My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories:
“The tighter the situation, the worse he pitches” is how former Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi described Jason Frasor last July — an interesting statement when you consider that Ricciardi traded Jayson Werth to the Dodgers for Frasor in 2004. But in watching Frasor over the past couple of years, it’s difficult to argue with Ricciardi’s assessment.
When right-hander Octavio Dotel was activated yesterday, the Jays shipped reliever Casey Janssen to the minors. Janssen had been impressive so far this season, but the Jays are in the enviable position of an excess of capable big league arms. It also makes you wonder who will be demoted when Brandon Morrow and Frank Francisco return?
I’ve only spoken to him twice, but I sensed that the charismatic Russell Martin (East York, Ont.) was a New York kind of guy. So far, he has performed well in pinstripes. After six games with the Yankees, he is hitting .300 with a homer and four RBIs. Martin has also joined Twitter. You can follow him at @russell_martin
I saw this trivia question on Twitter: Prior to Russell Martin, who was the last Canadian to hit a home run for the New York Yankees? Thanks to the crack detective work of Scott Crawford at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, I discovered that the answer is Aaron Guiel (Vancouver, B.C.). He hit four homers for the Yankees in 2006.
Speaking of Guiel, talented London writer Todd Devlin wrote a great piece about the Canuck slugger, who was playing baseball in Japan when the recent earthquake happened. You can read it here: http://is.gd/aSaZSK
The results were mixed for Canadian left-handers returning from arm injuries. Jeff Francis (Vancouver, B.C.) has impressed in his first two starts with the Royals, hurling 13-2/3 innings and compiling a 1.98 ERA. Meanwhile, Mariners starter Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.) allowed earned three runs in five innings and took the loss against Texas on April 4 in his first big league appearance since July 25, 2009.
After recuperating from a concussion that kept him out for the final two months last season, Jason Bay (Trail, B.C.) is now on the disabled list with a rib injury. Set to earn $16 million this season, the soft-spoken Canadian has become the whipping boy for unhappy Mets fans. Though the Canuck outfielder is eligible to come off the disabled list tomorrow, Mets GM Sandy Alderson has told reporters that’s unlikely to happen because Bay is still healing.