Torii Hunter Jr. could follow dad’s footsteps into MWL

Torii Hunter Jr., son of former major-leaguer Torii Hunter, announced Thursday he will focus on playing professional baseball rather than return to Notre Dame for a fifth year. The two-sport athlete was eligible to play for the Fighting Irish football team again next fall, and also was drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the 23rd round this year.

As an Angels farmhand, the younger Hunter could end up playing for the Burlington Bees. If that is the case, he will play outfield in the Midwest League like his father did.

The elder Hunter played 91 games with the 1994 Fort Wayne Wizards. He batted .293 with 10 HR and 50 RBI.

Hunter Sr., LaTroy Hawkins and Michael Cuddyer — all former Wizards players — joined the Minnesota Twins’ front office as special assistants last month. They each retired from playing after the 2015 season.

Hawkins went 15-5 with a 2.06 ERA, 179 strikeouts and 41 walks in 157.1 IP for the 1993 Wizards. Cuddyer batted .276 with 12 HR, 81 RBI and 16 SB in 129 games with the 1998 Wizards.

Only one active player is left from when Fort Wayne was affiliated with the Twins (1993-98): catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who batted .280 with 9 HR and 84 RBI in 136 games with the 1995-96 Wizards. He turns 40 later this month, so it’s possible he won’t draw interest from any clubs, forcing an end to his playing career.

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