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Pick in real life 'High School Musical'

6/8/2010

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers drafted Cody Buckel with their second-round pick on Tuesday (72nd overall). The 18-year-old from Royal (Calif.) High School is more than just a pitcher. Just like the lead character in High School Musical, Buckel likes playing sports and acting on stage.

The Los Angeles Times wrote about it a year ago. Part of that story:

With a 90-mph fastball, a 3.9 grade-point average and a scholarship waiting for him at Pepperdine, Buckel's future couldn't be more certain. Then he decided to try out for the role of Troy in the school production of "High School Musical." And he got it.

"I was a little surprised and very happy," he said.

His baseball coach, Dan Maye, didn't realize Buckel had an interest in acting.

"I've never had to deal with a baseball player going to drama class every day," Maye said. "I had to talk to the drama teacher. If he's singing or rehearsing, that's fine, but if he's sitting around, I need him on the field."

Welcome to the world of sharing a 16-year-old junior with athletic and artistic talent. Buckel will perform in seven shows that begin April 23, and he has worked out his schedule so that he won't miss any baseball games.

Of course, he might not have much time to sleep either.

With a powerful right arm, the 6-foot-1 Buckel is no ordinary pitcher.

He was a key contributor for the U.S. under-16 national team that won the gold medal in September at the Youth Pan American Championships in Veracruz, Mexico. Buckel had a 2-0 record with 11 strikeouts in eight innings during the eight-game tournament.

His fastball has touched 93 mph.

"If he were a senior, he'd be getting drafted in the first two rounds," Maye said.

Of course, Maye was right. Buckel went in the second round. He was ranked No. 66 by ESPN in terms of draft prospects.