Graham infielder Josh Rodriguez (2nd round, 52nd player chosen, Cleveland Indians - pictured to the right) and Weatherford Wranglers' standout Chad Huffman (2nd round, 57th player selected, Pittsburgh Pirates) lead a number of Texas Collegiate League alumni chosen in the initial rounds of the Major League Baseball Free Agent Draft on June 7-8.

Rodriguez, a TCL All-Star and Futures Game performer, was the Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year while playing shortstop for the Owls, and has been a three-year All-WAC or All-Conference USA performer. He has hit above the .300 mark both in summer baseball and for the No. 1-ranked nationally Owls in each of his five summer and spring seasons and is a candidate for the Dick Howser College Player of the Year and the Brooks Wallace Award in 2006.

Huffman, a football-baseball standout for the TCU Horned Frogs and award-winning 1B-OF for Weatherford, had a "career" year with TCU in 2006 with 18 home runs, 69 RBI, and a .388 batting average - his 18-home run total was the third-highest among '06 college first basemen. He is the younger brother of Houston Astros' prospect and TCU alumnus Royce Huffman.

Five standouts with TCL ties went in the first four rounds.

Coppell infielder Shelby Ford, who starred at TCU and Oklahoma State as a collegian, was taken in the third round (80th choice overall) by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was another TCL All-Star and consistent .300-plus batter in his Coperheads' and OSU-TCU playing days.

McKinney's Bryce Cox, a standout righty on McKinney's 31-17 squad (best regular-season record among TCL squads in 2005) and Rice alumnus, was taken in the third round with the 103rd pick by the Boston Red Sox. Cox was a one-year All-Star in the TCL and remained at Rice for his senior year after turning down a 13th round offer from the Anaheim Angels in '05. He comes from the highly-successful Carrollton (Texas) Newman Smith HS baseball program.

Eddie Degerman, a Denton product on the 2005 TCL title team, was named as one of the five finalists for the 2006 Dick Howser Trophy on June 8 and has been virtually unhittable as an All-America right-hander in spring '06. The junior from Rice was chosen by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round as the 136th selection.

A complete list of 2006 draftees from the three-year annals of the TCL will appear in coming days at texascollegiateleague.com.

TCL D-Bat Player and Pitcher of the Week - June 9, 2006

OF Jose Hernandez of the defending TCL champion Denton Outlaws and Allen Harrington of McKinney are the first weekly Texas Collegiate League D-Bat Player and Pitcher of the Week, respectively, for games of June 6-7.

Hernandez, a sophomore from Long Beach State and resident of Huntington Beach, Calif., started the year with a 4-for-7 (.571) batting performance in two games with four RBI in a 7-1 win over the Plano Blue Sox in Plano Wednesday and a 7-5 setback to the Coppell Copperheads on June 6 in Denton. He also belted a pair of doubles and is tied for the league lead in hits with four after two encounters.

Harrington was dominant in his first outing of the season and worked seven shutout innings while striking out a TCL-high nine hitters in one game as the Marshals downed Weatherford 5-0 in both team's season opener. He allowed just five hits, walked one and led the Marshals to a 1-0 start in the early going in the Tris Speaker Division. McKinney joined Coppell and Duncanville as the only unbeaten teams after four composite contests in the Speaker Division. The 5-11, 180-pound sophomore from Lamar hails from Groves, Texas.

The TCL will choose D-Bat Player and Pitchers of the Week each Thursday throughout the season and also will honor players of the month for June, July and August.

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