DENNIS WASZAK Jr., AP Sports Writer
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Iona College right-hander Mariano Rivera III, son of the former Yankees closer, was drafted in the fourth round with the 134th overall pick Tuesday by the Washington Nationals.
Rivera was 5-7 with a 2.65 ERA and a school-record 113 strikeouts with 27 walks in 85 innings this season for the Gaels, while also being selected the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference’s pitcher of the year.
While his famous father saved a major league-record 652 games, the younger Rivera has been a solid college starter with six complete games, including three shutouts.
Rivera III was drafted in the 29th round by the Yankees last year, but opted to return for his junior season.
“Obviously, he comes from a great baseball background,” Yankees manager Joe Girardi said before his team faced the Nationals at Yankee Stadium. Girardi added that it’s “a big day for the young man and for ‘Big Mo.'”
While he doesn’t have the devastating cutter that made his father so dominant during a 19-year career, the younger Rivera has a fastball that hits the mid- to upper-90s consistently, along with a solid curve and slider.
He bears a striking resemblance facially to his father, although the 21-year-old Rivera takes a smaller frame to the mound at 5-foot-11 and 155 pounds; the elder Rivera was 6-2, 195.
Rivera wasn’t the only player with baseball bloodlines taken early during the second day of the baseball draft. Missouri State outfielder Tate Matheny, son of St. Louis manager Mike Matheny, was drafted by Boston early in the fourth round.READ MORE: Petition Calls On Automakers To Cease Business With Suppliers That Use Hexavalent Chromium
Matheny, a 23rd-rounder by the Cardinals out of high school in 2012, hit .291 with five homers and 43 RBIs for the Bears this year, along with a team-leading 12 stolen bases.
Michigan State outfielder Cam Gibson, son of 1988 NL MVP Kirk Gibson, was drafted in the fifth round by the Detroit Tigers — the team that drafted the elder Gibson with the No. 12 overall pick in 1978.
Cam Gibson was drafted in the 38th round by Arizona in 2012 while Kirk was managing the Diamondbacks, but opted to go to Michigan State, where his dad also played his college ball. He hit .294 and had 17 stolen bases in 57 games for the Spartans this season.
Several other familiar names were selected in the first two rounds Monday night, including: Florida high school outfielder Kyle Tucker (No. 5 overall by Houston), the younger brother of Astros outfielder Preston Tucker; Texas high school third baseman Ke’Bryan Hayes, son of former big leaguer Charlie Hayes, went 32nd overall to Pittsburgh; Georgia high school outfielder Daz Cameron, son of former All-Star Mike Cameron, went 37th to Houston; and California high school third baseman Tyler Nevin, the son of 1992 No. 1 overall pick Phil Nevin, was drafted by Colorado at No. 38.
Among other notable selections was Texas drafting Duke right-hander Michael Matuella, who had Tommy John surgery in April, early in the third round. Matuella was considered a candidate for the No. 1 overall pick entering the season.
“Unreal moment,” Matuella wrote on Twitter. “Im beyond excited for the opportunity that the @Rangers have given me!! Thank you to everyone for the incredible support!!!”
The draft started Monday night with the first two rounds, and runs through Wednesday with 40 total rounds.
AP Baseball Writer Ben Walker in New York contributed.MORE NEWS: CBS Mornings' Gayle King Visits Detroit, Motown Museum
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