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Win-win situation for Rozier

By Jeffery Armstrong

Former Henry County Warhawks pitcher Michael Rozier's selection by the Boston Red Sox Monday was a case of perfect timing.

Rozier knew he'd be pitching on national television that night in an all-star game, so he decided to show major league scouts what they were missing by drafting him in the 12th round instead of in the first three rounds.

"It was great to be drafted, but I was a bit disappointed that I went in the 12th round," Rozier said. "But I knew going in that it was all about signability – scouts weren't sure if I was going to sign or not."

After monitoring the draft with the rest of the high school all-stars in attendance, the lefty hurler said he couldn't wait to take the mound.

"I was ready to go. I said to myself that I hope the scouts were tuned in to their TVs," said Rozier, who took the mound wearing a University of North Carolina cap. "I took being drafted in the 12th round as a motivating factor in the game. I said it was my time to shine."

Rozier did indeed shine in the contest – he pitched the first two innings for the East All-Stars, striking out five and walking two. He kept the West players off balance, using all three of his pitches (fastball, change up and curve ball) to perfection. His fastball topped at 94 miles per hour.

"I was a little nervous, but after the first pitch I knew I was in control," Rozier said. "I just tried to do my thing."

Rozier said his plan is to head to North Carolina to start training for football, which still hinges on whether the Red Sox will tender a huge offer to him to play pro baseball. Rozier hasn't received a call from the Red Sox at this time.

But Rozier figures he won't get the ?life-changing' amount of money that first, second and possibly third-round picks usually receive.

"I'm not expecting any big bonus," he said.

If that holds true, Rozier will report to UNC by June 20, lifting weights and participating in football passing drills for about two months. He will then get two weeks off before going back to Chapel Hill and participating in three-a-day practices.

Rozier, who threw for over 3,000 yards in his career as a high school quarterback, will not supplant the UNC fifth-year senior Darien Durant – in fact, he said he might red-shirt his freshman season. But he feels that he has a good shot to become the starter or at least the No. 2 quarterback as a sophomore. After football season, he will gear up for baseball in the spring.

But no matter how well Rozier does in football, he knows where his bread is buttered.

"My future's in baseball," Rozier firmly replied.

Still, it will be an interesting first year of football for Rozier. The Tar Heels have a tough schedule, playing the likes of Miami, Florida State and Virginia Tech in consecutive games.

"The non-conference schedule is also tough; there are games against Utah and Louisville on tap," Rozier said.