When Jordan Groshans moved to Magnolia, Texas, eight years ago he became fast friends with Adam Kloffenstein who showed him around their elementary school and the local baseball diamond.
Now they’re exploring the Toronto Blue Jays’ minor league facility in Dunedin, Fla., together.
“Sometimes it’s hard for high school kids to come out here by themselves and adjust to the pro life. The hotel we’re in, the field, the instruction, so it’s big for me and for him to have each other here,” Groshans said Thursday from Dunedin. “We have each other’s back, we never leave each other’s side, we’re there for each other.
“The most important thing is that we’re having fun, we’re enjoying the process, we’re enjoying being here. It’s awesome that we get to do it together.”
The 19-year-old Groshans was drafted 12th overall by Toronto as a shortstop, although he played all of the infield positions for Magnolia High School where he hit .444 with 11 home runs and 36 runs batted in this season. Kloffenstein, 18, was selected two rounds later, 88th overall. The right-handed pitcher finished the Bulldogs’ season 11-1 with 116 strikeouts in 78 innings.
Both signed with the Blue Jays on Tuesday. Groshans reportedly agreed to a below-average bonus for his draft position, and Kloffenstein, who some projected as a first-round pick and had committed to TCU, got an over-slot deal.
“It’s awesome that we get to do it together,” said Groshans. “I wish that more best friends would get to do this and he and I are extremely blessed to have the opportunity.”
Bonding in the fifth grade over their mutual love of baseball, the pair also push each other to be better and work harder.
“Adam’s a special kid to me, he’s like my brother,” said Groshans. “Growing up it was always good to be his friend because of the competitive drive with each other. Whether it was off the field in the weight room, on the field, wherever we were at we were always competitive with each other.”
Being drafted together to the same Major League Baseball team was a big deal for their high school and the town of Magnolia about an hour northwest of Houston with a population of 1,393.
“They were really excited. Where we’re from, it’s a small town. Everybody knows everybody,” said Groshans. “Having two athletes like that go through the program, go to the school, and have something like this work out for them, it’s big for the school and it’s big for the baseball program.”
Practising at the Blue Jays’ facility in Dunedin has already been a huge benefit for Groshans, who has worked out alongside shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and third baseman Josh Donaldson. Both of the all-stars were at the facility to rehabilitate from injuries.
Tulowitzki has been on the disabled list after having surgery on April 2 to remove bone spurs from both heels.
Donaldson, who flew back to Toronto on Thursday afternoon, had been on the 10-day DL since May 29 with left calf soreness. He may be activated on Friday as the Blue Jays host the Washington Nationals in a three-game series.
“I’ve actually been fortunate enough to talk to them along the baseball lines,” said Groshans. “Whether it’s information on fielding groundballs, mechanics of my swing, how you deal with everything mentally, they’ve played a huge part so far.
“I couldn’t be more fortunate for that.”