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June 7, 2013

Good news for Jones and Katz

JaCoby Jones has been a highly-touted major league baseball prospect since his high school days at Richton (Miss.).

Mason Katz came to LSU as a very good hitter with an unknown playing position.

On Friday, both players received outstanding news as regarding the start of their professional careers. Jones, a junior, was selected in the third round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Katz, a senior, was chosen in the fourth round by the St. Louis Cardinals.

Both Jones and Katz were listed at positions different from what they are playing this season for the Tigers. Pittsburgh had Jones, LSU's starting second baseman, as an outfielder. St. Louis had Katz, the Tigers' starting first baseman, as a second baseman.

Jones, who was a 19th-round pick of the Houston Astros in 2010, opened last season as LSU's starting centerfielder. He was moved back to second base after a couple of weeks when the Tigers had no suitable replacement there.

Katz, who began his LSU career in rightfield, ended up becoming a first baseman. Katz did play second base for a couple of weeks last month when Jones was out with a wrist injury. Katz had never been previously drafted.

For the first time in three years, the Tigers had two position players drafted before the end of the fourth round. In 2010, catcher Micah Gibbs and outfielder Leon Landry were both third-round selections.

Katz was the highest drafted LSU senior in eight years. In 2005, outfielder Ryan Patterson was picked in the fourth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. Patterson was the 116th selection in the 2005 draft, while Katz was the 125th pick in this year's draft.

Two members of LSU's bullpen were picked Friday. Nick Rumbelow was chosen late in the seventh round by the New York Yankees and Will LaMarche was picked in the ninth round by the Detroit Tigers. Both players have one year of eligibility remaining.

A set-up guy throughout his three-year Tigers career, Rumbelow has a 3-0 record with a 2.51 ERA in 68 appearances. He has struck out 82 batters in 68 innings. LaMarche, a junior college transfer, has a 2-0 record with a 3.65 ERA in 23 outings. He has struck out 24 batters in 25 innings.

Former LSU pitcher Chad Jones was chosen in the ninth round by the Cincinnati Reds. Jones was a key member of the bullpen when the Tigers won the 2009 national championship.

Jones opted to play pro football, but suffered a serious injury in an automobile accident after being drafted by the New York Giants in 2010. Jones had tried a comeback in football, but he has not been successful. Last month, Jones had a tryout for some major league scouts in Metairie, La.

One LSU signee was drafted Friday. Howard College pitcher David Palladino was chosen in the fifth round by the New York Yankees. It is expected that Palladino will sign a professional contract.

The draft will conclude with rounds 11 through 40 Saturday.


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