Chicago Native Dean Anna is Yankees Latest Star
APRIL 21, 2014, NEW YORK - It may be Derek Jeter's last year as a Yankee, but another teammate has been taking away some of his spotlight: infielder Dean Anna.
After spending five years in the Padres organization-and racking up numerous honors, including 2013 Hitter of the Year-Anna signed a Major League deal with the Yankees in January this year.
Dubbed the 'most underrated player in baseball,' the left-handed batter has already made a splash in his debut Major League season, including a solo home run against Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox and multiple infield starts at positions including second base and shortstop opposite Jeter. Not to mention, he was the center of the league's first instant replay controversy in a game against the Red Sox, ultimately being found â€˜safe.'
While Anna may be donning the famous pinstripes as of late, make no mistake that he is a true Chicago guy. A Mokena, Ill., native and Ball State University alum, Anna has said, 'I was a Chicago Cubs fan [growing up.] Ryne Sandberg was one of my favorite players.'
His Chicago roots are also the reason behind his choice for number 45-Anna idolized the legendary Michael Jordan growing up.
Fittingly enough, the Yankees trumped the Cubs in a double header on Wednesday, April 16, yielding zero runs for the Chicago team in either game.
Part of what Anna attributes to his Yankees success is 'my versatility-the fact that I can play a lot of positions to help the team out.' These positions include second and third base, shortstop and even an emergency catcher if need be, per Yankees' manager Joe Girardi.
This jack-of-all-trades position may be why Anna was recently labeled 'an important Yankee' by Newsday Sports.
By all accounts, it appears this Chicago native is gearing up for a very productive major league season.
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