Good year, bad year. But I was really determined to work hard and improve my standing (at Yavapai). It worked out great and I loved it there. Hopefully, that’s the just the beginning.”

CUBS: The Cubs hope they’ve drafted a Great One.

Trevor Gretzky, the baseball-playing son of hockey Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, was selected in the seventh round Tuesday. The younger Gretzky knocks in runs – not goals – as a left-handed power-hitting California high school first baseman.

The Cubs also took a name from their past, drafting California high school outfielder Shawon Dunston Jr. – his father was the No. 1 overall pick by Chicago in 1982.

The sons of Ivan Rodriguez and Kevin Seitzer, and the great-nephew of Eddie Gaedel – who’s 6-foot-3, unlike his 3-foot-7 great-uncle who walked in a publicity stunt 60 years ago – were all taken during the draft’s second day.

The draft finishes today with rounds 31-50.

SELIG: If commissioner Bud Selig has his way, baseball’s amateur draft will have a whole new look next year.

With the collective bargaining agreement between players and owners set to expire after this season, Selig wants to see some changes to the draft implemented in a new labor deal.

For one, he’d like a slotting system that limits bonus money for top picks – they would be paid based on where they are selected.

Also, he wants Major League Baseball to develop an international draft.

“I believe in slotting and I believe in a worldwide draft. I think it’s important,” Selig said, pointing out that the draft began in 1965 as a way to improve competitive balance.

— This article appeared on page B5 of the Albuquerque Journal

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