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Carlo Cota drafted by Toronto Blue Jays

June 06, 2002|By ERIC GALVAN, Sports Writer

SAN DIEGO — A four-year baseball star at Calexico High School and at San Diego State University, Calexico native Carlo Cota will begin a new chapter in his life as he embarks on his journey toward Major League Baseball.

The Toronto Blue Jays helped Cota take the first steps toward "The Show" around noon Wednesday as they selected him within the 33rd round of the MLB first-year players' draft, making the 21-year-old Cota the 986th selection overall.

"It's just great to be drafted. I still can't wipe the smile off my face," said Cota, a 1998 graduate of Calexico High. "I've played baseball my whole life and I look at this as the newest chapter in my baseball career."

As SDSU's second baseman, Cota was in the top five on the team with 114 putouts, 177 assists and 36 double plays fielded. At the plate, he finished with a .341 batting average and led the Aztecs with 91 hits, 26 doubles and five triples. He also had a .498 slugging percentage (fourth on the team), was second with 133 total bases, 57 runs scored, 49 RBI and walks with 35.


While his overall numbers were impressive, he still didn't think he'd be taken on the first day of the draft. In fact, he was certain he'd be taken on the second day, somewhere between rounds 30 through 39.

"Some of my friends and teammates were taken on the first day of the draft, so I called them up and congratulated them, but I guessed I'd be taken somewhere in the 30s," said the 5-foot-10, 180-pound Cota. "Once the 30th round hit, I just started getting a little nervous, just waiting for that call.

"Just waiting for someone to call, I kind of took it like I would a game. At a game, you have all these fans and spectators watching, and they get pretty nervous about the actual game. But when you're at bat, you block everything out and don't worry about anything," said Cota. "That's how I approached this, just like a game. And, really, I think my family members were like fans at a game and were more nervous than I was."

Cota said he could report to one of Toronto's minor league teams as early as next week. He said representatives from the Blue Jays told him he will either be playing in the Eastern Canada area or somewhere in New York.

Wherever he ends up, Cota said he is just thrilled to begin his professional baseball career.

"This has been my goal since I've been playing baseball. Now, what I'm going to be shooting for is just to move up every level and keep on moving up," said Cota. "And of course my eventual goal is to make it to the Majors. If I continue to work hard and play hard now and do what I have to, hopefully my future goals will take care of themselves."

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