Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Rangers take flyer on Wilson

QB has baseball talent, too

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Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has two years of minor league experience in the Rockies system.

ELAINE THOMPSON / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ARCHIVES Enlarge Image

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson has two years of minor league experience in the Rockies system.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Yes, Russell Wilson loves baseball. But, for now, the Seattle Seahawks' quarterback is thinking about getting his team to the Super Bowl.

Wilson was selected by the Texas Rangers from the Colorado Rockies on Thursday in the Triple-A portion of baseball's winter-meeting draft.

Wilson, who played minor league baseball for parts of two seasons before becoming an NFL star, will be placed on Texas' restricted list.

"At the end of the day, he obviously has a lot bigger things that he's working on right now," Rangers assistant general manager A.J. Preller said, "and we don't want to interrupt with that aspect of it. But if at some point down the road he decides he wants to do baseball again, we felt like it would be a positive to have him with us."

Wilson was drafted as a second-baseman by the Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft out of North Carolina State, where he excelled at both baseball and football. In two seasons at the Class A level, he hit .229 with five homers and 26 RBI.

In 2011, he left the Rockies for football at the University of Wisconsin. He was required to return to the Rockies a part of his $200,000 signing bonus.

Wilson said he was stunned Thursday when he got the phone call from Texas general manager Jon Daniels.

"It's a pretty cool thing. It's my third time being drafted in baseball, so it's a blessing for sure," Wilson said. "At the same time, my focus is on football. Mr. Daniels and I talked about that, obviously. He knew that. ... My focus is on football and what we're doing here."

The 25-year-old Wilson was taken in the third round of the 2012 NFL draft. He led Seattle to the playoffs in his rookie year and the Seahawks are 11-2 this season. Wilson has been a regular fan at Seattle Mariners games during the football off-season.

"I love baseball. But football is where my first love is," Wilson said. "It's a blessing to be able to have the experience of playing professional baseball before, and obviously, playing in the National Football League doesn't get any better."

The Rangers thought the $12,000 fee they will have to pay the Rockies was worth the investment.

"You see him playing on Sunday. You hear about the work ethic, the person," Preller said. "I think that's going to be a positive message for all of our players in our system."

 

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 13, 2013 C6

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