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Baseball: Lucas Giolito upbeat about being selected by Nationals

June 4, 2012 |  6:38 pm

In the winter, Lucas Giolito of Harvard-Westlake was a candidate to be the No. 1 player selected in baseball's amateur draft. After throwing a 100-mph fastball in late February, the momentum was clear. Then an elbow injury in early March left everything up  in the air.

"I had a huge question mark next to my name," he said.

On Monday, he was taken No. 16 by the Washington Nationals, a team he said he had not even spoken with.

"It was a huge surprise but a pleasant one," he said.

"It's a very exciting day. No one had any idea where I'd go. I could have gone anywhere. To go that early feels really good, especially after my arm was injured."

Giolito will have another month of rehabilitation to show the Nationals. He must make a decision by July 13 whether to sign or attend UCLA.

"We'll see how negotiations play out and what's a fair deal," he said.

What's clear is that Giolito has impressed many with his maturity in dealing with the setback from a sprained elbow ligament that wiped out his senior season and probably cost him several million dollars in bonus money.

"After I hurt myself, the year got tough. But I went about it with the same mentality I've learned, taking it one day at a time and going about my business the best I can," he said.

Giolito said he was also very happy for his high school teammate Max Fried, a left-hander selected No. 7 by the San Diego Padres.

"We had a mini-celebration at my home," he said.

Said Harvard-Westlake Coach Matt LaCour: "It's a good day. Both kids have worked extremely hard and have dealt with a lot of built-up pressure all season long and handled it well. It's a good culminating day."

-- Eric Sondheimer