My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
· At what point will Toronto Blue Jays fans start calling Emilio Bonifacio E4? As exciting as he has been offensively, he has been equally inept defensively at second base.
· Three Canadians played portions of the 1946 season with Jackie Robinson on the Montreal Royals: shortstop Stan Breard (Montreal, Que.), outfielder Clarence Groat (Brantford, Ont.) and pitcher Jean-Pierre Roy (Montreal, Que.).
· George Shuba, who’s still living, hit behind Robinson during the trailblazer’s first regular season game as a Royal on April 18, 1946 against the Jersey City Giants at Roosevelt Stadium in New Jersey. After Robinson clubbed his first professional home run in the third inning of that contest, Shuba shook Robinson’s hand at home plate. That handshake, which represented the first time a white teammate shook a black teammate’s hand during a professional game in the 20th century, was captured in a picture that’s now known as the “Handshake of the Century.” This photo is on display at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in St. Marys, Ont. Here’s an online link to the photo: http://www.walmart.com/ip/George-Shuba-Los-Angeles-Dodgers-045-Jackie-Robinson-Hand-Shake-045-Autographed-20×24-Photograph/11451534
· In case you missed it, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Miguel Batista to a minor league deal on Tuesday. Batista, who previously pitched for the Jays in 2004 and 2005, is one of 78 players to have suited up for both the Blue Jays and Montreal Expos. If Batista returns to the big leagues with the Jays this season, he will, by my count, become the first player to have played for both the Jays and Expos to have had multiple tenures with one of the Canadian teams.
· According to Canadian Baseball Network contributor, David Matchett, Chris Leroux (Mississauga, Ont.) and Russell Martin (Montreal, Que.) became the 12th Canadian battery in big league history during Wednesday’s contest between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks. For a complete list of Canadian batteries, you can read his article here: http://www.canadianbaseballnetwork.com/articles/leroux-martin-form-majors-12th-canadian-born-battery/
· Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos hasn’t had much luck with veteran catchers that he has acquired in the off-season then quickly flipped in another deal. If you remember, Anthopoulos landed Mike Napoli from the Angels in the Vernon Wells trade on January 21, 2011 and then dealt him to the Texas Rangers for Frank Francisco four days later. Napoli proceeded to hit .320 and belt 30 homers that season. Fast forward to November 29, 2012, Anthopoulos acquired backstop John Buck as part of a package of five players from the Miami Marlins, but less than a month later, he swapped Buck to the Mets in the R.A. Dickey deal. So far this season, Buck is batting .351 with six homers and 19 RBIs in 10 games.
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