Nick Silva’s uncle is one of the most recognizable names in sports.

You’ll have to excuse him if he doesn’t walk around talking about the fact he is the nephew of New York Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez, who is the brother of Silva’s mother, Susie.

“I kind of don’t bring it up. If somebody asks me, I’ll answer, but I really don’t talk or brag about it,” Silva said.

He is likely to receive more than a few inquiries about his relationship with the man known as “A-Rod” next fall when he moves to Red Sox country.

Silva, a 6-foot-2, 205-pound pitcher out of Christopher Columbus High School in Miami, last week signed a National Letter of Intent to play baseball and attend the University of Maine.

He and former Lewiston High School left-handed pitcher Eddie Emerson committed to coach Steve Trimper’s program during the spring signing period.

“Nick is a strike-thrower with a lot of upside,” Trimper said. “He has the potential to develop into a key guy for us.”

In Orono, Silva next season will join current Columbus teammate Danny Casals and two former teammates who attend UMaine, Danny Diaz and Christian Garabedian.

“That was huge, how many people [from Miami] were there already,” Silva said of his decision. “It makes it a lot easier and Danny’s [Casals] one of my best friends. He convinced me. I’m super excited.”

Silva has been the No. 3 starter this spring for coach Joe Weber at Christopher Columbus. The right-hander has a 4-0 record with a 1.30 earned run average in five appearances.

In 27 innings, Silva has allowed 26 hits while striking out 23 and walking 10 to help the Explorers (22-5) advance to the Division 8A regional quarterfinals.

“The most important thing is to throw strikes, that’s what I focus on most,” Silva said. “You have to make sure you can throw your breaking pitch for strikes.”

Silva said he is not a hard thrower, but instead relies on good location and mixing his pitches. He said he throws a fastball and an overhand curve, but has added a pitch this spring.

“[We] have been working on a slider, too,” said Silva, who made his NCAA official visit to UMaine over Easter weekend.

Silva said he has been blessed to receive lots of support in his baseball pursuits from Rodriguez, who also grew up in Miami. A-Rod often takes Silva and another nephew, Joe Dunand, to offseason workout sessions.

“He shows us how to do things the right way. He’s a great mentor to us,” Silva said of Rodriguez.

Silva is accustomed to hearing comments about his controversial uncle, who was suspended by Major League Baseball for the 2014 season amidst accusations that he had obtained illegal performance-enhancing drugs.

Rodriguez has maintained that he did not use those substances.

“It definitely was hard on my grandma. My family would be sad sometimes just by how much he gets destroyed by the media,” Silva said.

There have been many benefits to having an uncle in the major leagues. Silva recently accompanied Casals and his father to a Yankees game in St. Petersburg, where they met with A-Rod after the game.

Rodriguez also treated Silva to some memorable baseball trips when he was younger. It included the 2010 All-Star Game at Anaheim, California.

Ironically, A-Rod did not play in that game.

“One summer, me and my mom went with him and we went to like 10 ballparks,” Silva said.

“My favorite park has to be San Francisco,” he said. “It’s so kid-friendly. They have a slide, a Wiffle Ball park. It’s amazing with the bay [beyond the outfield stands].”

Not surprisingly, Silva’s favorite team is the New York Yankees. And he is happy that his uncle has bounced back this season after a long layoff.

Through Sunday, A-Rod was batting .267 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in 18 games.

“I’m happy for him. He’s worked really hard this offseason.”

Ultimately, having A-Rod as his uncle has its benefits.

“It’s pretty cool, I have to admit,” Silva said.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...