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Vlad, Papi proud mentors to World's top stars

MLB.com @JesseSanchezMLB

WASHINGTON -- The conversation between Vladimir Guerrero and Mets top prospect Andres Gimenez began with some small talk in the World Team dugout during Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

"How's your son doing? When is Vlad Jr. coming back?" Gimenez asked, referring to the game's top prospect, who is currently injured. "I know your nephew Gregory. We signed with the Mets the same year."

WASHINGTON -- The conversation between Vladimir Guerrero and Mets top prospect Andres Gimenez began with some small talk in the World Team dugout during Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game.

"How's your son doing? When is Vlad Jr. coming back?" Gimenez asked, referring to the game's top prospect, who is currently injured. "I know your nephew Gregory. We signed with the Mets the same year."

Box score

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: No big deal. It���s just a Hall of Famer sharing hitting tips with a young prospect. This might be the biggest moment of Andres Gimenez���s pro career. #FuturesGame. #Mets pic.twitter.com/ShXlU7IUTW

Guerrero, the World Team's hitting coach in the Futures Game, nodded and smiled. The prospect was nervous, and the baseball legend knew the kid wanted to talk shop.

Video: WLD@USA: Guerrero on his son preparing for the majors

"He's fine. He will be back soon," the Hall of Famer responded. "You have a good swing."

The pair spent the next few minutes talking about hitting, and when they were done, San Diego infield prospect Luis Urias -- ranked No. 29 in the game by MLB Pipeline -- stepped up to hear about the legend's approach at the plate. The pattern continued throughout the game, a 10-6 World Team loss to USA at Nationals Park. It was clear by the first inning that the future stars of the game wanted to learn from the stars of the past -- Guerrero and World manager David Ortiz -- and the prospects were going to walk away as winners regardless of the final score.

Tweet from @JesseSanchezMLB: It���s been cool to watch @VladGuerrero27 saddle up next to the young players and offer tips during the game. He just spent a few minutes with San Diego���s Luis Urias. #FuturesGame pic.twitter.com/evQd1N3RVm

"It's my first time being a hitting coach, so for me, the main message I had for them is to keep it simple," said Guerrero, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame later this month. "You see the ball and hit the ball. That's it. I liked what I saw today, and it was great to spend some time with these young players. I hope I was able to help them some with my advice."

:: 2018 Futures Game coverage ::

Gimenez admitted to being starstruck by his hitting coach.

"What an incredible experience," Gimenez said. "What these guys mean to Latinos and to the world is amazing. They had great careers, and that's what we want, too. It was great to hear legends say they are rooting for me and want me to do well. That means a lot."

Guerrero stood at the same spot behind the railing in the middle of the dugout and Ortiz was perched on the top step near the on-deck circle for most of the game. The Dominican Republic baseball legends cheered the great plays and grimaced at the ones that could have been better. But they mostly smiled and enjoyed the experience.

"I know we lost, but I am very proud of our players," Ortiz said. "These kids are still baseball babies, and to play the way they did was unbelievable. It was good to share our experiences and show them that it can be done. Remember, these kids are very young, and they stepped up to the challenge and we can all walk away feeling great."

The opportunity to meet baseball legends was not lost on Urias. While many of the other players spent a few minutes next to Guerrero, Urias was spotted standing near him for most of the game.

 

"I grew up watching these players. These guys were my idols," Urias said. "I watched them on television as a kid, and it was great to be here with them. Vladimir is such a humble person, and he was such a great player. I really admire that. [Ortiz] is a superstar player and a superstar person. I'll never forget this experience."

Jesse Sanchez, who has been writing for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.