My weekly observations about stories around the baseball world from a Canadian perspective (Please follow me on Twitter: @kevinglewsports):
– Congratulations to legendary Toronto Sun columnist and Canadian Baseball Network founder Bob Elliott who has been elected to the Kingston & District Sports Hall of Fame. His induction into his hometown sports shrine comes a year after he received the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s prestigious J.G. Taylor Spink Award and two years after being honoured with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Jack Graney Award.
– I’m not sure what’s more depressing: the Toronto Blue Jays’ 10-18 start or the fact that Mark DeRosa, a veteran, but little-used utility player on the club, had to be the one to call a players-only meeting on Sunday. It’s time for one of the regulars (paging Jose Bautista) to step up in the leadership department.
– This is the world we live in now: I woke up yesterday to Blue Jays prospect Marcus Stroman’s mom wishing her son a Happy Birthday on Twitter.
– Think things are bad for the Blue Jays? The 8-20 Florida Marlins had Greg Dobbs and Justin Ruggiano hitting third and fourth in their order last night.
– Very sad to hear about the death of two-time Toronto Blue Jays draftee and Newmarket, Ont., native Jake Eliopoulos on Monday. No cause of death was released, but the 21-year-old hurler’s obituary asks for donations to the Canadian Mental Health Association. If you remember back to 2009, Eliopoulos was selected in the second round (68th overall) by the Jays, but declined to accept the club’s offer of a reported $500,000 signing bonus. His baseball fortunes declined from there. He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 15th round in 2010 and then by the Jays again in the 43rd round in 2011, but he didn’t sign with either club. He reportedly spent last summer pitching for the Michigan Jet Box, a travel team from the Detroit area, but Tommy John surgery had sidelined him this season.
– I was also saddened to hear about the death of former Vancouver Canadians reliever Brad Lesley on Saturday at the age of 54. A 1978 first-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds, the 6-foot-6 right-hander spent parts of four seasons in the big league with the Reds and the Milwaukee Brewers from 1982 to 1985. He pitched portions of his final two professional seasons in North America with the Brewers’ Triple-A affiliate in Vancouver, posting 17 saves as the Canadians’ closer in 1985. Lesley toed the rubber in Japan before embarking on an acting career that saw him star in sports movies like Mr. Baseball and Little Big League. Reports indicate that he died of kidney failure.
– After being shelled for seven runs in eight innings in nine appearances this season, former Jay Marc Rzepczynski was demoted to the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds by the St. Louis Cardinals on Monday. Rzepczynski (whose nickname is “Scrabble” because of his lengthy last name) was the last remaining player on the Cards’ roster from the July 27, 2011 trade that saw the Blue Jays land Colby Rasmus.
– Speaking of ex-Jays left-handers, both Brian Tallet (Lancaster Barnstormers) and Rommie Lewis (York Revolution) have chosen to continue their professional careers in the independent Atlantic League.
– If you were wondering what happened to Tim Scott, a reliable reliever on the 1994 Montreal Expos, here’s an excellent piece about what he’s doing now.
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