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McKinley pitcher Alexander Johnson signs with Cincinnati Reds

Alexander Johnson has started his professional baseball career with the Cincinnati Reds.

A Reds spokesman confirmed Monday that Johnson, who graduated from McKinley High School last month, has signed with the organization. He has reported to the Reds' facility in Arizona.

The Reds selected Johnson, a 6-foot-6-inch, 220-pound pitcher, in the 36th round of the Major League Baseball amateur draft in June, at No. 1,074 overall.

Johnson will be assigned to the Arizona Reds of the Arizona League, Cincinnati's rookie-league team in Goodyear, Ariz. The Reds did not disclose the terms of Johnson's initial contract.

The Reds had until July 15 to sign Johnson, a right-hander who also considered playing junior-college baseball.

Johnson is believed to be the first player since McKinley’s Doug Zavodny in 1972 to be drafted by an MLB team out of a Buffalo public school.

Johnson is also the eighth high school player in the past seven years to be selected from a Western New York high school. He’ll join a list that includes current professional prospects Charlie Mack (Williamsville East), Leugim Castillo (Lancaster) and Dan Dallas (Canisius).

"I think other guys from public schools with me getting noticed and the exposure it will push them to want to do it because I was able to do it," Johnson told The News last month, after he was drafted. "It’s taken a lot of work ... but I don’t think I’m going to be the only guy. I don’t like how the gap is so big. Hopefully other guys follow in the footsteps (much sooner).”

Johnson first threw 91 miles per hour during a travel-league game in Cleveland last summer, and consistently threw in the high 80s and low 90s in the spring for McKinley, even though his appearances were limited due to wet weather and due to being put on a pitch count, in order to preserve his arm.

McKinley pitcher Alexander Johnson goes to Reds, ending BPS' MLB draft drought

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