The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 6, 2013

Bridges to start professional baseball career

Carthage High grad signs with Yankees

By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer

— When Drew Bridges was a sophomore, Carthage coach Mike Godfrey started to think professional baseball might be in the young player’s future.

The thought has become reality.

Bridges signed with the New York Yankees organization on Friday after being selected in the 20th round (No. 614 overall) of the MLB draft in June.

“I already knew he was very good, but his sophomore year he came through with some big hits off some very good people,” Godfrey said. “I was impressed with his demeanor and maturity. It was sometime during his sophomore year that I started thinking this guy could have the opportunity to be playing baseball for a while.”

Bridges chose the Yankees over Missouri State University.

The terms of Bridges’ contract weren’t released. Bridges left for Tampa, Fla., on Saturday. He is expected to be assigned to one of the Yankees’ rookie teams after completion of a physical examination.

“I’m really excited for him,” Godfrey said. “It’s been a dream for him as it is for a lot of baseball players. For him to have this opportunity and be sought after by the Yankees is a great thing.

“Drew’s a rare kid. He’s very talented, but he also has a very strong work ethic.”

Bridges, who bats left and throws right, helped the Tigers to a 21-2 record his senior season. He earned all-state honors after batting .522 with 11 doubles, five triples, eight homers and 35 RBI.

“He’s fine-tuned his pitch selection,” Godfrey said. “He does a great job with plate discipline, and he doesn’t miss his pitch very often. Whenever he came to the plate, the guy on the mound was well aware of who he was throwing against. And he had the added pressure of the scouts in the stands. He handled it all so well. He had a really consistent season.”

Bridges also posted a 6-1 record with 80 strikeouts as a pitcher.

However, the Yankees are planning on having the 6-foot-3, 215-pounder start his professional career as a third baseman. Baseball America listed Bridges as the No. 449 prospect entering the 2013 draft.

“Physically, he’s got a great frame,” Godfrey said. “He’s very strong. He’s got great bat speed. A lot of that comes from how hard he works at it. He loves to play, and he loves to work at his skill. He gets better and better each year.”