Pirates Draft AU Player And AU Signee

The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted Auburn baseball junior Dan Gamache on Tuesday as well as one of Coach John Pawlowski's signees while six other Auburn players were selected by Major League teams in day two of the draft.

Auburn, Ala.--The Pittsburgh Pirates selected Auburn junior Dan Gamache with the first pick in the sixth round of the Major League Baseball Draft and also drafted Tiger signee Clay Holmes, a pitcher from Slocomb, Ala., High.

Also on Tuesday, All-SEC shortstop/second baseman Casey McElroy and six other Tigers were drafted. McElroy was selected by the San Diego Padres in the 11th round as the 353rd overall pick. McElroy hit .370 for the Tigers last season as a junior with nine home runs and 53 RBI.

Auburn has now had at least one player drafted every year by Major League Baseball going back to 1975. Among SEC teams only Georgia, which has had a player drafted every year since 1973, has a longer streak than the Tigers.

Casey McElroy had a strong 2010 season for the Tigers.

In the 17th round the Florida Marlins selected Derek Varnadore, a right-hander, who was Auburn's top pitcher in 2010 after transferring to AU from Chattahoochee Valley Community College. He posted a 6-3 record with a 3.68 earned run average. Varnadore, a power pitcher, allowed 85 hits in 88 innings pitched and struck out 74 batters.

Derek Varnadore

Senior right-handed pitcher Bradley Hendrix was drafted in the 22nd round on Tuesday by the Tampa Bay Rays. Bradley was selected in the 30th round a year ago by the Cincinnati Reds in the Major League Baseball Draft, but returned to Auburn.

Bradley Hendrix.

Hendrix posted a 14-8 record at Auburn with a 5.40 earned run average. His 68 career relief appearances tie him for sixth in Auburn history with Steven Register.

Tony Caldwell, a second team All-SEC catcher, was taken in the 24th round by the Florida Marlins. Caldwell hit .332 for the Tigers as a senior and was a semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award that goes to the nation's top college catcher.

Tony Caldwell was a key performer for the Tigers this past year having his best collegiate season.

Caldwell finished Auburn with a .316 career batting average. He had 40 doubles, two triples, 26 home runs, 119 RBI and scored 128 runs. He set an Auburn record by throwing out 59 attempted base stealers and had a career fielding percentage of .983.

The Toronto Blue Jays selected Kevin Patterson in the 30th round on Tuesday night with the 939th pick of the draft. The senior first baseman and outfielder finished eighth in Auburn history in homers with 35 and hit .271 for his collegiate career with a .520 slugging percentage.

Kevin Patterson

Patterson was drafted in the 23rd round after his junior season by Tampa Bay and in the 17th round by the Chicago White Sox in 2007.

Gamache, a left-handed hitter who batted .299 last season, smacked 13 doubles with two triples and five homers in 2010. He was the 182nd player selected in the 2011 draft. Pittsburgh drafted him to play third base. He can also play other positions in the infield and was also a designated hitter for the Tigers this past season.

"I was expecting to go a little later and (the draft broadcast) was just coming off of a break," Gamache said of how he learned the news about being selected by the Pirates. "When I heard my name I was surprised. It's very exciting. I am getting so many phone calls and texts, I can't send a text message without sending another one."

In three seasons at Auburn he has a career .337 batting average. Gamache is likely to sign with the Pirates instead of returning for his senior year.

Slocomb, a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher with a good fast ball, is one of Coach John Pawlowski's top recruits. If he does not sign with the Pirates, he will start classes in Auburn in August. Holmes struck out 89 batters in 60 innings as a senior and allowed just 44 hits.

The draft will conclude on Wednesday with rounds 31-50.

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