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Blue Jays concentrate on pitching Add to ...

It took months of preparation, three days to carry out and the results, in most cases, won't be felt for several years.



Major League Baseball's annual auction of draft talent wound to a close Wednesday with more than 1,500 players from 12 countries selected by 30 teams through 50 rounds.



It began with considerable fanfare on Monday with the Washington Nationals choosing slugger Bryce Harper with the first overall pick.



It ended with considerably less with the New York Yankees drafting James Rice, a catcher from Western Kentucky, who was selection No. 1,525, the final player taken.



"As we sit here today I feel great about it," said Andrew Tinnish, the Blue Jays' director of amateur scouting on his first draft with his new team. "I think obviously we'll find out a little bit more in about four or five years. But we're excited about the players we selected.



"It just seemed like the cards kind of fell right in a lot of places for us. And hopefully we can get these guys out and get them to the big leagues sooner than later."



The Blue Jays selected 56 players, 31 of whom were pitchers, including Georgia Tech junior pitcher Deck McGuire, their first pick and the 11th player taken overall. Of the 56, 21 were college players and 35 were of high school age.



"Pitching is so hard to find," Tinnish said. "And basically the way we look at it is, every year 30 teams are looking for pitchers. It's the only position where you know that every team is out there looking.



"Obviously pitchers are at a greater risk of getting injured than position players so the more arms the better."



Overall, 30 Canadians were drafted by the major-league clubs and seven of them by the Blue Jays, beginning with Toronto's Marcus Knecht, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior at Connors State College in Oklahoma.



The Blue Jays chose the left fielder in the third round with the 113th pick overall.



The other Canadians the Blue Jays selected were: outfielder Dalton Pompey, a high school senior from Mississauga, with their 486th pick in the 16th round; Jay Johnson, a left-handed pitcher from Sussex Corner, N.B., who is a junior at Texas Tech University, in the 26th round with the 786th pick; Phillip Diedrick, a high school outfielder from Ajax, Ont., in the 45th round with the 1,356th pick; high school senior Connor Smith, a right-handed pitcher from Grimsby, Ont., in the 46th round with the 1,386th pick; catcher Nick Studer of Toronto's St. Michael's College School in the 48th round with the 1,446th pick; and Victoria high schooler Kelly Norris-Jones, a catcher, with the 1,506th pick in the 50th round.



The Blue Jays are hoping that bloodlines will play a role in the development of several picks.



Kellen Sweeney, a high school third baseman from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and one of Toronto's second-round picks, is the brother of Ryan Sweeney of the Oakland A's.



Dickie Thon Jr., an 18-year-old shortstop from Puerto Rico who was Toronto's fifth-round pick, is the son of former major-leaguer Dickie Thon.



Andy Fermin, a 20-year-old second baseman from Florida who was Toronto's pick in the 32nd round, is the son of former major-leaguer Felix Fermin.



A little closer to home, the Blue Jays also used their pick in 47th round to select Gabriel Romero, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher from Los Angeles.



He is the younger brother of Ricky Romero, one of the stars of the Toronto pitching staff.





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