Metcalf Swings for the Fence

The Kansas Jayhawks lost a good one on Monday when the Texas Rangers selected third baseman Travis Metcalf in the 11th round of Major League Baseball's 2004 First-year player draft. The all-time Kansas home run leader was tapped with the 321st overall pick and will sign with the Rangers later this week.

Travis Metcalf just recently finished his junior season at Kansas -- a campaign that included a single-season record, 18 home runs.

Metcalf's glove and bat will be tough to replace, but Kansas was prepared for this day. Head Coach Ritch Price expected Metcalf to be drafted highly because of his potential both at the plate and in the field.

"I think he's such a good prospect because he can play both sides of the ball," Price explained. "Travis is the best defensive player I've coached in 25 years at third base.  He's got great lateral movement, and is so good with the glove.  We're really excited for him and it wouldn't surprise me to see him in the majors someday."

Metcalf, too, is excited about his new opportunity.

"I'm just real excited. The Rangers came in and showed a lot of interest today making a lot of phone calls throughout the day.  It's a great organization and I'm just really happy to be with them now."

Metcalf says he wasn't surprised by being selected in round eleven.

"You know I was told top 15, top 10.  So, you know the 11th is just about where both of them were at.  I'd also been told I could go anywhere from the 8th to the 12th round, so this is very satisfying."

Metcalf expects the Rangers to keep him at third base and also anticipates heading up to the Pacific Northwest very soon.

"We have the meetings hopefully on Wednesday, maybe Thursday if that's the soonest that they can do it and then from there word is that they'll send me to Spokane, Washington, to their Single A team in the Northwest."

If Metcalf's road to the majors does, indeed, begin in Spokane he's willing travel on that path as long as it takes to make it to the big leagues.  The fourth-year junior at KU says it has been his lifelong mission to play pro baseball and he plans to pursue that dream as long as he can.

"My goal is to play professional baseball and I'm going to keep going until someone tells me to stop."

So, who will play the hot corner at Hoglund Ballpark next season?  Expect a rookie from Arroyo Grande, CA to get a chance.  Erik Morrison, a natural shortstop, will likely be tried out at third and according to Price, could someday slide over and play shortstop after Ritchie Price’s Kansas playing career is complete.  Morrison was a high school senior at Arroyo Grande High this past season. Top Stories