NEW YORK (AP) — Chad Jones’ NFL career was cut short, so now the former safety is giving baseball another shot.
Jones, a third-round pick of the New York Giants in 2010, was selected by the Cincinnati Reds as a left-handed pitcher in the ninth round of the Major League Baseball draft Friday.
Jones was a two-sport star at LSU and chose football, but never played for the Giants after severely injuring his left leg in a car accident two months after he was drafted by New York. Both his tibia and fibula were shattered, and his arteries and nerves were left exposed.
He has been rehabilitating since, but was waived by the Giants in May 2012 after he failed a physical. So, Jones recently turned his attention back to baseball, and apparently impressed the Reds enough in an open tryout for them to draft him. It’s the third time Jones, who pitched and played outfield at LSU, has been selected in the baseball draft.
The New York Mets found a familiar name during the second day of the draft. University of Connecticut infielder L.J. Mazzilli, son of Lee, was drafted by the Mets in the fourth round — 40 years after the elder Mazzilli was a first-round pick of New York.
LJ Mazzilli helped lead the Huskies to the Big East tournament title and an automatic berth to the NCAA tournament. He hit a team-best .354 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and 29 stolen bases.
“I’m so excited to be able to have the opportunity that my Dad had 40 years ago,” the younger Mazzilli said during a conference call. “I’m looking forward to making my own name out there and carrying my last name with a lot of pride.”
The Yankees also went after famous bloodlines, drafting University of Michigan outfielder Michael O’Neill, nephew of Paul, in the third round.
“Congrats to my nephew Michael O’Neill,” Paul O’Neill wrote on his Twitter page. “Drafted by the Yankees today!!!”
It’s the second time Michael O’Neill was drafted by the Yankees after being selected in the 42nd round out of high school in 2010. He led the Wolverines in batting average (.356), slugging percentage (.498), on-base percentage (.396), runs scored (46), hits (85), doubles (17), home runs (5) and stolen bases (23) this season.
Coastal Carolina outfielder Jacob May, son of Lee May Jr. and grandson of Lee May, was also selected in the third round.
Northwestern right-hander Luke Farrell, son of Red Sox manager John Farrell, was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the sixth round.
Georgia Tech outfielder Kyle Wren was taken in the eighth round by the Atlanta Braves, whose general manager is his father Frank.
Cal State Fullerton catcher Chad Wallach, the son of former All-Star third baseman Tim Wallach, was drafted in the fifth round by the Miami Marlins.
The wait finally ended for Jon Denney, an Oklahoma high school catcher who was drafted 81st overall by Boston after being the only one of nine prospects in attendance at the draft site at MLB Network Studios in Secaucus, N.J., on Thursday night not selected.
“This is awesome,” Denney wrote on Twitter shortly after being drafted. “I have been a Red Sox fan my whole life! Ever since I started watching MLB baseball, now I’m a part of their organization!”
Rounds 3-10 were held via conference call with each team, with rounds 11-40 to be completed Saturday.
Houston selected Stanford pitcher Mark Appel with the No. 1 overall pick Thursday night. The Astros opened the second day by taking another college pitcher, drafting University of North Carolina left-hander Kent Emanuel with the first pick of the third round.