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Saturday, July 13
Greinke was sixth overall pick in draft

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Zack Greinke's desire to play baseball for Clemson burned so brightly that he had to be talked into becoming a millionaire.

"There's a lot of peer pressure to take the money these days,'' Greinke, the sixth player taken in the June draft, said at a news conference Saturday after signing with the Kansas City Royals.

"Many people don't expect you to turn down more money than they might make their whole life just because you want to go to college.''

The 18-year-old right-hander with extraordinary command of four pitches was 9-2 with an ERA of 0.55 this year for Apopka High School in the Orlando area. But Greinke had dreamed for years of playing for Clemson. After visiting the coaches and players at the South Carolina campus, he was offered a scholarship.

"It's just most people don't understand you want to do what makes you feel good instead of what is more businesslike,'' he said.

"I was probably the only person, me and the college coaches, who thought going to college was the best idea.''

Is he sad he'll never go to Clemson?

"Yes,'' he said.

There was no sadness among Royals officials. They feel they've got a pitching prospect with rare gifts.

"It was a complete package,'' scouting director Deric Ladnier said. "We feel like Zack's got a chance to be a front-line starter. If he goes out and performs the way we think he's going to perform, we feel he's got a chance to move through our system in a hurry.

"He knows how to hold runners. He knows how to do slide steps, even though he may not know he knows how to do them,'' Ladnier said. "He's quick to the plate, all those things you have to do to advance. He's already pretty much ahead of the game. It was almost like scouting a college pitcher, to tell you the truth. But he's 18 years old.''

Greinke, who admits he's happy with his contract and excited about reporting to the minor leagues, says he has no idea where his baseball instincts came from.

"I really didn't start pitching seriously until this year,'' he said. "It's almost natural. That's the best thing I can say. I was born into that. I knew how to play a baseball game.''

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