Former Kentucky Wildcats pitcher Taylor Rogers, one of the school-record nine baseball draft picks, spoke with Wildcat Blue Nation towards the end of June .
Daniel Solzman: Thanks for joining Wildcat Blue Nation today. How are things treating you in Elizabethton?
Taylor Rogers: It’s not too bad. Just getting used to the minor league life and the town is nice.
Daniel Solzman: Can you talk about what it means to finish up your Kentucky career and get drafted by the Twins?
Taylor Rogers: There was no better way to finish it. The year we had was great for the program. To top that off with being drafted made it that much better. The other part that was better was 8 other guys got picked up as well so that was good to see.
Daniel Solzman: Is there anything that Coach Gary Henderson taught that will stick with you for the rest of your career?
Taylor Rogers: I couldn’t put a finger on just one. I’ve seen so many, even here, in a short couple of weeks, just all the stuff that he told me and starting to come back. I can’t imagine being here without that stuff that he’s told me over the past 3 years. I just can’t put my finger on just one thing.
Daniel Solzman: A few weeks ago, Kentucky played Kent State in a 21 inning game and it was not even televised. What goes through your mind as the game drags on?
Taylor Rogers: Well, you know. (Laughs) Just trying to push runs across each inning. Every time you want that lead off guy on, just try and scratch for a run. Just try and do your best. It was kind of fun there for a while. We got 18-19…
Daniel Solzman: Last summer, you got to pitch in the Cape Cod League All-Star Game at Fenway Park. What was that whole experience like?
Taylor Rogers: It was a dream come true. Definitely an honor to pitch there. Not many people get to do that. Definitely something I’ll never forget and a great experience I was glad to be able to be a part of.
Daniel Solzman: I know it’s still early but what is Ray Smith like as a manager?
Taylor Rogers: I haven’t got much of a chance to talk to him. He’s very good to play for so far and all the players seem to like him. He’s a real nice guy and he introduced guys that were just coming into professional baseball. He helped us out with that. He coaches us to just do what we are doing and that works for us.
Daniel Solzman: What about pitching coach Ivan Arteaga? Has he given you any pointers?
Taylor Rogers: Just trying to watch a little bit and figure out if anyone needs to change anything. They kind of have like a policy where they leave you alone for a while. If they need to change something, they will.
Daniel Solzman: Who was your favorite player growing up?
Taylor Rogers: Growing up, my favorite player has been Todd Helton from seeing him on TV everyday. I love his demeanor on the field, the way he carries himself.
Daniel Solzman: How did it feel to get your first professional win on June 23rd against the Burlington Royals?
Taylor Rogers: It was pretty cool. Not many times you get to do that on the first try but it was definitely nice to get that out of the way and get through the rest of the season. It was pretty cool to get it on the first try.
Daniel Solzman: Thanks again for joining us and good luck with your career. Any final words for Big Blue Nation?
Taylor Rogers: I’m excited for the NBA Draft because I know we’ll have 6 guys. Thanks again for the call.