MLB’s Rangers draft NFL quarterback Russell Wilson
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Florida (AP) — Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was selected by the Texas Rangers in the Triple-A portion of Major League Baseball’s winter draft on Thursday.
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 Colorado Rockies in the fourth round of the 2010 amateur draft out of North Carolina State University, where he excelled at both baseball and American football. In two seasons at the Class A level he hit .229 with five homers and 26 RBIs.
In 2011, he left the Rockies for American football at the University of Wisconsin. He was required to return to the Rockies a portion of his $200,000 signing bonus.
Wilson said he was stunned 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.
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.”
AP freelance writer Mark Didtler contributed.