- Last Updated: 2:03 AM, July 6, 2012
- Posted: 1:16 AM, July 6, 2012
Nelson Rodriguez wasn’t drafted nearly as high as he hoped, but the George Washington catcher with thunder in his bat is officially a professional, realizing a lifelong dream.
“It’s exciting to sign a professional contract,” said Rodriguez, eschewing a fill ride to top JUCO Central Arizona and possibly Virginia Tech, given he meet the NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
The 6-foot-3 slugger has agreed to terms with the Cleveland Indians for slot money, he said, which is $100,000 plus future money for college. Taken in the 15th round of the MLB First-Year Player Draft, Rodriguez was given the most money the Indians could offer without being penalized for going over their allotted bonus pool under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
A four-year standout at GW who hit .500 with 20 RBIs and three homeruns this spring, Rodriguez will leave for Goodyear, Ariz. Tuesday where he will play with the Arizona League Indians. He’s been told he will start every day behind the plate.
“I was thinking about it. I feel like I’m ready to play pro ball,” said Rodriguez, The Post’s All-Manhattan baseball Player of the Year and an All-City first team selection. “I feel confident I can do well.”
Rodriguez will head to Arizona in the best shape of his life, he said. The right-handed hitting backstop said he has lost 15 pounds since the season ending to prepare for the next stage of his career.
“I’m a little nervous, not that much. It’s the same game, just faster,” he said. ‘You still have to hit the ball and catch the ball.”
Bader, Martir stick with Maryland despite coaching change: Former Maryland coach Erik Bakich’s decision to leave Maryland for Michigan won’t affect top city recruits Kevin Martir and Harrison Bader, their summer coach, David Owens, told The Post.
The two are pleased with the appointment of assistant Eric Milton to be the Terrapins’ interim head coach, Owens said. Martir, a star catcher and All-City first team selection by The Post who won consecutive city championships in high school with Xaverian and Grand Street Campus, never considering asking the school to release him from his National Letter of Intent, according to Owens.
Bader, a power-hitting center fielder from Horace Mann, never signed an NLI as he de-committed from Pittsburgh in the winter and verbally committed to Maryland late in the spring. He had the option of leaving, but is content at Maryland, Owens said.
Milton, who played at Maryland from 1994-96 and had an 11-year Major League career, joined the Terrapin coaching staff as a volunteer assistant in September of 2011. A former Yankee farmhand, Milton made the all-star game while pitching for the Minnesota Twins in 2001 and won 89 games altogether during his lengthy stint in the big leagues.
“They’re very excited about going to Maryland,” Owens said. “They’re disappointed Erik left, but [coach Milton] is a very good coach.”
It is unclear if Milton will coach Maryland permanently as the school will conduct a national search for a head coach, it was announced in a press release announcing Milton’s promotion.Follow @NYPostsports