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Wednesday, August 5, 2015

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Pickens chooses Spartan family over MLB, will start in season opener

By Jeremy Warnemuende          Posted: 02/15/12 5:22pm         

This Friday, Jimmy Pickens will make his debut for the MSU baseball team when the Spartans open up their season against St. John’s in Dunedin, Fla. Head coach Jake Boss Jr. said Pickens will get the start in right field against the Red Storm, and he expects the freshman to contribute early and often this season.

The West Bloomfield, Mich. native was considered to be one of the best high school players in the state last season. And — along with three other freshmen — he was drafted in last year’s MLB Draft but chose to come to school instead. He said the togetherness aspect that comes along with playing college baseball was one of the main draws.

“My brother is with the Cleveland Indians organization, and he knows you don’t really get a family camaraderie when you go to the next level,” Pickens said. “But when you’re in college, you get that family, and everybody wants to see you get better and improve. There wasn’t really a thought in my mind not to go.”

And Pickens hasn’t regretted the decision for a second.

“I love it, nothing like it,” he said. “It’s college. It’s being around the guys. You’re joining a family here at Michigan State. It’s really nice just being around guys who love baseball just as much as you do.”

During the fall and winter, Pickens and his fellow freshmen worked on adjusting to the college game, where he said everyone is better and faster than in high school. Now that the season is here, Pickens said he and the other newcomers are excited to get their careers started.

“As of Friday, we’re no longer just freshmen,” Pickens said. “We’re part of the defending Big Ten Champions.”

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