College Sports

Ex-UK pitcher Paxton will aim for June draft

James Paxton, the University of Kentucky pitcher who left the team last week, plans to play in an independent league and enter the Major League Baseball draft in June, his father said Saturday.

"He's a very focused young man, and certainly Major League Baseball is his dream," Ted Paxton said from his home in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Head coach Gary Henderson said Friday that Paxton had gone, adding that he thought staying with the team would have been "the best decision for him baseball-wise."

Ted Paxton said his son, through attorneys, would have more to say about the issue, probably Sunday.

James Paxton sued UK in Fayette Circuit Court nearly three months ago, alleging officials told him he had to submit to NCAA questioning or face expulsion from the team. Paxton declined the interview about his eligibility and his dealings with the Toronto Blue Jays. Court documents show that UK told the player that a newspaper blog quoted a Blue Jays official saying he wished he could have talked directly to Paxton and his family instead of agent Scott Boras.

Ted Paxton declined to say whether James was represented by Boras, adding "this is where our legal counsel has suggested we not get involved."

UK had said allowing Paxton to play with the team could put the school's entire athletics department at risk.

"Obviously he didn't want to create any risk for the team," Ted Paxton said Saturday.