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Texas begins Day 2 with high-upside arms

Duke righty Matuella, Houston righty Lemoine taken in third, fourth rounds

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers used their third- and fourth-round picks to take two of the most talented pitchers in the 2015 Draft on Tuesday.

But they both had their seasons cut short by arm injuries, putting both Duke right-hander Michael Matuella and University of Houston right-hander Jake Lemoine in the nebulous "high-risk, high-reward" category.

• Draft Central

Matuella is recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery and is also dealing with the similar back issues as Rangers pitcher Matt Harrison.

• Draft Tracker

That's why Matuella dropped to the third round. He had Tommy John surgery two months ago and will need at least a full year of recovery. He's also dealing with spondylosis, an issue involving degenerative discs in the back.

Tweet from @mikematch30: Unreal moment. Im beyond excited for the opportunity that the @Rangers have given me!! Thank you to everyone for the incredible support!!!

The combination leaves much unknown about Matuella's professional future, although he was still viewed as a potential first-round pick before the elbow problem sidelined him for the rest of the season at the beginning of April.

Video: Draft Report: Michael Matuella, College Pitcher

Prior to the injury, Matuella was 1-1 with a 1.08 ERA in six starts. In 25 innings, he had allowed 20 hits and 11 walks while striking out 24.

Harrison, who had spinal fusion surgery a year ago, has been diagnosed with spondylolisthesis.

"His has more degenerative discs, which can cause nerve pain," Harrison said. "Mine is a case where the vertebrae breaks in half and moves around, pulling on the nerves and causing numbness."

Lemoine, who stands 6-foot-5, came into the season highly regarded after pitching well for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team. He was listed either second or third team on four preseason All-American lists. But he made just five starts before going down with an impingement in his right shoulder. He was 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA in five starts.

Lemoine was 2-2 with a 2.45 ERA in four starts and one relief appearance with the national team. Opponents hit .194 off him. He was 6-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 17 starts as a sophomore.

The Rangers previously drafted Lemoine in the 21st round of the 2012 Draft out of Bridge City (Texas) High School.

The Rangers used their fifth-round pick to selected outfielder Chad Smith from South Gwinnett (Ga.) High School. He is a left-handed hitter with some power. He also has pitched, but the Rangers drafted him as an outfielder.

The Draft concludes on Wednesday, with exclusive coverage of Rounds 11-40 beginning on at noon ET.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger.
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