A-Rod on hand when nephew Dunand homers -- No. 13, of course

July 4th, 2023

has been tearing the cover off the baseball this year. But on Monday night, with uncle Alex Rodriguez in the stands, he went the extra mile, or 363 feet, to be exact.

The Braves prospect launched his 13th home run of the season in the sixth inning with the 14-time All-Star and three-time AL MVP winner looking on Monday night. The visiting Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers led, 5-0, going into a one-hour rain delay at CHS Field, but ultimately fell to the St. Paul Saints, 6-4.

After going 2-for-4, the hard-hitting infielder has compiled a slash line of .315/.393/.650 with 31 RBIs and 23 runs through 39 games with Gwinnett. Dunand went yard for the second time in three games to start July, and his team-leading 13th was particularly special since that was the jersey number his uncle wore when he played for the Yankees.

“It just played out like that,” Dunand chuckled. “I was just trying to put the ball in play and put a good swing on it. I talked to him before the game and he told me to just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Dunand’s long ball off right-handed Twins prospect Cody Laweryson came on an 0-1 changeup and traveled 363 feet with an exit velo of 108.9 before landing in the visitors' bullpen. 

“He threw the same pitch right before [the home run] and made me look silly on it,” the 27-year-old said. “I was kind of expecting it again, and once he doubled up, I didn’t miss it.”

Dunand has hit safely in four consecutive games and seven of his last 10 overall. The 2017 second-round Marlins pick credited his prosperity at the plate to tweaks he made this spring.

“In the middle of April, I made some adjustments and have been seeing a lot of success since then,” Dunand said. “It’s all about putting up good at-bats every day you’re out there and building off each one. When you do that, you will eventually see success and help the team any way that you can.”