Ex-Blue Jays News: Drury, Hinske, McGuire, Nay

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

My weekly roundup of former Toronto Blue Jays news and notes:

Player Signings

(Some of these transactions date back to December.)

RHP Chase De Jong (Blue Jays’ 2012 second-round pick) signs a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

INF/OF Brandon Drury signs a minor league deal with the New York Mets. He will reportedly be paid $1.55 million if he cracks the big league roster this season, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. With bonuses, he has a chance to make $2.05 million.

INF Christian Lopes (Blue Jays’ 2011 seventh-round pick) signs a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

RHP Deck McGuire signs with the Rakuten Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

1B/3B Mitch Nay (Blue Jays’ 2012 first round (supplementary) pick) signs a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

Coaches

– Arizona Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo (first base coach for the Blue Jays in 2011 and 2012) has announced that former Blue Jays Dave McKay (first base coach, from Vancouver, B.C.), Darnell Coles (hitting coach) and Eric Hinske (assistant hitting coach) will return to the D-Backs staff in 2021.

-Philadelphia Phillies manager Joe Girardi announced that Bobby Meacham, who managed class-A, double-A and triple-A clubs in the Blue Jays’ organization from 2013 to 2019, will return as a coaching assistant. Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Rob Thomson (Corunna, Ont.) will also be back as Girardi’s bench coach.

Happy Birthday!

Happy 51st Birthday to Ajax, Ont., native, former Toronto Blue Jays prospect, ex-big leaguer and Nippon Ham Fighters superstar Nigel Wilson!

“Nigel Wilson could hit balls about as far as anyone I’ve ever seen,” former Toronto Blue Jays reliever and Wilson’s ex-Dunedin Blue Jays teammate, Scott Brow, once told me. “I mean that guy would hit balls in Dunedin that would carry over the light stand and then disappear into the darkness and you’re like, ‘How far did that go?’ Like literally how far did that ball go? 500 or 600 feet? Because that ball was still climbing when it went over the light stand.”

Canadian Baseball Photo of the Week

Baseball Canada recently shared this great photo of three Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductees at workout day at Rogers Centre during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. From left to right: Larry Walker (Maple Ridge, B.C.), Paul Beeston (Welland, Ont.) and Tommy Lasorda. Photo: Baseball Canada

Mark Eichhorn, a shortstop?

I was doing some research and discovered that 42 years ago this past Saturday when Mark Eichhorn was selected in the 1979 January amateur draft by the Blue Jays he was considered a shortstop (See clipping below). As far as I can tell, he never played shortstop in a game in the Blue Jays’ system and, as we know, he eventually developed a sidearm delivery that made him one of the best middle relievers in the franchise’s history.

This is from the January 10, 1979 edition of the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Published by cooperstownersincanada

Kevin Glew is a professional writer based in London, Ontario. His work has been featured on CBC Sports, Sportsnet.ca, MLB.com and Sympatico.ca. He has also written articles for Baseball Digest, Baseball America, The Hockey News, Sports Market Report and the Canadian Baseball Network. He has been involved with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for more than 16 years, including a two-year stint as the museum's acting curator.

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