High Risk, High Reward: M's nab Uhlmansiek in 12th

Seattle's most intriguing pick of the day came in round 12, when the Mariners snagged LHP Steve Uhlmansiek out of Wichita State. The southpaw put up dominant numbers in 2004, but recently went through Tommy John surgery that will keep him out all of next year. InsidethePark talked to him and found out more than was anticipated.

Remember this pick Mariner fans.

Seattle went out on a limb in the 12th round Monday and selected Steve Uhlmansiek, a 6-3, 185-pound left-hander from Wichita State with a wealth of success already on his resume.

But with success came injury, as the southpaw was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery last Friday, turning him from a sure high-round pick to someone few teams were willing to take a risk on.

"It was pretty intense," said Uhlmansiek, who went 7-0 with a 2.85 ERA in nine starts with Wichita State, of the draft day experience. "I was having a really good season, and after the surgery I didn't think I'd get picked.

"But I talked to the Mariners last night and they told me they still had interest. They told me they'd likely choose me between rounds 15-through-20 last night. Then they called me this morning and said 10-15."

Once Uhlmansiek received that news, he went out of his way to make sure he'd end up being drafted by Seattle.

"The Mariners were the team we really wanted to get picked by, so we called other teams and told them unless you want me really bad don't take me.

"We kind of scared off other teams because we wanted to be picked by the Mariners because they are a great organization."

While he still hasn't signed a contract, the southpaw says he hopes to come to an agreement with the M's soon. And when he does, he says Seattle officials have already told him that he'd likely get a signing bonus closer to what he would have received prior to the Tommy John surgery.

"The sooner the better," said Uhlmansiek. "That way we can get out and start rehabbing with the organization.

"I've got to be a little realistic. I might be a discount because I can't pitch this year, but the money I'll get will probably be higher than 12th round money. I'm not looking at a ludicrous figure at all."

So what kind of pitcher is Uhlmansiek?

Well, he hit 90-93 on the radar gun before the injury, and since Tommy John surgery has a 95 percent success rate he thinks he'll get that velocity back after a year of rehab. Despite hitting the 90s on the radar gun, he considers himself more of a control pitcher with an ability to get batters out.

"From what I've been told, the best thing about my pitching style is my composure," said the tall lefty. "That's something I pride myself on. I want the ball and I get people out. I'm not going to blow it by everyone, but I know how to hold runners on and how to pitch. I have a really hard work ethic and that translates on the baseball field."

Looking ahead, Uhlmansiek hopes to be in Peoria, Ariz. rehabbing with the rookie league team as soon as he wraps up negotiations with the club. But for now, he's happy just to have the opportunity the M's gave him.

"For me getting drafted in the 12th round, it kind of speaks volumes that the M's are still really high on me and they like what I'm all about. I am really excited."

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