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Son of star reliever Mesa falls to Yankees

NEW YORK -- Charles Flanagan High School (Fla.) head coach Ray Evans coached 19-year Major League veteran Jose Mesa's son, Jesse, first, but there was something different about Yankees' 24th-round pick in the First-Year Player Draft, Jose Mesa Jr.

"He has his daddy's body and his daddy's arm," Flanagan said.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound Jose Mesa Jr. throws a fastball in the low 90s, a curveball, slider and changeup, but he relied on his fastball in high school. He rode it to a 9-2 record and a 1.13 ERA in 13 starts, throwing 80 1/3 innings, walking 41 and striking out 134.

The youngster threw two no-hitters and took another into the sixth inning before exiting with a high pitch count early in the season.

"I've been around the game for so long, it just comes second nature," Mesa said. "I grew up around Major League players, and I always wanted to be as dominant as them."

Mesa has committed to play next season at Seminole State Community College and remains unsure whether he will sign with the Yankees or go to college. He heard he would be picked between the fourth and eighth rounds but fell to Day 3.

Evans believes that Mesa has room for improvement and can add velocity to his fastball when he gets in better shape. Mesa weighed 255 pounds as a sophomore, but he lost 40 pounds by dieting and working out.

"When he got here, he was so out of shape he couldn't even throw a bullpen session," Evans said. "He was falling over himself."

But Mesa had the knowledge passed on from growing up in a Major League clubhouse, as his father saved 321 games for eight teams, went to two All-Star Games and finished second in American League Cy Young Award balloting in 1995.

"Everything I know about pitching is from him," Mesa said, "whether it's mechanics or how to throw certain pitches."

New York Yankees