My weekly look at some Canadian baseball stories:
– Call it the Cooperstowners in Canada jinx, but after I wrote about Burnaby, B.C., native Jim Adduci’s three-hit performance for the Texas Rangers in his club’s 12-0 victory on April 18, the 28-year-old Canadian was placed on the disabled list the following day. After his breakout game, it was discovered that he had fractured the little finger on his left hand when sliding into second base in the third inning. He’s eligible to come off the disabled list on May 4.
– Just how deceiving are baseball statistics this early in the season? Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) is on pace to hit .179 with 39 homers and 130 RBI if he plays in 162 games this year.
– Thirty-one years ago today, Nolan Ryan struck out Montreal Expos pinch-hitter Brad Mills in the eighth inning at Olympic Stadium to record his 3,509th career strikeout to break Walter Johnson’s 56-year-old strikeout record. It was one of five strikeouts that Ryan registered in pitching the Houston Astros to a 4-2 win over the Expos. Ryan would pitch 11 more seasons in the big leagues and finish with 5,714 strikeouts – that’s 839 more than Randy Johnson, who owns the second-most in big league history.
– Pete Rose, who recorded his 4000th career hit on April 13, 1984 during his short tenure with the Montreal Expos, will be making a rare Canadian appearance at the Sport Card Expo in Toronto next Sunday. For more details, check out this link.
– After Angels slugger Albert Pujols belted his 500th career homer on Tuesday, it begged the question who has Pujols hit the most home runs off of during his career? Before I could even look up the answer, Bill Young, co-author of two fine books about the Montreal Expos – Remembering the Montreal Expos and Ecstasy to Agony: The 1994 Montreal Expos, e-mailed me with the answer. Gibsons, B.C., native Ryan Dempster has permitted the most homers to Pujols. The Canuck right-hander has surrendered eight long balls to the all-star slugger.
– Speaking of the Montreal Expos, this week I learned that Youppi – the club’s beloved mascot – was created by the same person that designed Miss Piggy. Her name is Bonnie Erickson.
– It wasn’t a good week for Philadelphia Phillies outfield prospect Tyson Gillies. After striking out four times for the Triple-A Lehigh Valley Pigs on Thursday, the 25-year-old Vancouver native lost his temper and did a number on the club’s bat rack and dugout wall. He has been suspended for three games by the team. On Friday, Gillies apologized via Twitter: “I apologize to everyone for my actions and know this can’t happen. Frustration got the best of me and I threw my equipment against the wall.”
– It was a better week for Canadian right-hander Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.). The soon-to-be 33-year-old hurler, who was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays on March 25, was promoted from extended spring training to the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats and started Friday night’s game. In that contest, he limited to Reading Fightin’ Phils to four runs and five hits in six innings, but didn’t get a decision in the Cats’ eventual 11-10 win. Hill toed the rubber for the Detroit Tigers’ Triple-A Toledo Mudhens in 2013. His last big league appearance came with the Toronto Blue Jays on September 29, 2012.
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