Four Bama Players Taken in MLB Draft

Four members of the Alabama baseball team were selected on the first day of the Major League Baseball first-year player draft on Tuesday. The draft consisted of 18 rounds on Tuesday and will continue Wednesday in New York.

Junior left-hander Wade LeBlanc was the first UA player taken as he went in the second round to the San Diego Padres. LeBlanc, a native of Lake Charles, La., was the 61st overall pick of the draft.

"It's real exciting," LeBlanc said. "Actually, San Diego is where I really wanted to go. They showed the most interest in me during the whole process. It worked out really well."

LeBlanc said he was listening the MLB draft on the Internet in his Tuscaloosa apartment when he got the news on Tuesday.

LeBlanc was not the only UA player selected on the first day. Junior center fielder Emeel Salem was a 10th round pick by the Baltimore Orioles. Salem was the 295th pick of this year's draft.

Senior catcher Kody Valverde was also taken in the 10th round by the San Diego Padres. He was the 303rd player taken on Tuesday.

In 2005, San Diego took left hander Brent Carter in the seventh round. Carter is currently pitching for the Lake Elsinore Storm in the Class A California League.

Sophomore right-hander David Robertson was taken in the 17th round by the New York Yankees. He was the 524th overall pick.

Alabama also had three signees drafted on Tuesday. Billy Rowell (C, Bishop Eustace Prep) was taken in the first round as the ninth overall pick by the Baltimore Orioles. Bryant Thompson (RHP, Pensacola JC) was taken in the fourth round (117th pick) by the Arizona Diamondbacks. Del Howell (LHP, American Christian Academy) was taken in the 18th round as the 554th pick.

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