Hofstra outfielder Danny Poma sounded more relieved than exhilarated when he learned the Arizona Diamondbacks had selected him in the 10th round of Major League Baseball's first-year player draft Tuesday.
Finally, all the effort it took just to become a Division I player in college had paid off. Big time. "I was pumped," he said from his home in Monterey, Calif. "It was finally over with."
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Arizona is high on Poma. "He's essentially the entire package," Diamondbacks area scout Todd Donovan said. "We drafted him because we believe he can play in the major leagues."
Playing professional baseball is the reward for the perseverance it took for Poma to play D-I. No one recruited him two seasons ago after a broken hand ended his sophomore year in a junior college near his home. "That definitely was a low point," he said. "I'm just glad that I kept pushing through it and kept positive."
Poma e-mailed his way to D-I, sending out dozens of inquiries. Hofstra coach John Russo, who knew Poma's junior college coach, responded over the summer. "If I never sent e-mails out, I would never have played Division I baseball -- or had the chance [at] pro baseball," Poma said.
Poma and Russo spoke immediately after his selection. "I told Danny," Russo said, "no matter what, the rest of your life, every resume, everything you get to do, you can say you were a 10th-round draft pick."
Someday that might change to "major league ballplayer."
Poma hit .430 and set school records with 102 hits and 32 doubles this season. He had 49 stolen bases in two seasons with the Pride. A first-team All-American, the 6-1, 210-pound Poma transformed Hofstra and propelled the Pride to a school- record 34 victories.
And all the while, the Diamondbacks were watching.
"Some guys just give you the sense internally that the game just comes easily to them," Donovan said. "He has a dire want to just get a chance to prove himself. Danny Poma has a chance to create his own legacy. We are giving him an opportunity to do that. If we didn't think he could play there, we wouldn't have drafted him as high as we did. We wouldn't have put a uniform on his back."
Poma attended a pre-draft workout in Scottsdale, Ariz. "He did nothing but impress in front of our ownership, general manager and scouting director,'' Donovan said, "and that's why he got taken."
Poma, who is in Scottsdale awaiting assignment, intends to make the most of his opportunity. "I always know there's more to do and I'm never going to be satisfied,'' he said. "I always know there's room to improve and be better. This is just the beginning. I know I have a lot of work ahead of me . . . I have to beat a lot more guys out and prove myself every single day.
"I only have one focus, baseball. Every single day will be baseball, baseball, baseball. I'm really excited to see what happens."