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Rangers Assign 1st Round Pick To Spokane

June 27, 2004 - Northwest League (NWL) - Spokane Indians News Release

SPOKANE, WA – The Texas Rangers have assigned right-handed pitcher Thomas Diamond, the 10th player taken overall in the 2004 draft, to the Spokane Indians, along with three additional draftees. Diamond will be joined by fourth rounder Brandon Boggs, seventh round pick Ben Harrison and J.D. Cockroft on the Indians roster this week.

With their first selection in the 2004 draft, the Texas Rangers went down on the bayou and picked up University of New Orleans hurler Thomas Diamond. A 6-2, 231 pound flamethrower and New Orleans native, Diamond’s signature pitch is his high 90’s fastball, velocity which he carries deep into ballgames. His blazing fastball and uncanny control helped him become one of the premier power pitchers in all of college baseball last season, earning him the ranking of 8th best pitching prospect in the 2004 draft by Baseball America. During the 2004 season, Diamond finished with a modest 6-4 record, despite a meager 2.38 ERA thanks to 138 strikeouts and only 45 walks in just 113 innings of work. Thomas baffled hitters all season long, holding opposing hitters to a Mendoza like .209 batting average. He recorded four double-digit strikeout games this past spring, the most impressive of which came on March 26th versus Arkansas State. In a complete game win over the Indians, Diamond struck out 17 ASU batters. Diamond was previously selected by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the 38th round of the 2001 draft.

The Indians will now have two pairs of collegiate teammates as Georgia Tech centerfielder Brandon Boggs will join Indians catcher Mike Nickeas in a Yellow Jacket reunion, Spokane shortstop Bobby LeNoir and first baseman Jim Fasano were college teammates at the University of Richmond. Boggs, who was picked up in the 4th round of the 2004 draft, batted .322 with nine homeruns and 58 RBI for the 44-21 Yellow Jackets this spring. A member of the 1999 AAU World Series Champion East Cobb Yankees, Boggs is a terrific defensive centerfielder with an above average arm that registered six outfield assists this season.

Florida Gator outfielder Ben Harrison was the Rangers 7th round selection in the 2004 draft and will join Boggs in the outfield grass for the Indians. The Gators Triple Crown winner this past spring, Harrison hit .353 with 17 homers and 71 RBI in 65 games, helping Florida advance to the NCAA Super Regional. A second-team All-American in 2004, Harrison was voted the Most Outstanding Player at the Oklahoma City Regional and earned his second straight All-SEC second-team selection. Harrison reached base safely in 61 of 65 games this season and led the Southeastern Conference with a .463 on base percentage.

Joining Diamond, Boggs, and Harrison will be Miami Hurricane southpaw J.D. Cockroft, the Rangers 26th round selection in the 2004 draft. Cockroft, whose Hurricanes eliminated Harrison’s Gators from the NCAA Super Regional, was the Canes number two starter behind All-American Cesar Carrillo and finished the season 9-5 with a 3.55 ERA, helping Miami advance to Omaha and the College World Series. In 2003, the 6-2 205 lefty from Foster City, California, went 11-3 with a 2.72 ERA, winning the 2003 Ron Fraser Pitcher of the Year award at Miami. An accomplished violinist, Cockroft attended the same high school as former top overall selection and current Philadelphia Philly Pat Burrell. Both of J.D.’s parents received their Ph.D.’s in chemistry, his mother earning hers in polymer chemistry at the game of twenty-five. Cockroft’s uncle Don was a 13-year veteran kicker and punter for the Cleveland Browns, while his dad played collegiate football at the Colorado School of Mines.

Diamond and crew will be joining the Indians on the road this week as they take on the Everett AquaSox in a five game series that runs through Wednesday. The Eastern Division leading Indians now have seven of the Rangers first ten selections on their roster. Be sure to tune your radios to 790 the FAN and listen to the Voice of the Indians, Bob Robertson, with special guest Graham Bensinger each and every night. The Indians will return home on Thursday, July 1st to take on the Boise Hawks and Yakima Bears in a six game set starting with three against the Hawks. Thursday night will be Fantasy Baseball Night where fans will have the opportunity to score some free food at Heroes & Legends in downtown Spokane if selected players get base hits. Great seats are still available for all six games in the home stand and can be purchased by calling the Indians Ticket Office at (509) 535-2922.

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