Newspaper article International New York Times

Hopes for Mets Prospect: Skills Run in the Family

Newspaper article International New York Times

Hopes for Mets Prospect: Skills Run in the Family

Article excerpt

Cory Vaughn, the Mets' fourth-round pick in 2010, is trying to make an impression at major league camp. His father, Greg, hit 355 home runs in 15 seasons.

At an early age, Cory Vaughn was conditioned to act like a professional baseball player. His father, Greg Vaughn, who hit 50 homers for the San Diego Padres in 1998, would bring him to the ballpark, where he let him shag fly balls and take grounders. But there were rules. It was not a playground, his father said. He had to be respectful and carry himself seriously. He was about 5 years old.

It did not take him long to become a very underaged, but aspiring, professional. One day, during batting practice, he caught a Tony Gwynn fly ball. Gwynn stopped hitting, called out to him and applauded. At the 1998 All-Star Game in Denver, Greg Maddux taught him how an outfielder keeps his hand on top of the ball as he transfers it from glove to hand.

Now all grown up, Vaughn is an outfield prospect in the New York Mets' organization, picked in the fourth round of the 2010 draft and trying to remain in the team's plans after a somewhat inconsistent climb through the minor league system.

If he can make it, all those moments when he was a youngster among major leaguers will feel prophetic.

There was the time at Dodger Stadium when Vaughn was taking grounders at shortstop, alternating with Cincinnati's Barry Larkin, when, on one throw from the catcher, his right hand went to his glove too soon. He ran to his father in the outfield, clearly in pain, and was told something along the lines of, "You're all right, rub some dirt on it."

His hand was, in fact, broken. Still, that was how Vaughn was raised: If he was hurt or sick, get over it and get back on the field.

But when he was about 11, he felt out of sort for months. His eating patterns were erratic, and his energy level was not right. Eventually, he was found to have Type 1 diabetes. As a result, he has to watch what he eats and monitor his blood sugar level. During games, he pricks his finger and checks it about five times. On the field, he stores an insulin pump in his back left pocket, because he slides on his right. Sometimes he keeps small candies or granola bars with him, too, just in case. …

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