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Nationals draft Cal Ripken's son in 15th round

The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Washington Nationals selected Ryan Ripken, the son of Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr., in the 15th round of the Major League Baseball draft Saturday.

The younger Ripken is a 6-foot-6, 230-pound first baseman from Indian River State College in Florida. The lefty hitter batted .321 with one homer and 24 RBIs in 42 games this season after transferring from South Carolina, where he did not make the roster and redshirted.

He could become a third generation of Ripkens to play in the pros, following in the footsteps of his ''Iron Man'' father, who was a 19-time All-Star and broke Lou Gehrig's record for consecutive games played; his uncle Bill, who played 12 years in the majors; and late grandfather Cal Sr., who managed in the bigs.

''I think it's great for Ryan to get a chance to go and play,'' manager Matt Williams said before the Nationals played at San Diego. ''I think there's immense pressure on that young man. It's too bad, but I think he handles it really well. You know, dad, uncle, grandfather, great bloodlines, great work ethic. We'll be happy to have him. If he can bring that work ethic to us, it'll be nothing but a benefit.''

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