A freak injury in a car crash three years ago nearly left former LSU two-sport star Chad Jones without a leg.
On Friday, the former defensive back and left-handed pitcher saw the pendulum swing farther from pain and closer toward euphoria. He went off the board in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft to the Cincinnati Reds.
In 2009, Jones made nine appearances for the Tigers during their run to their sixth national championship, putting up a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings. That included two scorless innings in Omaha, Neb., at the College World Series.
If anything, Jones’ selection was most the improbable on a day that unfolded as many expected for the Tigers, who saw four members of the current roster tapped by franchises as rounds 3-10 took place.
In May 2010, though, Jones broke his leg during a horrific single-car crash only weeks after the New York Giants selected him in the third round of the NFL draft. The extensive rehabilitation process sought to repair damage to muscle and nerves in the limb, and the Giants subsequently released the former defensive back.
Last month, though, Jones had tryouts with several MLB organizations.
As for the current crop of LSU players, coach Paul Mainieri’s concern over having to yank them out of pregame drills to inform them they’d been selected never really came to fruition.
Midway through the third round, junior second baseman JaCoby Jones went off the board to the Pittsburgh Pirates, while senior first baseman Mason Katz got his one round later from the St. Louis Cardinals — all before LSU took the field at Alex Box Stadium for batting practice.
Junior reliever Nick Rumbelow didn’t learn his destination until LSU donned its purple warm-p tops and took the field. The Bullard, Texas, native was scooped up by the New York Yankees in the seventh round with the No. 224 pick overall.
Jones, a 6-3, 200-pound native of Richton, Miss., possessed the prototypical size and tools of a potential first-round pick. But his average, which dipped below .200, helped erode his stock.
Jones, who was taken with the No. 87 overall pick, has rebounded lately. Over his past 25 games, he’s hit .384 with three home runs and 18 RBIs, but also sat seven games — including the SEC tournament — when he aggravated a left hand moving a television in his apartment.
Katz, a 5-10, 190-pound senior, entered the draft ranked as the No. 231 prospect, according to Baseball America, and potential pick in the first 10 rounds.
He doesn’t project as a first baseman, but the Cardinals might have been drawn to his versatility and power with the No. 125 overall pick.
The Harahan native has never hit below .318 during his career in Baton Rouge.
Rumeblow, a 6-0, 179-pound right-hander, has been a staple middle reliever for LSU, primarily working the seventh inning ahead of setup man Joey Bourgeois. In 29 appearances, he’s notched a 3.56 ERA over 30.1 innings.
Three other prospects with Louisiana ties also received calls.
LSU reliever Will LaMarche went to the Detroit Tigers in the ninth round with the No. 276 pick overall.
Ivan Wilson, a center fielder from Ruston, was taken in the third round by the New York Mets with the No. 76 pick. Ole Miss catcher Stuart Turner, who hails from Eunice, went two picks later to the Minnesota Twins.
David Napoli, a senior left-hander from Tulane, went to the Washington Nationals in the eighth round with the No. 256 pick overall. The Newman graduate went 13-9 with a 3.64 ERA over 220 innings.
Green Wave shortstop Brennan Middleton went to the Nationals, too, in the 10th round with the No. 316 pick overall.
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