Red Sox select LCM's Pennington

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JOSH PENNINGTON Josh Pennington admitted he was feeling “really nervous, really anxious and really frustrated.”

All those feelings immediately went away when the Lower Cape May Regional High School senior pitcher finally heard his name called.

Pennington, currently unable to pitch due to an elbow injury, was selected by the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox in the 29th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft late Saturday afternoon.

“This is a dream come true,” Pennington beamed during a telephone conversation just minutes after learning of his selection. “That’s all it is, a total dream come true.”

With a fastball that consistently sits in the low 90s, Pennington was projected as a much higher selection prior to the start of this season. But he suffered a tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his throwing elbow in mid April and is scheduled to have reconstructive Tommy John surgery later this month. He most likely will not be able to pitch in game conditions for at least a year.

Pennington said a handful of Major League teams had sent out feelers that that were still interested in drafting him despite the injury. But he grew worried as the draft progressed.

“Pretty much the worst was going through my head,” he said. “I started thinking I wasn’t going to get drafted. I was thinking I was going to have to rehab around here and then who knows what. I was getting really nervous, really anxious and really frustrated. I started getting ahead of myself. I started thinking, ‘Why did I have to get this elbow injury? I wouldn’t have to go through this.’ Then, my name got called.”

Pennington said the Red Sox were among his top suitors prior to his injury. He said he texted scout Ray Fagnant a few minutes before the Red Sox were to make their selection in the 29th round.

“The Red Sox were the team I really wanted,” Pennington said. “I texted their scout and I told him, ‘I know you’re really busy right now but I really want to be a Red Sox,’ and I told him how much I appreciated everything from them. His message back to me was to just stay patient. … When I heard my name called, I was just so overjoyed. I can’t explain how happy I was. To be picked by the Red Sox, I’m just speechless right now.”

Pennington has signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball at Division I St. John’s but informed the Red Storm coaching staff a few weeks ago that he would sign a professional contract if selected in the draft.

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