Twins sign first-round draft pick Jay
MINNEAPOLIS -- Tyler Jay is no stranger to Target Field. He's been here before as the closer for the University of Illinois baseball team.
Wednesday, however, marked Jay's first time at Target Field as a professional baseball player. The Minnesota Twins introduced Jay, their first-round pick, at a press conference before Wednesday's game against St. Louis. The left-handed Jay reportedly signed for the slot value of $3.89 million assigned to the No. 6 overall pick.
When the Twins drafted Jay earlier this month, it came less than an hour after his college career ended following Illinois' loss to Vanderbilt. Now that the dust has settled, Jay has had time to soak in what has been a hectic nine days.
"It's been crazy," Jay said. "Especially just the emotions. You still kind of think, 'Man, I would like to be playing in the College World Series,' but at the same time it's nice to end your career and 30 minutes later you get to start your other one. It's just really nice that I've been able to have my support from my family and teammates and coaches, whether it's high school or college. It's been really great."
Jay was a reliever at Illinois, but there's a chance the Twins could stretch him out to be a starter. However, Minnesota general manager Terry Ryan said Wednesday that Jay will be sent out this summer as a reliever. The left-hander will eventually join the bullpen at High-A Fort Myers.
Some experts pegged Jay as a guy with a chance to be one of the first players from this year's draft to debut in the majors. Jay said Wednesday, though, that he's not thinking that far ahead.
"Hopefully I just throw well wherever I'm going and I prove my ability," Jay said. "However long it takes, whatever I need to do to help the team out is what I want to do."
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