Taylor partially paralyzed, striving to play again

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The collision may have left Cone’s psyche scarred. He hit .363 with 10 homers and 53 RBIs as a sophomore but only .275 with four homers and 35 RBIs this year as a junior.

“Yeah, it’s a lot of ups and downs, having to go through what we went through wasn’t easy,” Cone said. “It kind of got me a little bit.”

Perno and Cone said they were impressed the Rangers drafted Taylor.

“This is awesome,” Cone said. “It shows a lot about the Rangers organization and how they care about their players. After our accident, it was hard for both of us. To be here right now and know we’re both teammates again, it’s awesome. You can’t even bring words to it.”

Some doubt Taylor will walk again. His mother, Tandra Taylor, says she knows better. She says she heard the same thing when she shattered her right knee in a car accident two years ago.

“They didn’t think I was going to walk,” Tandra Taylor said as she wore a blue Rangers T-shirt on Saturday. “They even thought about amputating my leg.”

Tandra said her recovery took two years.

“As soon as I came back, this happened to him,” she said, adding her son shows the same determination to disprove the skeptics and already shows “great improvement.”

“He has not missed one day of therapy,” she said. “If they would let him go seven days, he would.

“He’s coming back. He’s definitely coming back because you can’t stop someone who is determined to do something, no matter what they say.”

Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said after talking with Tandra Taylor, the team will not sign Taylor to a contract.

“Our focus right now is for Johnathan to stay here in Atlanta and rehabilitate from his injury and finish his school,” Fagg said. “That’s the most important thing right now.”

Taylor and Cone were on the field for batting practice and Taylor met several players including one of his favorites, Josh Hamilton. He said he often played the Texas Rangers on video games before he was surprised to be drafted with Cone by the team.

“It’s a dream come true,” he said.

“It’s a great thing after what we both have been through. We have stayed strong together. I thank the Rangers for what they did, keeping us together.”

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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