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Meanwhile, in Northern Virginia, the batting cage in Werth’s backyard prepares for some heavy use this season by his two boys. “I’m such a late bloomer,” he says. “I played a lot of ball, but I wasn’t really that good until I got older and more developed. I was athletic, but skinny and gangly. My 10-year-old is the same way. We’ll see what he turns out to be.”

Clearly, the kid isn’t lacking in the genes department. It’s more a question, really, of how badly he wants to “kick the snot out of ‘em,” as his great-grandma might say.