Canadian baseball notes: Jenkins, Julien, O’Neill, Paxton, Quantrill

May 9, 2023

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Right-hander Cal Quantrill has found his 2022 form this month with the Cleveland Guardians.

On Sunday, the Port Hope, Ont., native allowed just one hit in seven scoreless innings to earn the win and lead the Guardians to a 2-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field.

His outstanding performance came on the heels of holding the New York Yankees to two runs in 7 1/3 innings in his previous start on May 1.

Since the beginning of the month, the Terriers and Junior National Team allowed has lowered his ERA from 5.40 to 3.89.

Paxton’s rehab assignment over, joins Red Sox

Left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) joined the Boston Red Sox on Monday when his 30-day rehab assignment ended, according to Chris Cotillo of The 34-year-old will be activated this week and is expected to start one of the Red Sox games against the St. Louis Cardinals on the weekend.

As noted in my column on Sunday, the Canuck southpaw recorded wins in his last two rehab starts with triple-A Worcester. Paxton has never pitched in a regular season game for the Red Sox and has not taken the mound in a major league game since exiting his spring training start on March 3 with a hamstring injury.

The veteran lefty, who had signed with the Red Sox prior to the 2022 season, exercised his $4-million option with the club in November. After undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2021, Paxton had been working his way back in the Sox system when he suffered a grade 2 lat tear in late August 2022 that shut him down for the season. A North Delta Blue Jays and Junior National Team alum, the 34-year-old southpaw has pitched in parts of nine major league campaigns and owns a 57-33 record and a 3.59 ERA in 137 starts.

O’Neill on 10-day injured list

St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) was placed on the 10-day injured list on Friday with a lower back strain. In 29 games this season, the Canuck slugger has batted .228 with two home runs and six RBIs.

O’Neill, a two-time Gold Glove Award winner in left field who starred for Canada at the World Baseball Classic in March, had moved to centre field to start this season. He is coming off an injury-riddled 2022 campaign that saw him miss time due to hamstring issues, neck stiffness, a wrist injury and shoulder soreness. In all, in 96 games, he batted .228 with 14 home runs and 58 RBIs.

A third-round pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2013, the Junior National Team and Langley Blaze grad played parts of five seasons in the M’s organization before being dealt to the Cardinals for left-hander Marco Gonzalez on July 21, 2017. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals in 2018. His finest campaign came in 2021 when he batted .286 with 34 home runs and had a .912 on-base plus slugging percentage (OPS).

Julien hot in triple-A

Edouard Julien (Quebec, Que.), who impressed at the World Baseball Classic and in his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins earlier this season, is making a case for another promotion. The left-handed hitting infielder has at least one hit in all six of his games with the triple-A St. Paul Saints this month. So far in May, he is 8-for-23 (.348 batting average). Five of those hits – two home runs and three doubles – have been for extra bases.

In all, in 21 games at triple-A this season, the Junior National Team alum has four home runs and 18 walks and owns a .417 on-base percentage and a .936 OPS.

Jenkins pays tribute to Vida Blue

When Canadian baseball legend Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) captured the National League Cy Young Award in 1971, it gave him great pride that he won it the same year as Vida Blue, who captured the American League honour. This represented the first time in major league history that a Black pitcher had taken home the honour in both leagues.

Jenkins became good friends with Blue, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 73. The left-handed throwing Blue was a six-time All-Star, who registered 209 wins and a 3.27 ERA in 502 games (479 starts) over parts of 17 major league seasons.

Jenkins paid tribute to Blue on Twitter on Sunday.

8 thoughts on “Canadian baseball notes: Jenkins, Julien, O’Neill, Paxton, Quantrill

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  1. Thanks Kevin. Terrific job, as always. Worth mentioning…Marco Gonzales played summer league ball for the Saskatoon YellowJackets before he was drafted in the first round.

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