My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
Tough luck Minnesota Twins slugger, Justin Morneau, was in Toronto for the annual Baseball Canada National Teams Awards banquet on January 14. Over the past two seasons, the New Westminster, B.C. native has been hampered by a variety of injuries, including a concussion as well as neck, wrist, knee and foot problems. “You know you haven’t had a good season when you’ve had as many surgeries as home runs,” Morneau noted about his 2011 campaign.
If I was a betting man, I’d bet that Jesse Litsch has thrown his last regular season pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Speaking of the Jays, they will pay a combined $8.5 million for the services of veteran relievers Darren Oliver and Francisco Cordero in 2012. I share this because former Astros ace and three-time all-star, Roy Oswalt, who has hurled 180 or more innings in seven of his last eight seasons and is fully recovered from a back injury, is still a free agent. Oswalt is seeking an $8-million, one-year contract. I’d rather have Oswalt in the rotation than Oliver and Cordero in the pen.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Montreal Expo pinch hitter extraordinaire Wallace Johnson by phone on Thursday. I asked the Indiana native, who played in Montreal from 1981 to 1984 and then again from 1986 to 1990, whether he felt Tim Raines belonged in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. “I know Tim Raines is a Hall of Famer,” he responded. “That’s one guy that I’m amazed that folks didn’t realize how great he was. He could do anything on the ball field. And I hate to make comparisons because I get in trouble, but if Rickey Henderson is in the Hall of Fame, Tim Raines should be in the Hall of Fame. I think ‘Rock’ brought much more than just the stealing of bases. He was a switch hitter that won a batting title. He could do all kinds of things. I think without a doubt he should be in the Hall of Fame. I’m his No. 1 booster here in Gary, Indiana. We’ve got Andre (Dawson) in there, we’ve got Gary (Carter) in there, Dave Van Horne and now we need to get ‘Rock’ in there.”
Earlier in January, my editor at CBC Sports, Doug Harrison, enjoyed a candid interview with Larry Walker, after the Maple Ridge, B.C. native again fell well short of election into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. You can read Doug’s interview with Walker here: http://www.cbc.ca/sports/baseball/opinion/2012/01/qa-larry-walker-on-his-hall-of-fame-snub.html
The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame will announce their 2012 inductees on February 7. I’ll have detailed coverage on this site. Stay tuned also to the Hall’s website for updates: http://baseballhalloffame.ca/