Tag:Zach Cone
Posted on: June 18, 2011 5:49 pm
Edited on: June 18, 2011 5:53 pm

Rangers continue to help Taylor

Johnathan Taylor

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers made headlines across the country -- including here at CBSSports.com -- for making paralyzed Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor's dreams come true by drafting him.

On Saturday, the Rangers announced they'd made a difference in another way -- by making what has been called a "substantial donation" to the Johnathan Taylor Fund. The team tendered a contract, but he won't sign with the club so he can continue to receive his scholarship, finish his degree and remain a part of the Bulldogs' program, serving as a student manager or in some other capacity, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes.

"We met with his family this week and thought that was the right thing to do," Rangers scouting director Kip Fagg said on Saturday, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. "His focus right now is his rehab and to finish school."

The Rangers held a press conference at Turner FIeld in Atlanta with Taylor, as well as the team's top two picks, Georgia high school left-hander Kevin Matthews, taken No. 33 overall, and Taylor's former UGA teammate, outfielder Zach Cone. Cone was taken with the 37th overall pick in the draft. Both Matthews and Cone signed their contracts with the Rangers on Friday.

Cone, incidentally, was the player who collided with Taylor in the accident that caused his injury.

"There were a lot of ups and downs to go through what we went through," Cone said, according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. "It wasn't easy. But to see J.T. getting better, to see our team make a run, to get drafted by the Rangers and see J.T. up here, it's pretty sweet.

"This shows a lot about the Rangers and their organization and how they are about their players. To be here with and be teammates with J.T., it's awesome."

Taylor said he's determined not just to walk again, but to play baseball again.

"Right now, my goal is to get better during the rehab and focus on trying to get my legs back under me again and start walking and running and get back on that field again, like I always wanted," Taylor told the Associated Press.

Taylor's mother, Tandra, said she was told she would never be able to walk again after shattering her right knee in a car accident two years ago. It took her two years to get back on her feet, and she's sure her son will return.

"He's coming back," Tandra Taylor told the AP. "He's definitely coming back because you can't stop someone who is determined to do something, no matter what they say."

Taylor is rehabbing in Atlanta and was able to join the Rangers on the field before the game and watch batting practice, where he met Josh Hamilton and the other Rangers.

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Posted on: June 8, 2011 5:38 pm
Edited on: June 8, 2011 8:32 pm

Rangers, Astros draft paralyzed players

Johnathan Taylor

By C. Trent Rosecrans

It's cliché to talk about draft day and dreams coming true and all that, but even the most jaded of sports fans have to appreciate what the Texas Rangers did on Wednesday by selecting University of Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor.

Taylor will never play for the Rangers, but his family, friends and University of Georgia fans will forever be grateful for the kindness shown by the Rangers on Wednesday when the team selected him in the 33rd round of the MLB Draft.

Johnathan TaylorTaylor hit .312 in 117 career games at Georgia, but in a game on March 6 he collided with teammate Zach Cone in the outfield and suffered a broken neck. He had neck surgery the next day to stabilize his spine. Taylor is currently confined to a wheelchair and isn't expected to walk again but has progressed in his physical therapy to the point where he's in an outpatient program at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

"We're all very proud of him," his mother, Tandra Taylor said, according to a release by UGA. "It's just amazing, and when he got the call, his face lit up, and we were all very excited. It was awesome news."

The Rangers took Cone in the supplemental part of the first round on Monday night, 37th overall. Cone, along with teammates Levi Hyams and Peter Verdin, took turns wearing Taylor's No. 2 jersey during games this season. (Taylor is pictured above in the middle, with Cone on the right.)

"I was pumped up when the Rangers told me they were thinking about drafting J.T., and then I got a call saying that they had drafted him," Cone said. "I was already planning on going over to see him and now we can talk about the Rangers. This made my day, it's just awesome, and I'm so happy for him."

Buddy LamotheIt's a great move by the Rangers, costing them little. It also appeared to set a trend in Texas, as the Astros drafted San Jacinto College reliever Buddy Lamothe in the 40th round, according to the Houston Chronicle. Lamothe was paralyzed in a recreational accident last month. Lamothe had an 0.86 ERA this season before the accident.

The Rangers first made contact with Taylor last month when the Rangers visited Cone in Georgia and the team gave Cone a Rangers jersey signed by the entire team to give to Taylor.

"We thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do," Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg in a statement released by the team. "We would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach's draft status. Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player."

Kudos to both the Rangers and Astros for showing hearts the size of Texas.

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