Yankees first-round pick Cito Culver was supposed to be on a conference call with the media at 4 p.m. on Tuesday. It was pushed back to 4:30 because Culver was getting a tuxedo for the senior ball at his high school. He and a friend picked out a pinstriped version, and there was disappointment in his voice when he told the New York writers that the pinstripes are black, not blue.
“I’ve been working for this all my life,” Culver said. “And to go 32 overall to my favorite team, and the team I’ve been growing up watching, and the team my family has followed for years now, it was an awesome feeling. It was unreal.”
Two years ago, the Yankees drafted a high school kid who didn’t sign. That doesn’t seem likely in this case. Culver has advisors working for him, and so he naturally didn’t rule out the idea of sticking to his commitment to the University of Maryland, but there was a sense that he simply couldn’t help himself.
“I think that I just can’t wait to be a Yankee,” he said.
WHY HE PLAYS BASEBALL: “My whole family grew up playing baseball. If you didn’t play baseball in my family you were pretty much exiled from the family. It’s something that ran in the family, and when you have a lot of cousins like I do – I have a ton of cousins – they’re all playing baseball and you’re going to play with them. It’s just something that grew on me.”
WHAT KIND OF PLAYER HE IS: “Switch hitter. Love to hit. Love to hit from both sides. I’m a pretty good runner. My best asset I think is my arm strength. I think I have good feet in the infield, know how to get myself in good position to take a ground ball and make an accurate throw.”
WHAT POSITION HE EXPECTS TO PLAY: “I see myself as a shortstop. That’s the position I played growing up, throughout my whole life. Once a shortstop always a shortstop, but I’m open to do whatever the team needs to do to get the win.”
WHAT HE EXPECTED ON MONDAY: “I wasn’t really sure to be honest. I knew a couple of teams were interested in me. Did I know I’d go 32 overall? No I didn’t. When I was called, I was very grateful and just honored to be able to begin and finish off my career being a Yankee.”
WHY DEREK JETER IS HIS FAVORITE PLAYER: “I just love the way he plays the game. He goes hard every time. The best part about his game to me is when he hits a ground ball, he runs it out hard every time. You can expect that from him, just giving his best effort every time. That’s something I want to resemble when I get older, playing as hard as he did. He’s one of the best that’s ever played the game.”