Sports

Yankees select Varnadore; Kyle Carter and JT Phillips go undrafted

It would appear that the Major League dreams of three local high school standouts will be put on hold for a few years.

Columbus High’s Kyle Carter and JT Phillips and Russell County’s Rock Rucker all went undrafted on Tuesday, Day 2 of the 2012 Major League Baseball Amateur draft.

After Round 1 on Monday night, MLB conducted rounds 2-15 of the draft Tuesday. The draft will conclude today with rounds 16-40.

“(I am) not disappointed at all,” Carter said. “I was not bothered at all.

“I didn’t get into (the draft) with any expectations.”

Meanwhile, former Chattahoochee Valley Community College and Auburn pitcher Derek Varnadore was drafted Tuesday. The New York Yankees took the right-hander in Round 9. It was the 307th overall pick.

Carter said that he thought signability played a role in his not being drafted Tuesday.

“(We) told teams I didn’t want to go past third round because that is where money starts to go lower,” Carter said. “That was a decision me, my dad and my adviser made, and we stuck to it.”

Carter and Phillips have both signed with Georgia, while Rucker has signed with Auburn.

Carter said he is 100 percent certain now that he will go to Georgia. The left-hander said he expects to start classes in late July or early August.

“I really wanted to do both (play in the majors and play at Georgia),” Carter said.

Phillips and Rucker could not be reached for comment after the conclusion of Tuesday’s portion of the draft.

Varnadore to New York

Returning to Auburn for his senior season didn’t turn out exactly the way Varnadore wanted.

But the move paid off in a big way as the Yankees made him the first Auburn player off the board.

Varnadore was taken in the 17th round by the Miami Marlins last year before deciding to put off a professional career and return to Auburn.

“That was my goal, to go higher than I did last year,” Varnadore said. “I couldn’t be more excited.”

Coming off of a junior season in which he went 6-3 with a 3.68 ERA for the Tigers, Varnadore struggled as Auburn’s Friday starter, falling to 1-6 before Tigers coach John Pawlowski decided to move him to the bullpen.

He finished his senior season 4-7 with a 4.93 ERA, but he also got a glimpse of what his professional future may look like. Most MLB teams liked Varnadore better coming out of the bullpen in the leadup to the draft.

“I can throw hard for three short innings instead of pacing myself to go deep into the game,” Varnadore said. “It intensified everything, made my stuff better, me being able to go shorter innings.”

Varnadore also benefitted from Major League Baseball’s new-look draft, which only allows teams a certain amount of money to spend on their picks in the first round.

“With the new format, it gave seniors the opportunity to go in the higher rounds, because they have to be more economical with their money.”

Braves go heavy with pitching

The Braves selected 14 more players on Tuesday, including seven pitchers (five right-handed), four catchers, three outfielders and an infielder.

The first player the team took Tuesday was Georgia left-hander Alex Wood.

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