My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan just completed his final rehab assignment in Dunedin on Friday. Coming off multiple arm surgeries, the former first rounder has consistently hit 95 mph on the radar gun this season. He will pitch in Double-A New Hampshire in August and will likely be elevated to the big leagues in September. Given his past injury woes and the Jays glaring need for a reliable closer, McGowan should be given a shot at the closer’s role in September — if not next spring.
In Bob Elliott’s column in today’s Toronto Sun, he shared an ESPN tweet that went out about Canuck lefty Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.) after the Red Sox acquired him. The tweet said that Bedard has “J.D. Drew’s durability and John Lackey’s media relations skill.” These are not compliments by any stretch. Bedard has garnered a reputation as being “soft” and has just one complete game in his career. This likely won’t play out well in Boston, where they worship blue-collar type players.
Yes, Zach Stewart won his first major league game with the Chicago White Sox last night. But before Jays fans start saying that Alex Anthopoulos shouldn’t have traded the right-hander, keep in mind that Stewart has allowed 34 hits in 23 innings and big league batters are hitting .370 off of him this season.
After Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano belted his 23rd career homer last night, it had me wondering how many home runs Canadian legend Fergie Jenkins hit. The answer is 13. In 1971 alone – which was also the year that the Chatham, Ont., native won the National League Cy Young Award – Jenkins belted six homers and drove in 20 runs.
I’m surprised that the Rogers Sportsnet cameras aren’t following Brett Lawrie into the washroom. The Langley, B.C. native, who has looked good in his first weekend as a big leaguer, has been followed more closely than any other prospect in Blue Jays history. I’ve noticed that Lawrie has mastered the Rickey Henderson snap catch on pop-ups. With Lawrie and Yunel Escobar playing side by side, there will be a lot of swagger on the left side of the Jays infield.
Unless I’m mistaken, when Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.) gets his rightful big league call-up on September 1, the Jays will have three Canadians (Lawrie and Mark Teahen are the others) on their big league team for the first time ever. It’s unlikely that right-hander Scott Richmond (North Vancouver, B.C.), who sports a 7.71 ERA in 20 starts in Triple-A, will join them in Toronto.
Trail, B.C. native Jason Bay hit his 199th career homer last night. He’s now just one shy of becoming the third Canadian to belt 200 home runs in their career. Maple Ridge B.C. native Larry Walker (383) and Fredericton, N.B. native Matt Stairs (265) are the other two.