Nelson, Cannizaro to represent Yankees at Draft

Nelson, Cannizaro to represent Yankees at Draft

CHICAGO -- Former Yankees Jeff Nelson and Andy Cannizaro will serve as representatives for the organization at the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball announced on Wednesday.

Nelson, a sidearming right-hander who pitched for four World Series-winning Yankees clubs during the dynasty era that started in 1996, appeared in 331 games over six seasons with New York.

"It's good to make people aware of what kinds of athletes these guys are, especially if you look in the Minor Leagues and see how the fans are -- when they see a great player, they tend to follow that player throughout the Minors," Nelson said.

"I think it's the same as the Draft. They're trying to get people to be aware of these guys coming out of high school and top colleges, and putting it on TV. Maybe they'll get recognized a little earlier by the fan bases of the organizations that they get drafted by, and follow them."

Nelson said that on the day of the Draft, he'll be responsible for announcing the Yankees' first selection -- due to free agency compensation, he'll be tasked with the 55th overall pick, coming in the second round.

"They'll give me a little script and make sure I can pronounce the name right," Nelson said.

The Draft has changed a great deal since 1984, when Nelson was selected by the Dodgers in the 22nd round.

"I didn't know anything about the Draft; I got scouted in high school by the Mets and the Cardinals," Nelson said. "I got a telegram from the Dodgers that said I was selected in the 22nd round. I had no idea what that was, but I was like, 'Oh, this is awesome!'"

Nelson said he visited Old Dominion University and considered playing college ball there, but he ultimately decided to sign with the Dodgers, scoring what he believes was a $7,500 bonus.

"I went out to Great Falls, Montana, right into rookie ball," Nelson said. "I was 6-foot-2, 175 pounds when I got drafted out of high school. I didn't even wear spikes; I showed up in white turf shoes with a glove. I had to borrow somebody's spikes, and luckily there was a guy that was the same size that I was. That was my first experience as a Minor Leaguer."

Cannizaro, a former infielder who came up through the Yankees' farm system, played in 13 games with the Bombers in 2006. He also appeared in the Majors with the Rays in 2008.

The 2014 Draft will take place on June 5-7, beginning with the Draft preview show on MLB.com and MLB Network on Thursday, June 5, at 6 p.m. ET. Live Draft coverage from MLB Network's Studio 42 begins at 7 p.m., with the top 74 picks being streamed on MLB.com and broadcast on MLB Network. MLB.com's exclusive coverage of the second and third days will begin with a live Draft show at 12:30 p.m. ET on June 6.

MLB.com's coverage includes Draft Central, the Top 100 Draft Prospects list and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of Draft-eligible players. Every selection will be tweeted live from @MLBDraftTracker, and you can also keep up to date by following @MLBDraft. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.