Pair of Clemson Pitchers Taken on Day One of Draft

by - Correspondent -
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CLEMSON - Half of Clemson's top four starting pitchers will have to replaced in 2006 based on the results of Tuesday's first day of the Major League Baseball Draft.

Kris Harvey was taken in the second round, 64th overall, by the Florida Marlins. Harvey's father, Bryan, played for the Marlins from 1993-95. However the younger Harvey won't be joining the Florida organization as a pitcher. The Marlins drafted him as an outfielder first, enticed by his .342 batting average, 24 home runs and 69 RBIs.

Meanwhile, teammate and lefthanded pitcher Robert Rohrbaugh (8-2, 4.08 ERA) was taken in the seventh round (203rd) by the Seattle Mariners.

Both players indicated they will sign with their respective organizations following the completion of Clemson's season, ending their college careers.

Harvey, surrounded by speculation he would be drafted as a pitcher, was pleased with the outcome.

"You can't ask for much more than the second round," he said. "I get a chance to go hit, stay on the East Coast and be near my family. I like (hitting) a little better, and if it doesn't work out (the Marlins) have already told me I would get a chance to pitch after that.

"It's the best of both worlds."

Harvey is 5-4 with a 5.52 ERA this season, but has struggled lately and likely will only see mound action out of the bullpen the rest of the way.

But his power surge this season caught the eye of a number of different teams, including the Marlins. And it may be that an arm injury which kept Harvey from playing summer ball a year ago played a key role in where he was drafted on Tuesday.

"I couldn't play in the summer, so I got a lot stronger," he said. "I lifted weights for 6-8 weeks, ate right...It worked out for me."

As for his path to the big leagues, Harvey - drafted in the fifth round out of high school - isn't picky.

"Pitching, hitting, it doesn't matter," he said. "Whatever gets me there."

Harvey said his father likely will handle most of, if not all, his contract negotiations with the Florida organization.

As for Rohrbaugh, his phone call came at approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, but it was before his name was called in the draft.

"Seattle called and asked if they drafted me in the seventh round if I would sign," he said. "I gave them my answer."

Rohrbaugh said that although the Mariners aren't allowed to officially negotiate with him until the Tigers wrap up their current season, the Seattle organization is "talking about a signing bonus in six figures," and that was enough to help sway his decision.

"All of the teams out there really showed some interest, but you can never really trust what they tell you," said Rohrbaugh. "But I had a feeling it might be the Mariners."

Rohrbaugh struggled with consistency for part of this season.

But his last two starts - 8 2/3 innings vs. N.C. State in the ACC Tournament and seven strong innings against Oral Roberts in the NCAA Regional title game - showed scouts his true form.

Rohrbaugh said much of the credit goes to Clemson pitching coach Kevin O'Sullivan.

"I've been a little inconsistent this year, but I worked with Sully and got myself squared away at the right time of year," he said. "I was throwing across my body, and when I do that I lose velocity off my fastball and I'm not able to control the inside part of the plate. But we corrected that and now I'm able to pitch inside again."

The draft continues today, with a number of Clemson players who still could be selected, including:

Picher Josh Cribb, catcher Adrian Casanova, pitcher Jeff Hahn, pitcher Drew Fiorenza, third baseman Herman Demmink and right fielder Travis Storrer.

All except Hahn have eligibility remaining.

Dan Scott covers Clemson University for the The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Seneca Daily Journal/Clemson Messenger and TigerNet. He also hosts SportsTalk from 9 a.m.-Noon, Monday-Friday, on WCCP-Fm, 104.9. Click here for Dan Scott's SportsTalk discussion board.

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