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Bucciferro getting set to head to Bristol

From Minooka to East Lansing to Glendale, and now Bristol is on the radar.

That's the pathway that Tony Bucciferro took to get into professional baseball.

The 2008 Minooka Community High School graduate traded in his Indians uniform at the time for that of the Michigan State Spartans. As of last week, Bucciferro was given a new uniform to wear for the Chicago White Sox organization when he was drafted by the team in the 14th round.

"We had known for a while that he'd have a pretty good shot, it was just a matter of who and what round," Minooka coach Jeff Petrovic said about the possibility of his former pitcher being drafted. "What a great opportunity. He's a great kid with the best attitude. He's one of the all-time great kids and I wish him nothing but the best."

Bucciferro recently wrapped up his four-year college career with MSU, where he went 26-14 with a 3.72 ERA in 59 games. In 372 1/3 innings, he walked 67 and struck out 273. He was able to roll that into the moment he has been waiting his whole life for.

"When the White Sox called me, they asked if I would sign for a certain amount ($10,000) and I said, 'Yeah,'" Bucciferro explained. "There was no bargaining or anything."

Bucciferro said that he represented himself with his parents Jim and Judy at his side.

"A couple of days later, I went up to U.S. Cellular (Field) to sign," he said.

Bucciferro said that the signing took place in the player development office, and then the White Sox comped him tickets to that day's game.

"They hooked me and my family up with some tickets for the game against the Blue Jays," he said.

At present, Bucciferro and the other draftees of the White Sox were sent to Glendale, Arizona for extended spring training, and he's been told he's going to be assigned to the rookie league team for the White Sox in Bristol, Virginia.

"Most of the draft picks are here getting acclimated and on Saturday I fly out to Bristol to start playing games," he said. "We practice from 6:15 a.m. until 12 p.m. So far we're just been working out and I haven't done a bullpen session yet. "

The plan for the White Sox is to work Bucciferro into things at a controlled pace.

"They said they want to take it easy on me," he explained. "I pitched a lot of innings my senior season (111 1/3) and (the Sox) want to keep me healthy. They are going to closely monitor me and my pitch counts."

Bucciferro said that he expects to be in Bristol until late August but then he has one bit of unfinished business to attend to after that.

"I've got one more semester to finish before I graduate from Michigan State," he said. "It will all work out great because after the season, I can go back and get that done."

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