Mariners take ex-Greenbrier star

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Rich Poythress' phone couldn't keep up with the calls that began flooding in from teams as the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft wrapped up Tuesday night.

Rich Poythress  Special
Rich Poythress

With teams checking in on availability and signability, the Seattle Mariners grabbed the Greenbrier High School product with the 51st overall pick and the second pick in the second round.

"It was a crazy last 10 minutes for me," Poythress said via phone. "Seattle had (picks) 27 and 33, but then I had the Red Sox calling about first-round money in the third round, but the Mariners pulled the trigger when I was on the phone."

The uncertainty ended when former Mariners star Jay Buhner announced Poythress at draft headquarters in Secaucus, N.J.

Poythress, who just wrapped up his junior year as a Georgia Bulldog, said he was surrounded by family and friends at a teammate's house in Lake Oconee.

"I was on the phone when my name was called, but I heard my mom react, and it was amazing," he said. "It's a lifelong dream to get here, and now it's just a stepping stone to playing in the big leagues."

The Grovetown native was a four-year starter that helped Greenbrier win the Class AAAA baseball state championship in 2006 as a third baseman.

"Those years with Greenbrier and (then) coach Ed Williams made a huge foundation for everything that's happened," he said. "There was a winning tradition there. You learned how to win and how to play postseason baseball."

Williams, who coached his final year at Greenbrier during Poythress' senior season, made a congratulatory phone call to his former player Tuesday night.

"It's exciting. There's not anyone that deserves the opportunity as much as Rich does," Williams said. "As good as he was as a freshman, he just kept getting better."

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or


Position: First base/third base

HEIGHT/WEIGHT: 6-foot-4/245

COLLEGE HIGHLIGHTS: He led Georgia in batting (.376), hits (89), runs scored (69), doubles (17), home runs (25) and RBI (86) this season and helped it reach the College World Series finals in 2008.

EXTRAS: Was part of the Columbia County Recreation Department's 11-12 year olds that won the Dixie Baseball World Series Championship in '02. ... Played in Cape Cod Summer League All-Star game last year after leading the Orleans FireBirds in hitting (.311).

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bpeck101 06/10/09 - 08:24 am
Congrats deserve

Congrats deserve it. We will miss you at Foley Field next year.

AsItIs 06/10/09 - 09:57 am
Congratulations, Rich! It's

Congratulations, Rich! It's been a real treat to watch you play ball throughout high school and college. Now I look forward to watching you plan in the Big League! Best wishes, Dude!

amkramer89 06/10/09 - 11:12 am
Congratulations to you!

Congratulations to you! Watching you grow from middle school through college has been fun. It's great to see a young man like yourself put in the work to get better and reach this milestone like you have. Hope you have a long career in the Bigs! Good luck!

Riverman1 06/10/09 - 02:52 pm
I heard Steve Garvey say this

I heard Steve Garvey say this about asking if kids should sign or stay in college. He said if they are not in the top 10 picks, he invariably told them to stay in college. If they are good enough, they will only improve their position, but if they are not good enough, they will have an excellent college experience and get their degrees. Rich should get his degree.

SteveGarvey 06/10/09 - 03:22 pm
Pass up six/seven figures to

Pass up six/seven figures to get a degree that you can get whenever you want???
There is a small window for athletes. Injuries, accidents, etc. can happen in a year.
A degree is there to be had when he retires, in the offseason etc.
Good luck Rich!
Show the other 31 teams what they missed on in the first round!!

blazestr 06/11/09 - 05:39 am
way to go RichyPoo. I'm so

way to go RichyPoo. I'm so happy for you. Your an amazing baseball player.

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