Dom Nunez He will pass up a scholarship to UCLA and sign with Colorado after the Rockies took the infielder on the second day of the draft Friday.

Elk Grove's Nunez drafted by Colorado Rockies

Published: Saturday, Jun. 8, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 5C
Last Modified: Monday, Jun. 10, 2013 - 7:17 am

Disappointed in watching his stock apparently drop on the second day of Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft on Friday, Dom Nunez decided it was time to get out of the house.

So the renowned Elk Grove High workaholic headed over to his school to shag grounders with teammate Carlos Moseley.

Then came The Call. The Colorado Rockies were about to make their sixth-round selection.

"They gave me a figure, and I called my parents to make sure it was OK," Nunez said.

It was more than OK, a figure "well above" MLB's recommended $265,000 signing bonus for a No. 169 pick. It also was enough of an inducement for Nunez to pass on playing for UCLA in the fall.

There's even better news for the 6-foot-1, 170-pounder.

He's been told he'll play shortstop or second base, not catcher, where he was considered one of the 10 best in the draft by USA Today.

"I've grown up playing shortstop most of my life," said Nunez, who was listed as a third baseman when selected by the Rockies. "I only played catcher this season to help my team win a section title."

Nunez, who hit .390 and drove in 37 runs for the Thundering Herd this season, has played in the past with a couple of Rockies scout teams and knows former Sacramento City College coaches Jerry Weinstein and Andy McKay well. Weinstein is Colorado's catching coach and McKay the peak performance coordinator.

"He's going to an organization that's a good fit for him," said Elk Grove coach Jeff Carlson. "His versatility is a big plus."

While Nunez was happy, Rowdy Tellez, Elk Grove's other major draft prospect, was disappointed.

One ESPN analyst had speculated just before the first day of the draft on Thursday that the burly Tellez would be a first-round pick. Baseball America had projected The Bee Player of the Year as the third-best first baseman in the draft.

But after the first 10 rounds and 316 selections – the draft concludes today – the USC scholarship signee hadn't seen his name placed on the board.

"This isn't the right time now," a somber Tellez said when reached by phone. "I'm hanging with my family right now. Is it OK if we talk tomorrow?"

Carlson has been coaching Elk Grove 13 seasons. He's had seven players drafted out of high school, including major leaguer David Hernandez. But he's given up trying to predict the draft.

"I know Rowdy is disappointed," Carlson said. "It's still possible he gets drafted tomorrow and gets what he's looking for (bonus-wise). But if not, he goes to USC, and I have no doubt he'll be a first rounder when he's done there."

Carlson, nervously watching the draft on television the first day, thought his 6-4, 240-pound left-handed power hitter might have a shot at a first-round selection when Serra of Gardena's Dominic Smith and New Mexico's D.J. Peterson, the two first basemen ranked ahead of Tellez in Baseball America's projections, went No. 11 (New York Mets) and No. 12 (Seattle Mariners), respectively.

The A's also reportedly were heavily interested, but they took Oregon first baseman Ryon Healy in the third round with the 100th pick. He was rated one spot behind Tellez by Baseball America.

Nunez said his longtime friend was one of the first to congratulate him after Nunez was selected by Colorado.

"Rowdy obviously wants to be a big leaguer and, one day, a Hall of Famer," Nunez said. "He should have been selected on the first day, but it is what it is. If he winds up going to USC, he's going to have a big impact. His time will come."

Linehan gets the call – Former Sheldon pitcher Tyler Linehan, now at Fresno State, was the only other area player selected on Day 2. The 6-foot, 240-pound left-hander was taken in the ninth round (No. 272) by the Milwaukee Brewers.

Call The Bee's Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.

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