My weekly opinions, observations and rants about some Canadian baseball stories (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
Toronto Sun baseball columnist Bob Elliott had hinted to me before he made his acceptance speech for the J.G. Taylor Spink Award in Cooperstown on July 21 that he’d be doing some lobbying in his address. And he didn’t disappoint. During his speech, the history-making Canadian scribe said that Jack Morris, Tim Raines and Larry Walker were all worthy of a plaque in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
When Tim McCarver, this year’s Ford C. Frick Award winner honoured along with Elliott in Cooperstown last Saturday, was speaking, it reminded me that he was once considered for a broadcasting gig with the Toronto Blue Jays. According to the late Tom Cheek in his book “Road to Glory,” McCarver was one of the analysts the Jays considered before hiring Hall of Fame hurler Early Wynn to be Cheek’s partner in 1977.
I can’t understand why Georgetown, Ont., native Shawn Hill hasn’t received a big league call-up from the Jays. I can’t think of anyone in the organization who would be more effective in the inning-eating, long relief role than the Canadian right-hander. In seven starts in Triple-A Las Vegas, Hill is 5-0 with a 4.60 ERA. And before you knock his ERA, keep in mind that he’s pitching in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League and the Jays just promoted Joel Carreno who owns a gaudy 8.92 ERA in that same circuit.
Speaking of Triple-A Las Vegas, I was surprised to see nine-year big leaguer Nate Robertson on the club’s pitching staff. The Jays apparently inked the veteran left-hander, who won 13 games with the Tigers in 2006, to a minor league deal on July 14. Robertson last pitched in the big leagues in 2010.
If you’re a diamond fan and you’re not already upset enough that baseball is no longer an Olympic sport, I bring you more bad news. Nine of the next 10 Blue Jays games have been bumped to Sportsnet One – a station that thousands of Canadians don’t receive in their regular cable package.
With J.P. Arencibia out with a broken hand and Travis d’Arnaud sidelined with a knee injury, the Jays should offer Scarborough, Ont., native George Kottaras a contract. Designated for assignment by the Milwaukee Brewers earlier this week, the Canuck backstop, owner of an impressive .409 on-base percentage this season, would be an experienced stop-gap behind the plate for the Jays.
David Lennon of Newsday is reporting that former Blue Jay and Montreal Expo Miguel Batista has signed with the Atlanta Braves. The 41-year-old right-hander was released by the New York Mets yesterday.