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Yankees draft pick Ian Clarkin doesn't really hate them

Yankees first-round draft picks, pitcher Ian Clarkin (33rd

Yankees first-round draft picks, pitcher Ian Clarkin (33rd overall pick), and outfielder Aaron Judge (32nd overall pick), pose during the MLB Draft. (June 6, 2013) Photo Credit: AP

SEATTLE -- Yankees first-round draft pick Ian Clarkin got his first grilling at the hands of the New York media Friday afternoon, and it had nothing to do with the pitcher's impressive left arm.

Finding himself in the middle of what can generously be described as a non-story, the 18-year-old fielded questions about a pre-draft video in which he said he "cannot stand the Yankees,'' his reaction as a 6-year-old to the 2001 World Series and the rooting interests of his parents.

"First and foremost, I want to apologize to all the Yankees fans for my comment,'' said Clarkin, the third of the Yankees' three first-round picks at No. 33.

The to-do was spawned Thursday night during the draft when -- after the Yankees picked Clarkin, whom Baseball America rated the 17th-best prospect in the draft -- MLB Network showed a video in which he recalled his reaction to the Yankees' Game 7 loss in the 2001 World Series. "I cannot stand the Yankees, so I was actually in tears, I was so happy,'' Clarkin said on the video.

Clarkin explained Friday that the remark was a dig at his mother, who grew up in New Jersey "a die-hard Yankees fan.'' Moreover, Clarkin, whose father favored the Pirates, was pro-Diamondbacks in the World Series because they were underdogs.

"It was taken out of context completely,'' said Clarkin, 9-2 with a 0.95 ERA and 133 strikeouts in 14 games (12 starts) this season at James Madison High School in San Diego. "I told my mom that I would say that just to tease her a little bit. I didn't mean anything by it and I'm extremely excited to be a part of this wonderful organization.''

With the frippery portion of the teleconference concluded, Clarkin and the club's other first-round picks -- third baseman Eric Jagielo of Notre Dame (No. 26) and outfielder Aaron Judge of Fresno State (No. 32) -- discussed what is to come. (All three received calls Friday from manager Joe Girardi.)

The 6-3, 215-pound Jagielo was the 2013 Big East Player of the Year after batting .388 (76-for-196) with nine homers, 53 RBIs and 47 runs in 56 games. He led the Big East in slugging percentage (.633) and on-base percentage (.500), but the lefthanded hitter stood out even more to the Yankees because of what he did with Harwich in the Cape Cod League in 2012, when he hit .291 and ranked second in the league with 13 homers.

Jagielo, who heard from fellow Golden Domer David Phelps on Friday, will have every chance to rise quickly in the organization, which has little in the way of infield prospects. "I definitely see an opportunity,'' he said.

Judge, listed at 6-7, 255 pounds, batted .369 (76-for-206) with 12 homers, 36 RBIs and 12 stolen bases for Fresno State, playing primarily in centerfield. His size stands out, and Judge knows he's likely to be moved to one of the corner outfield spots.

Jagielo observed Judge in the Cape Cod League and liked what he saw. "Watching his BP was pretty impressive,'' Jagielo said. "Then you see him go out in centerfield and I was like, 'What is this guy doing out there?' But after watching him play, I realized he had a bunch of tools and was going to be a special player.''

After the draft, which concludes Saturday, the next step is signing the picks.

"It would have to come down to life-changing money,'' said Clarkin, who has committed to San Diego State. "We're going to talk it over as a family and see what works best for me and see what works best for the family and hopefully get a scholarship in the contract also. But it's going to come down to how the money changes our family's life.''


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