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Mets stock up on arms on Day 1
06/07/2004  7:47 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Pitching was top priority again for the Mets during Monday's opening rounds of the 2004 First-Year Player Draft. New York selected eight pitchers through the first 18 rounds, following a trend that was established years ago within the organization.

Rice right-hander Philip Humber was the top choice, going third overall behind California shortstop Matt Bush, who went to San Diego, and Old Dominion righty Justin Verlander, who was tabbed by Detroit.

"I think coming out of a program like this, Rice is the pinnacle of college baseball," said Humber, who took the loss on Sunday as the Owls were eliminated from NCAA Tournament by Texas A&M. "It prepares you for success down the road. I know college baseball is a little lower level than minor league baseball, but I gained a lot of experience here.

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"It's been kind of an emotional roller coaster. Yesterday, was my last game played at Rice, probably. But the sun came up today and I couldn't have asked for a better situation that being drafted by the Mets."

New York tabbed pitchers with their second and third picks, choosing San Jose State righty Matt Durkin (44th overall) and Belen Jesuit High School (Fla.) righty Gaby Hernandez. Right-handers Scott Hyde of George Fox College in Oregon and Neil Jamison of Long Beach State went in the eighth and ninth rounds, while Virginia Tech's Jeff Landing and Servite High School's (Calif.) Brad Meyers were chosen in the 12th and 14th rounds, respectively.

"I haven't spoken to anyone with the Mets yet," Hyde said. "I actually looked it up on the Internet and called my parents. We were using the Draft Tracker. It was pretty crazy. We were scrolling down and waiting, holding our breath."

Joseph Williams of St. Xavier University in Illinois was the only southpaw chosen.

Overall, seven of the 18 players selected were from high schools, including outfielder Brahiam Maldonado of St. Francis High in Carolina, Puerto Rico. He went in the 10th round.

New York picked University of Washington catcher Aaron Hathaway in the fourth round before filling out the left side of the infield with their fifth and sixth picks. Third baseman Nick Evans of St. Mary's High (Ariz.) went at No. 5 while shortstop Ryan Coultas of The University of California-Davis went at No. 6.

Outfielders Josh Wyrick of Porterville College (Calif.), Martinez Allen of Dunellon (Fla.) High School, Parris Austin of Douglas County (Ga.) High School and Kyle Brown of Lemoyne College in New York were also selected.

The Mets also picked first baseman Mike Carp of Lakewood (Calif.) High in the ninth round and shortstop William Psomas of West Virginia University with their 15th pick.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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