Fish Bytes

Uncle A-Rod missed this Marlin’s first major-league hit, but it was still ‘awesome’

Former North Carolina State and Gulliver Prep star Joe Dunand recorded his first hit in a Major League uniform in the Marlins’ spring training game on Monday.
Former North Carolina State and Gulliver Prep star Joe Dunand recorded his first hit in a Major League uniform in the Marlins’ spring training game on Monday.

A-Rod wasn’t there to see it.

Heck, it’s probably safe to assume that most of those on hand Monday at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches barely noticed it.

An inconspicuous kid wearing No. 85 with a nameless jersey stepped to the plate in the eighth inning of the Marlins’ game with the World Series champion Astros and lined a single to right.

It was Joe Dunand, nephew of former baseball great Alex Rodriguez.

And it was his first hit in a major-league uniform.

“It was awesome,” Dunand said. “It was really exciting to get my first hit.”

Never mind that it was a spring training game. Or that Dunand’s name was spelled incorrectly on the scoreboard as “Dunnand.”

It was still a magical moment for the 22-year-old shortstop the Marlins drafted out of North Carolina State with the 51st overall pick in the amateur draft last summer.

Dunand, who played his high school years at Miami Gulliver Prep, isn’t on the Marlins’ spring training roster.

But he was informed several days ago that he would be joining the big-league club as an “extra” player for the one game.

On Tuesday morning, the retired New York Yankees player presided over a ceremony to celebrate the refurbishment of the baseball field at Boys & Girls Clubs of Miami-Dade’s Kendall club.

Naturally, he alerted his famous uncle the second he found out. After all, Rodriguez was on hand last summer when Dunand was formally introduced by the Marlins, calling it one of his proudest moments.

“I told him I was going to play,” said Dunand, whose father is A-Rod’s half-brother.

Due to scheduling conflicts, A-Rod couldn’t make the game in person.

He had made an appearance with Charles Barkley on “Saturday Night Live” and spent Sunday in New York with gal-pal Jennifer Lopez lending his support to a program designed to help youth in underserved communities.

“He’s a little busy right now,” Dunand said. “But I’m sure he was watching.”

Dunand, who is ranked as the Marlins’ No. 23 prospect by MLB Pipeline and hit .370 in a handful of minor-league at bats the final week of last season, will start this season in the minors.

But he enjoyed Monday’s moment.

“It’s always exciting to come up here with the big-leaguers and learn as much as you can,” Dunand said. “It’s my first big-league hit in spring training, so it was pretty special to me.”

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