Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

July 1, 2011

Family genes benefit Fermin

Bluefield Daily Telegraph

BLUEFIELD — Nearly every son when they are growing up, wants to be like their father.

For Bluefield Blue Jays infielder Andy Fermin, that meant being a professional baseball player.

“It's exciting,” Fermin said of trying to follow his father to the major leagues. “The first time Toronto called me and told me I was selected was something incredible. As a little kid, I wanted to be like my father and do what he did.

“That was incredible to me. Now that I have the opportunity, I want to take advantage of it and work the hardest I can to see if I can get there.”

Andy's father, Felix Fermin, played for four different teams from 1987-1996. He began with the Pittsburgh Pirates, who signed him as a free agent in 1983 before playing for Cleveland, Seattle and the Chicago Cubs.

“I'm glad to have a father who played in the big leagues,” Andy said. “Sometimes when I need to talk to somebody, I call him. He helps me out. It's good.”

The younger Fermin was born in Marianna, Fla., but has spent most of his life with his parents in Santiago of the Dominican Republic before coming back to the United States to play college baseball.

“When I came at first to college, it was hard,” Fermin said. “It was the first time I was away from family. This is my fourth year that I'm not with my family for six months. It's not easy. I think now I'm getting use to it.”

He says being around his teammates helps as “the team comes together and so everyone knows everyone.”

Fermin attended Chipola Junior College in Florida where he was a 32nd round selection by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010.

His first round of action in the minors came in the Gulf Coast League where he batted .462 in seven games with three doubles and five RBIs.

His start allowed Toronto to move him to short-season 'A' level with Auburn — their lowest affiliate at the time — where his solid play continued.

In 45 games, he batted .273 with a home run and 20 RBIs. While there, Fermin was coached by Dennis Holmberg, who is again his manager this season with Bluefield.

“He's a great guy,” Fermin said. “So is the hitting coach Kenny [Graham]. Just working with those guys is incredible. They've taught me lot.”

Fermin hopes those lessons can one day translate into playing on the big stage like his father.

“Hard work,” he said of what it will take to get there. “Hard work every day. Come in and try to play the hardest I can. Take advantage of opportunities.”

While some would expect there to be pressure on him in his quest due to his father, Fermin believes otherwise.

“I don't think it's pressure,” he added. “It's a little harder. Everybody ask me the same questions, but I just have to do what I know to do and play baseball. And, try to play as hard as I can.”

This season, Fermin had only played in three games prior to Thursday’s Mercer Cup opener at Princeton, but he's made them count.

He was hitting .462 with six hits in 13 at-bats with three doubles and four RBIs.

— Contact Jonathan Greene