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Clarkin learns to love Yankees

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Sam Gardner

Sam Gardner is a general assignment writer for FOXSports.com. Originally from Orlando, Fla., he previously covered the Orlando Magic for FOX Sports Florida and has also covered the NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals and MLB playoffs. Follow him on Twitter.

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The New York Yankees selected Ian Clarkin, a left-handed pitcher out of San Diego, with the 33rd overall pick in Thursday’s MLB draft.

Clarkin had a 0.95 ERA and struck out 133 batters in 73-1/3 innings this year — and he is thought to have top-of-the-rotation stuff, particularly a devastating curveball that has drawn comparisons to Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. So it's no surprise the Yankees took the University of San Diego commit so high. The kid’s got first-round talent.

What does make the Yanks’ choice so intriguing, however, is the fact that Clarkin isn’t a Yankees fan. In fact, in an interview with MLB.com, Clarkin, 18, went as far as to say he “could not stand” the team growing up and that he actively rooted against them in the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

"I was actually in tears, I was so happy," Clarkin told the site when asked of the Yankees' Game 7 loss that year.

These days, however, Clarkin seems to be changing his allegiance, and will definitely have to put his days as a Yankee-hater behind him if he ends up signing with the Bombers instead of playing for his hometown team in college — a proposition that seems likely, if his own comments are any indication.

"Now I do love (the Yankees), and my dad's going to have to learn to love them, too," Clarkin told MLB.com. "They're the most historic organization, and I am looking forward to it. There's proof in the pudding, and I'm excited for it.”

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