Three Rebels taken in top rounds of MLB draft

Published 4:05 am Thursday, June 11, 2009

OXFORD, Miss. – Three Rebels have heard their name called on day two of the 2008 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft as Scott Bittle, Nathan Baker and Jordan Henry were all drafted in the first seven rounds of the draft on Wednesday.

A senior right-hander, Bittle was taken in the fourth round of the draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, while junior southpaw Baker was taken in the fifth round by the Pittsburgh Pirates. Henry, a junior outfielder, was selected in the seventh round by the Cleveland Indians.

For the day, the Rebels saw eight players drafted as Brett Bukvich, Phillip Irwin, Evan Button and Aaron Barrett were also drafted.

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Bittle – who returned to Ole Miss for his senior season after being drafted by the Yankees a year ago – had a stellar season on the mound as he helped the Rebels to a seventh-straight NCAA Tournament appearance and the SEC Championship.

The right-hander posted a 5-2 record on the year with a perfect 4-0 record as a starter in SEC play as he pitched the Rebels to wins over Kentucky, South Carolina, No. 20 Florida and No. 1 Georgia. He took no-decision in a start at No. 2 LSU that saw him work 7.0 scoreless innings and threw a complete-game shutout of Kentucky with a career-high 13 strikeouts.

Bittle missed the final six weeks of the season as he was sidelined by injury.

“It’s a great feeling (to be drafted by the Cardinals),” Bittle said. “I’m just glad the process is over. I(Former Rebel pitcher) Lance Lynn was one of the first people to text me. I’m glad to know someone in the organization. He loves pitching with them and that gives me confidence that I will too.”

Baker, who was drafted in the fifth round by Pittsburgh, pitched in several roles for the Rebels during his junior season as he served as both a starter and reliever. He started seven games for Ole Miss and made 20 appearances on the season as he posted a 4-3 record with a save. He notched a 3.63 ERA as he struck out 69 and walked only 16 while picking up wins over Memphis, New Orleans, UALR and Auburn. His lone save came at No. 16 Arkansas to help the Rebels to a sweep and the SEC title.

The MLB Draft continues throughout the afternoon before concluding on Thursday.