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1st pick Guerrieri says he’s ‘very committed’ to USC and won’t discus ‘incident’

Posted Jun 10, 2011 by Roger Mooney

Updated Jun 10, 2011 at 10:41 AM

BY ROGER MOONEY
BALTIMORE
Taylor Guerrieri, the 18-year-old right-hander whom the Rays took with their first pick in the draft, finally spoke to the media Friday morning via conference call.


He said he’s still “very committed” to the University of South Carolina, where he will play next season if he doesn’t sign with the Rays by the Aug. 15 deadline:

“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.”

Guerrieri, whose fastball is in the 93-96 mph range and possesses a sharp curveball, comes with some off field issues in an “incident,” that he declined to elaborate. He did transfer high schools in October of his senior from North August to Spring Valley for what he maintained was a desire to be closer to the South Carolina campus.

“I’m not going to explain it all on a public format,” he said. “I had an incident. I’m moving past it. We have actually moved past it. We just wanted to be closer to USC really and get a feel for everything else up here. We were excited about Spring Valley, and it turned out it worked out fine for us.”

Guerrieri said the Rays know about the incident, and “they’re fine with it. It was just something minor. It wasn’t anything big. We’ve moved on from it.”

As for his growing weary from the speculation by the fans and media: “At some point, but there’s been a lot of rumors. A lot of it is not true. That’s all I can say. A lot of it is not true. I moved on from what happened, and that’s it.”

As for negotiations with the Rays: “It’s going to be a long process. … We’re looking forward to the opportunity.”