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As draft ends, wait begins for Mainieri

Associated Press • Jun 9, 2011 at 1:07 AM

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Wednesday night, after all three days and 50 rounds of the Major League Baseball draft had passed, Paul Mainieri said he was certain of only one thing.

"It's going to be a long summer," he said. "A typical summer for an LSU baseball coach."

He still has plenty more work to do this week.

Mainieri said that this weekend, he'll be in Charlotte, N.C., to serve as a studio analyst for ESPNU's coverage of the NCAA super regionals.

In the meantime, he is scheduled to interview at least one candidate in his search for a new pitching coach.

By Wednesday night, six LSU underclassmen had been drafted, along with eight LSU signees. That adds up to 14 — and in the era of 35-man rosters, Mainieri said, that's a lot.

"I'm not a great mathematician, but if I'm not mistaken, that's almost half your team," he said. "Who can you count on? Who's going to be back? Who's not going to be back?"

That's the real trick — anticipating how many players might sign professional contracts, and how many of them opt to be on campus next fall.

Solving that equation may have gotten a little tougher Wednesday when the Toronto Blue Jays selected junior shortstop Austin Nola in the 31st round.

Toronto, of course, was the team that drafted Nola's younger brother, Catholic High pitcher Aaron Nola, in the 22nd round.

Both players were taken far lower than projected, possibly because MLB clubs balked at their asking prices.

The Nolas have spoken several times about the possibility of playing together at LSU.

Now, at least theoretically, the brothers could play together somewhere in the Blue Jays' organization.

"I think the pro draft is one of the more bizarre events that happens," Mainieri said. "I don't think the round matters. If an organization wants to buy a player in, they can do that."

Asked if he thought the Nolas were a little closer to going pro Wednesday, Mainieri paused.

"I wouldn't fathom a guess," he said.

"I have enough faith in the Nola family that they'll make a smart, educated decision, and they'll do what they feel is best. If they decide that they want to sign professional contracts, they will have thought that decision out. ... They're smart people, and they care about the right things."


Information from: The Advocate, http://www.2theadvocate.com

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