Roger Mooney covers the Tampa Bay Rays for The Tampa Tribune, TBO.com and News Channel 8. He has covered the Rays since their first season in 1998, including 11 years for the Bradenton Herald. Roger has also covered Florida, South Florida and Florida State football, the Bucs and the Lightning.
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1st pick Guerrieri talks about the decision and the rumors
Posted Aug 16, 2011 by Roger Mooney
Updated Aug 16, 2011 at 07:01 PM
BY ROGER MOONEY
BOSTON Tyler Guerrieri said he woke up Monday morning and decided it was time to become a professional baseball player.
So the 18-year-old right-hander from Spring Valley, S.C., agreed to a $1.6 million singing bonus just before midnight so he could begin his planed path to the major leagues quicker than had he accepted the scholarship to the University of South Carolina.
“I feel like I can get through the minor leagues quicker if I can go and get an earlier start on it now then go to college for three years and have to start from the beginning there instead of starting three years earlier,” he said this evening during a conference call. “Hopefully I’ll be in the big leagues and be in the rotation by then.”
Guerrieri said he “flip-flopped” over the summer on the decision, but in the end the lure of pro baseball, something he’s dreamed about for a long time won out.
Guerrieri also cleared up the mysterious off-field incident that led to him changing high schools in the fall of his senior year and created a buzz in the internet rumor mill.
He said he was caught drinking “a beer” before a high school football game last fall but was never suspended, nor is there a police report of the incident.
His family decided it was in his best interest to move to another school, especially when that school – Spring Valley High – was closer to the South Carolina campus.
“That was pretty much what the whole stink was about,” he said. “It was something that a lot of people have done before. I got in trouble.”
R.J. Harrison, the Rays director of scouting, said he spent time with Guerrieri after the June draft and was confident the incident won’t be a problem.
Guerrieri said the same thing.
“It was a mistake. I learned from it. I regret that it happened. It won’t happen again,” he said.