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Home News-Telegram Sports Pro Sports Rangers take LHP Purke with first pick

Rangers take LHP Purke with first pick

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ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) ‚The Texas Rangers selected high school left-hander Matthew Purke with the 14th overall selection in baseball's amateur draft on Tuesday.
Purke, who played at Klein High School just outside of Houston, was 4-2 with a 1.18 earned run average as a senior. He struck out 91 and walked only seven in 47 1-3 innings.
The 18-year-old worked out at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on Sunday and impressed the club with his 95-mph fastball.
"We like his ability," Texas general manager Jon Daniels said. "He has an easy arm. He throws strikes. He has above-average life to his fastball. We like his makeup."
The Rangers selected four players on the first day of the draft.
Right-hander Tanner Scheppers was taken in the supplemental first round and 44th overall. Scheppers, who played at Fresno State, was drafted in the second round by Pittsburgh last season but didn't sign.
Texas also chose Fresno State third baseman Tommy Mendonca in the second round and high school left-handed pitcher Robbie Erlin from Scotts Valley, Calif., in the third.
The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Purke represented the United States in international competition the past three years. He pitched a four-hit shutout, which included 11 strikeouts and no walks, against Mexico in the World Junior Championships last July.
Purke has signed a letter of intent at TCU.
"We wouldn't have taken a player if we didn't feel we have a chance to sign him, especially in the first round," Daniels said.
This is the fifth time in the last seven drafts that the Rangers have nabbed a pitcher with their first overall pick.
The Rangers have taken nine Texas natives with their top selection. The most recent was right-hander Blake Beavan from nearby Irving in 2007.
"It's always a nice bonus to take a player from Texas," Daniels said. "That helps us get to know him better. But we drafted him on his ability, not his area code."

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.
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