Reporter: Justin Feldkamp
Justin Thompson went from "really disappointed" to "incredibly excited" in a span of less than a week. After going undrafted Thompson signed a free agent contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks Monday.
Virginia's closer will report to Missoula, Montana later this week to begin professional baseball with Arizona's rookie league affiliate.
Thompson said the UVa coaching staff's contacts helped him to latch on with a major league organization. Originally a catcher at Tunstall High School, Thompson transitioned to pitching at UVa and he said, "I'll have an opportunity to pitch in some capacity. I'm not sure of my role yet."
Thompson said he knew it was highly unlikely that he'd be drafted in the first two days of the three-day Major League Baseball Draft. To take his mind off it, he played golf with his friends but when it came down to the final four or five rounds last Wednesday and he still hadn't heard his name called, the disappointment began to sink in. "That day was hard," he said over a phone conversation Tuesday.
In addition to the Diamondbacks, Thompson said he was in contact with the Phillies, Tigers, Yankees, and Indians throughout the time period following the season up until the draft.
After playing at Tunstall with Will Inman, his older brother Jacob Thompson, and Joe Mantiply, all of whom were drafted, Thompson said, "It's always been a dream of mind to play professionally." He also credited longtime Tunstall head coach Barry Shelton, who called Thompson once he heard the good news.
When asked now as a professional, if he would keep his trademark long hair, Thompson said, "I'll have to neaten it up a bit but I'd still like to keep it."