Top pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri: Still "very committed" to S. Carolina, "moved on" from undisclosed incident
Rays top draft pick RHP Taylor Guerrieri broke his nearly week-long silence since being the No. 24 pick, saying he is still "very committed" to the University of South Carolina and that signing with the Rays will be "a tough decision.''
He wouldn't say much about his past, except that there was "an incident" that led him to transfer high schools and that he has "moved on" from.
Guerrieri, 18, said he was "really excited" about being draft by the Rays, and acknowledged "we waited a little longer than we were expecting to" in being taken 24th overall, but "it worked out just fine. We' re in a good spot."
He also said that he expected the negotiatons "to be a long process'' and didn't know when talks would start.
Also, that the reason he didn't do any interviews until Friday was that he was "at the beach" with family and friends.
Among his comments:
On not doing any interviews until Friday (the draft was Monday):
"Sorry I'm just now getting back to you guys, I was at the beach with my family and friends just enjoying this whole opportunity."
On being drafted by the Rays:
"It's definitely very exciting, they have a great farm system, great young talent in the minor-league system and it's a great opportunity for me. I'm really excited about it.''
On lasting until the 24th pick given higher projections:
"We waited a little longer than we were expecting to, but it worked out just fine. We're in a good spot we feel like. So we're happy how it worked out."
On his pending decision to attend South Carolina or sign with the Rays:
"I've always pictured myself playing college baseball first before any professional baseball takes place. Huge Gamecocks fan, still very committed to Carolina. I'm looking forward to the opportunity with them too. It's going to be a tough decision.''
On speculation and questions on why he transferred from North Augusta to Spring Valley High School in October of his senior season:
"I'm not going to explain it on a public format. I had an incident. I'm moving past it, I'm actually moved past it. We just wanted to be closer to USC really, and just get a feel for everything else up here. We were excited about Spring Valley and everything, and it turned out it worked out fine for us.''
On what type of "incident" it was:
"I'm not going to talk about it. I've talked about it with the team, and they're fine with it. It was just something minor, it wasn't anything big. And we've moved on from it.''
On whether it's fair for there to be speculation about his background and maturity:
"At some point. ... But there's been a lot of rumors, a lot of it's not true. That's all I can really say, a lot of it's not true. I've moved on from what happened. And that's it.''
On clarifying why he transferred:
"We just wanted to be closer to USC, move up to Columbia. That's pretty much it."
On why he didn't do that during the summer instead of during the school year:
"That's the best time we thought we could do it. Like I said, we had a little incident and moved on from it."
On whether he plans to meet soon with the Rays to start negotiations:
"It's a process, it's going to be a long process. We're not sure when we want to talk to everybody. But we're looking forward to the opportunity and everything.''