Baseball: Cardinals draft Ottavino in first round

Baseball: Cardinals draft Ottavino in first round

Junior ace Adam Ottavino made headlines again yesterday when the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the first round of the 2006 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft.

“I’m speechless, I’m excited, I’m happy, I’m grateful,” he said.

The 30th overall pick, Ottavino became just the second Husky ever drafted in the first round. Former Husky and Texas Ranger Carlos Pena was the 10th overall pick in the 1998 draft.

“I now have to work out with the team and try to get a contract done. Then, hopefully I will go play wherever I am assigned,” Ottavino said.

If all goes accordingly, Ottavino will not return for his senior season at Northeastern.

“If we get something done, I am not coming back,” he said. “If it happens that I come back, that won’t be bad either, but I am looking to sign and play professionally right now.”

Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty said in a release that drafting Ottavino was a return to the team’s strong history of drafting college pitchers.

“He’ll be a great addition to the depth and quality of the pitchers in our Minor League system,” Jocketty said.

Ottavino was chosen in the 30th round of the 2003 draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but chose not to sign with the team.

“It was the best decision for me at the time and it all worked out for me,” Ottavino said.

Northeastern head coach Neil McPhee and former pitcher Greg Montalbano are the only other Huskies who have been drafted in the top five rounds. McPhee was picked in the fifth round by the Minnesota Twins in the first-ever draft in 1965 and Montalbano went to the Boston Red Sox in the fifth round in 1999.

This season the right hander went 4-5 with a 2.98 ERA. He had a 12-strikeout performance against then-No. 1 ranked Georgia Tech on March 7 and a no-hit, 14-strikeout outing against James Madison on April 7. It was the ninth no-hitter in school history.

Ottavino, a native of Brooklyn, N.Y., holds the Northeastern record for strikeouts in a season, 120, and in a career, 290. He is third in school history in innings pitched, with 253.1.

Last season Ottavino was named the America East Pitcher of the Year, going 8-4 with a 3.09 ERA.

Northeastern junior Dave Pellegrine was selected by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the 11th round of the 2006 MLB Amateur Draft Tuesday. He was taken as the 342nd pick overall.

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