MIAMI (AP) Alex Rodriguez still remembers throwing batting practice a decade or so ago to his nephew, who was simultaneously getting a hitting lesson from Reggie Jackson.
The kid apparently took good notes.
The Miami Marlins announced the signings of their first three draft picks on Friday - No. 13 overall selection Trevor Rogers, No. 36 overall pick Brian Miller and No. 51 Joe Dunand, a Miami native and Rodriguez's nephew. Rogers agreed to a $3.4 million signing bonus, Miller $1,888,800 and Dunand $1.2 million.
''I'd like to thank the whole Marlins organization for taking a chance on me,'' Rogers said.
A-Rod, wearing an immaculate suit, was in the front row for the news conference introducing the trio at Marlins Park. And watching Dunand had Rodriguez thinking back to what his earliest days as a pro in the game were like.
''It's really the American dream,'' said Rodriguez, who received a $1 million signing bonus as part of a three-year deal when he was the No. 1 overall pick by Seattle in 1993. ''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.''
The three picks have diverse backgrounds.
Rogers is a left-handed pitcher who just finished high school in Carlsbad, New Mexico, and is a cousin of former Marlins outfielder Cody Ross. Miller is a lefty-batting center fielder who played at North Carolina. Dunand is a right-handed-hitting shortstop who remembers watching the Marlins as a kid, then went to school at North Carolina State.
''We're supposed to hate each other,'' said Miller, speaking of Dunand and the Tar Heel-Wolfpack rivalry. ''But we really don't know why.''
The Marlins have signed 28 picks from this year's draft. Rogers will report Saturday to the Gulf Coast League Marlins. Dunand and Miller, who have been working out this week together at the Marlins' complex in Jupiter, Florida, will be going to Class A Greensboro in the South Atlantic League.
Marlins President of Baseball Operations Michael Hill pointed out that among the players in Friday's starting lineup, Miami had Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton and J.T. Realmuto - all high draft picks by the organization.
''We're built through our draft,'' Hill said.
Rodriguez thanked Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria for giving his nephew the opportunity.
''I'm thrilled that Jeff and his organization took a chance,'' Rodriguez said. ''It's a great testament to Joe, because the Marlins are one of the best in baseball - and they have been for a very long time - at drafting young players, developing them and then getting them up here.''
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