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Pair of draft picks are memorable

Injured Georgia center fielder Jonathan Taylor, center, talks

Injured Georgia center fielder Jonathan Taylor, center, talks with teammate Peter Verdin (16) prior to a Southeastern Conference Tournament baseball game against Florida. (May 28, 2011) Credit: AP

Amidst the craziness of this week's baseball draft, there were two especially memorable late-round selections.

With its pick in the 33rd round, the Rangers took outfielder Johnathan Taylor, a junior at Georgia, who was paralyzed from the waist down in a collision with teammate Zach Cone in the outfield on March 6 against Florida State. Seven rounds later, the Astros selected pitcher Buddy Lamothe, a reliever for San Jacinto (Texas) Junior College, who also was paralyzed after a white-water rafting accident on May 1.

Taylor, 21, has been rehabbing at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta since undergoing two surgeries to repair his cervical injury. In an interview with Georgia's athletic website on Friday, Taylor said he never expected to be drafted.

"It was a complete shock," he said. "My main focus was always to get drafted, and them drafting me made me pretty excited."

Regional scout Ryan Coe had followed Taylor throughout his career and believed he would have been drafted eventually if he had stayed healthy.

"We were always impressed with the way he's gone about his business," said Rangers director of scouting Rick Flagg. "We just thought after the tragedy that happened this year it was kind of the right thing to do.''

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