Baseball: Kelly to go pro
On Saturday, Pat Kelly found out he had been selected by the Minnesota Twins in the 12th round of MLB’s Rule 4 Draft. On Tuesday, the University of Nebraska junior second baseman said goodbye to college with his decision to sign a professional contract with his home-state team.
“It’s pretty cool, and I’m pretty excited to get things going with the Twins,” Kelly said.
A 2011 graduate of Red Wing High School, Kelly will head to Fort Meyers, Florida later this week to finalize the details of his first pro contract.
“I’ll sign my contract down there, do my physical and all that. And then there’s a mini camp for a week, and after that we’ll break for the teams,” Kelly said. “And it sounds like I’ll head up to Tennessee.”
The Twins’ rookie team is based in Elizabethton, Tenn., where Kelly will play a short season with many of the Twins 2014 draft picks.
The decision to sign, Kelly said, came down to his comfort with his level of play. And he thought his skills are ready for pro ball.
“Ultimately, it came down to me thinking I’m ready to go play. I think right now I’m just trying to do that. The Twins obviously wanted me to get me signed. They showed interest in me, and they want me to be part of their organization,” Kelly said. “And, hopefully, I’ll keep rolling through the system, however long it takes. To get up to play at Target Field would be the ultimate goal and dream.”
With his amateur days behind him, Kelly, who expects to stay at second base, realizes there is work to be done, a fact that will be driven home when he receives his first paycheck, with the memo of being a professional baseball player.
“It’s a realization that it’s actually coming true,” Kelly said. “It’s just hard to believe right now. It’s cool and everything, but it’s definitely going to be a job. But, you know, it’s a job that not a lot of people have the opportunity to have. I think that in and of itself is pretty special.”