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Twins take Pudge’s son in sixth round

June 7, 2011
By Jordan Schelling / MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — When he was a kid and his father played for the Rangers, Ivan Rodriguez used to tell his dad he wanted to follow in his footsteps. On Tuesday, he got one step closer to that dream.

With the 208th pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, the Minnesota Twins drafted center fielder Rodriguez — who goes by “Dereck.” He is the son of 1999 American League MVP and 14-time All-Star catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez of the Nationals.

The younger Rodriguez never took to catching like his father, instead finding himself in the outfield. Rodriguez attended Monsignor Edward Pace High School in Miami, Fla.

“We took a flier on him. He’s got good tools,” said Twins scouting director Deron Johnson. “He’s a totally different body than his dad. He’s about 6-2, 6-3, 185 [pounds]. So, he’s a tall, lean kid. He’s got really good tools. He can throw, he’s got raw power and he’s a solid runner.”

In a 2010 national showcase, Rodriguez was clocked at 95 mph on a throw from center field to home plate. He’s also tried his hand at pitching, where he has also reached the low-to-mid-90s on the radar gun, but prefers the outfield.

The Twins also prefer Rodriguez in the outfield, and Johnson said that while they’ll send him down as a center fielder, Rodriguez is likely to end up as a corner outfielder at the next level.

As for Rodriguez’s ability on the mound, Johnson said it was there, but they like his bat better.

“He can run it up to 92 we’ve seen,” Johnson said. “We like his bat, we think he’s got potential offensively.”

His father, who has played for the Rangers, Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros and Nationals, was a part of the 2003 World Series champion Florida club. He has won 13 Gold Glove Awards, a record for catchers, and seven Silver Slugger Awards.

Before the Nationals’ game with the Giants in San Francisco on Tuesday, Pudge shared his thoughts.

“Very proud for him,” Pudge said. “He is a good kid. That was his dream when I started putting the glove and bat on his hands when he was a little kid. Just to see him come to the park when I was with the Rangers. He would be with me in the clubhouse. He told me that he wanted too be here one day.

“It’s a big day for him, a big day for me. Now he is getting ready to prepare, go to Spring Training, start working hard.”

Live coverage of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft resumes at 11 a.m. CT Wednesday on MLB.com, where fans will receive exclusive coverage of Day 3, featuring a live pick-by-pick stream, expert commentary and Draft Tracker, a live interactive application that includes a searchable database of every Draft-eligible player.

You can also keep up to date at Draft Central and by following @MLBDraft on Twitter. And get into the Draft conversation by tagging your tweets with #mlbdraft.

Jordan Schelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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