MIAMI -- Alexander Rodriguez achieved his big league dream, and on Friday afternoon, he made sure he was on hand to watch his nephew, Joe Dunand, take the first steps of his professional baseball career.Drafted in the second round, 51st overall, by the Marlins earlier in the month, Dunand was
MIAMI -- Alexander Rodriguez achieved his big league dream, and on Friday afternoon, he made sure he was on hand to watch his nephew, Joe Dunand, take the first steps of his professional baseball career.
Drafted in the second round, 51st overall, by the Marlins earlier in the month, Dunand was one of three picks who signed on Friday and was introduced to the media late in the afternoon.
"It's such a special day for him, growing up in a Major League clubhouse," said Rodriguez, who attended the news conference along with other family members. "Now having the ability to start his career, we're so proud of him. It's really the American dream, when you think about a kid growing up in Miami, going to college, pursuing your education and then getting drafted by your hometown team, it doesn't get much better than that."
Raised in Miami, Dunand was a shortstop at North Carolina State, and he projects to be a third baseman in the professional ranks. The Marlins also announced the signings of first-round pick, Trevor Rogers, taken 13th overall from Carlsbad (N.M.) High School, and outfielder Brian Miller, picked 36th from the University of North Carolina.
"When you hear all three of those men speak, they have their heads on straight," Rodriguez said. "One is from North Carolina. One is from Miami. One is from New Mexico. So they are not bias to any part of the country. What I loved about them is they're so different. One is a left-handed high school pitcher, one is a center fielder who can run and hits lefty, and one is a Latin kid from Miami, who is a power-hitting corner guy or shortstop. It's really a phenomenal day for the Marlins."
For A-Rod, Friday was a day to reflect.
Earlier in the afternoon, on his Instagram account, he posted a photo of Dunand from several years ago in the batting cage. Rodriguez threw soft-toss pitches to Dunand, with Reggie Jackson offering advice in the wings.
A-Rod wrote: "Passing the torch with Mr. October."
"It's hard to believe I'm watching him in a Major League uniform, and a Marlins uniform on," Rodriguez said. "I don't remember being more proud in my career than I am of him right now. As an uncle and as a family member, it's really a dream come true for all of us."
Joe Frisaro has covered the Marlins for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast.