Morris eager to start pro baseball career

CROZET, Va. (CBS19 SPORTS) -- Tanner Morris was looking for a distraction during Tuesday’s second day of the MLB Draft. So he was on the golf course when he got that call from the Toronto Blue Jays.

“It’s kind of just a relief off the shoulders,” Morris said Wednesday morning. “You get to relax a little bit and go play baseball. It’s a new adventure and it’s going to be pretty exciting.”

Morris began the day confident that he would get drafted at some point on Tuesday. He said Wednesday that he had actually reached a deal with the Minnesota Twins, who planned to select the draft-eligible sophomore from Virginia at No. 149 overall in Round 5. But the Blue Jays snuck in and grabbed Morris two picks earlier, at No. 147.

The Miller School graduate said Wednesday that he’s still negotiating some details before finalizing a deal with Toronto. The plan would be for Morris to fly to Florida on Friday for a physical and sign with the Blue Jays, then report to the franchise’s Class A Short Season affiliate in Vancouver.

Morris expects to start his pro baseball career at shortstop, but mentioned the possibility of moving to second base, third base or left field. Morris was All-ACC third-team at shortstop for the Wahoos this spring after hitting .353 with five home runs and 21 doubles, with 54 runs scored.

Last summer, Morris was an All-Star for the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod League, finishing the season with a .331 batting average with eight doubles and 24 runs scored. Morris believes that success on the Cape gave him a good feel for what to expect in pro baseball.

“That was one of the biggest experiences, just facing some of the top arms in college baseball, and getting to play every day using a wood bat,” he said. “It has more of a pro feel to it. A relaxed environment, not getting coached a whole lot. Just out there playing.”

Morris also credited his two seasons at UVA for making him “a tougher player” with a better approach at the plate, and a better teammate. Now he’s eager to make baseball his everyday job.

“It’s awesome. You get paid to play a game,” Morris said. “There’s not many people that get paid to play a game. So it’s going to be pretty fun.”

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