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Play Ball 2006! Baseball Nova Scotia

  • June 23, 2006

In the eighth of 10 provincial association profiles, Baseball Canada speaks with Baseball Nova Scotia Executive Director Brad Lawlor about the 2006 season.

BASEBALL CANADA (BCAN) – In no particular order, what five initiatives are you looking forward to the most for the 2006 baseball season?

1. Baseball Canada National Convention

BRAD LAWLOR (BL) – The National convention is going to be held at the Delta Halifax November 1 to 5 and it’s something that we haven’t done for a long time so we’re going to try to make it a memorable event for everybody. We’re going to try to make it a more interactive event that it may have been in the past. Firstly we’ll look to get Baseball Canada’s high performance coaches involved by working with some of the kids and maybe even having access a Question and Answer Period with Ernie Whitt, our guest speaker, or Greg Hamilton.

We have some special events planned already in large part due to our committee, which has been at it for the last six months. We’re looking at holding a family day where the spouses and children of those who are in meetings will have activities to do during the day. It’ll give everybody the opportunity to come to this event, enjoy it and not be stressed with other things.

We’re really trying to entice people to bring their families and make the event about more than just meetings. For example, we have Casino Nova Scotia involved who is going to give out some tokens and have a Casino night.  We’re also looking at getting involved with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League to see if box seats would be available at that time. We’re also looking at arranging something with the “Harbour Hopper” which sails around the harbour and allows people to see the sights the east coast has to offer.

BCAN - What was the process in securing National Senior Team Field Manager and Toronto Blue Jays Bench Coach Ernie Whitt as this year’s guest speaker?

BL – We contacted him over a year and a half ago to invite him to our Baseball Nova Scotia Awards Banquet last year and he said that he would have absolutely loved to be able to come, but that the timing was bad because he had previous engagements. We just called him again and he said he would be delighted to come.

He has such a great passion for Canadian baseball and he’s extremely well known down in this area. A lot of that has to do with his playing days with the Jays, but also with the amount of exposure he’s gotten by coaching the Olympic team in 2004 and the World Baseball Classic this past March.

2. Rally Cap Program

BL – We’ve run out of hats and can’t get anymore. That’s how popular this program is. The associations that have picked it up are doing a great job with the program and they’re seeing the benefits in the way that other kids are trying to join their association.  The associations that aren’t taking part in the program yet are seeing this and are in the process of catching up. I think the majority of the associations in Nova Scotia, especially in the mainland, will be participating in the Rally Cap Program by 2007.

We were a little slow in getting the word out for the first year of the program, but now that it’s out there and that people know about it, there have been a lot of requests. We know it’s one of these programs that will assist us in maintaining and generating membership. It’s a well-structured program that runs on one-hour time frames and focuses on development and fun. That’s exactly what people want.

That one-hour time frame is huge because there isn’t another program in baseball that offers it. There are a lot of delays in baseball, especially at that level. They’re getting the technical skills the development and the teachings in a wide array of aspects of the game in an extremely fun and productive environment.

3. Winterball/Blastball Program

BL  - This is another program that really caught big time last year. We’re seeing a lot of benefits from this right now and every year we get the kits we sell out of them quickly.

There are couple of associations that have come back to us with some extremely positive news. One of these, the Fall River Area, had about 200 kids in their system two years ago prior to introducing the Winterball program. After incorporating the Winterball Program and Blastball kits into their schools two years ago, there are now over the 300 mark. There’s another area in Cape Breton that has seen an increase of 67 members over the last year, with only one kit.

We’re hearing from the gym teachers that the kids are really liking the game of baseball and asking questions about how they can get involved in the sport. And that again goes back to the fact that Winterball is a fun program. The honking base and the variety of games you can play with the kit really bring out the fun in the game and at the same time exposes the kids to the basic skills that they need.

The gym teachers absolutely love it because the entire program is just laid out so well. They get their practice plans for the different levels, the instructional video that comes with the kits, plus all the kids get their participant guides, so right off the bat it becomes an interactive and engaging experience.

4.  Boundary Changes

BL – Our boundaries at Baseball Nova Scotia haven’t been changed in a really long time so we had to re-evaluate how our districts and regions were zoned. As a result, we started a project pilot this year that aims at better defining the boundaries, protect the small associations to promote growth and keep kids in their area. People in those associations are working very hard to build their associations so we’re trying to build some sort of sustainability around them.

We’re also trying to get more kids the opportunity to compete at the provincial level, so we’ve expanded our number of regions, so that there are now fewer teams in each region. As a result these teams will have a greater chance of getting to the provincials. The provincial is such a great tournament that we want to expose more kids to the event.

In addition to that we incorporated a recreational (R) division two years ago. We now have a provincial ® tournament in Mosquito, Peewee and Bantam. These are true house league teams that are playing in house leagues all year round. It gives these house league teams an equal opportunity to participate in a provincial tournament, which is a really positive experience.

5. Coaching Development

BL – We’re really trying to think outside of the box as far as developing coaches is concerned and that means looking beyond just getting them certified. We’re in the process of creating a business plan for coaching development in our province and we’re looking at the possibility of introducing a number of initiatives that could help.

For example, we’re looking at having high-performance coaches come in and hold clinics where less experienced coaches could learn new drills, practice plans and other things that could help them along. There wouldn’t be any extra certification attached to these clinics, but it would certainly help improve the quality of coaching across the board.

We’re going to try to monitor our coaches more closely and more effectively to ensure that they everything they need in order to coach in addition trying to get more people involved in coaching. We want to make sure that we have the resources available for them. We’d like to have a more complete library of materials here at the office or at least be able to point coaches in the right direction to find what they’re looking for.

Coming up!

Play Ball 2006! P.E.I. Amateur Baseball Association
Play Ball 2006! Baseball Newfoundland

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Canadian Trio Headed to MLB Futures Game

  • June 22, 2006

Led by hall of famer Ferguson Jenkins (Chatam, Ont.) as the World Team’s manager, first baseman Joey Votto (Mississauga, Ont.) and catcher George Kottaras (Markham, Ont.) will compete against the United States Team at the Major League Baseball Futures game, July 9.

The Futures Game, which will be held in conjunction with the Major League Baseball All-Star game festivities at PNC park in Pittsburgh, will feature 50 of the top prospects in baseball as identified by MLB, MLB clubs and Baseball America.

Votto, a two-time Baseball Canada national team member and Cincinnati Reds prospect, is batting .315 with 14 homeruns, 46 RBI, 23 doubles and 33 walks in 72 games with the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts this season.  The 6’3”, 220-pound 22-year old represented Canada at the 2005 World Cup of Baseball and the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier, being selected to the all-star team in both tournaments.

Kottaras, one of three Canadian catchers playing in the San Diego Padres system, is batting .273 with 8 homeruns, 17 doubles, 27 RBI and 31 runs scored for the Double-A Mobile Baybears. Early in his professional career while playing Single-A baseball for the Fort Wayne Wizards in 2004, Kottaras, who has Greek ancestry, joined the Greek National Baseball Team at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games.

Jenkins is the only Canadian to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The 1971 National League Cy Young Award winner and three-time all-star, finished in the top-10 in wins nine times over his 19-year career with the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, Texas Rangers and Boston Red Sox from 1965 to 1983. He ranks 11th all time in strikeouts (3192), 21st in Games started (594), 21st in shutouts (49), 26th in innings pitched (4500.7) and 27th in wins (284).

All three Canadians who played in the Futures Game in Detroit last year, were called up to the Major Leagues this season – Russell Martin by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Adam Loewen by the Baltimore Orioles and Scott Mathieson by the Philadelphia Phillies. In fact every Canadian ever to be selected to the Futures game has gone on to log time in the Major Leagues.

Canadians to have played in the MLB Futures Game

1999: Chris Mears (Ottawa, Ont.), Aaron Myette (New Westminster, B.C.)

2000: Aaron Myette

2001: Erik Bedard (Navan, Ont.)

2002: Erik Bedard, Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.)

2003: Rich Harden (Victoria, B.C.), Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.), Pierre-Luc Laforest (Hull, Qué.), Scott Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.)

2004: Justin Morneau, Jeff Francis (North Delta, B.C.)

2005: Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.), Scott Mathieson (Aldergrove, B.C.), Russell Martin (Chelsea, Qué.)

 

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Braves Call on Thorman to Make Major League Debut

  • June 19, 2006

Five-time Baseball Canada national team member and Atlanta Braves power prospect Scott Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.) became the 21st Canadian to play in the major leagues this season, Sunday, against the Boston Red Sox.

Thorman, who was hitting .324 with 15 homeruns and 44 RBI in 66 games with the Triple-A Richmond Braves, made his major league debut in left field for Atlanta – only the 10th start at that position this season for the projected first baseman.

“You never know how you are going to feel when you find out,” said Thorman. “I was very relaxed and excited. It feels like the right thing.”

What made things even more special for Thorman, was making his first big-league start on Father’s day and dedicating the game to his father, the man who introduced him to baseball and who passed away when Thorman was only 12 years old.

“It’s the best father’s day I could give my family,” said Thorman.

Thorman has been a key player in Baseball Canada’s national team programs since 2000 when he played for Canada’s National Junior Team. He has also represented Canada at the 2001 World Cup of Baseball, the 2003 America’s Olympic Qualifier, the 2005 CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier and the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

The 6’3”, 235-pound Thorman, who was selected by the Braves 30th overall in the first round of the 2000 Major League Baseball entry draft, was also this year’s Baseball Canada Jimmy Rattlesnake Award recipient in recognition of his outstanding contributions and leadership on Canada’s national senior team.

Thorman went 0-for-4 with one strikeout in his debut as the Braves lost 10-7 to the Red Sox.

 

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Modern-day Record 21 Canadians in Major Leagues

  • June 19, 2006

Back in the year 1884, when saline infusion replaced milk as a blood substitute, Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourn won the pitching "Triple Crown" with 59 wins, 441 strikeouts and 1.38 an ERA, and a record 29 Canadians played in the major leagues.

When Scott Thorman (Cambridge, Ont.) suited up for the Atlanta Braves last night, he became the 21st Canadian to suit up for a major league club this season – a modern-day record and the most in any one season since 1884.

Thorman, who went hitless in his debut (not uncommon when facing future hall-of-famer Curt Schilling), also became the 225th Canuck to toil at the big league level.

On Saturday, Scott Mathieson (Aldergrove, B.C.) took the mound for the Philadelphia Phillies, becoming number 224 overall.

Earlier this season, Russell Martin (Chelsea, Qué.) and Adam Loewen (Surrey, B.C.) were called up by the Los Angeles Dodgers and Baltimore Orioles respectively, taking their place in history as numbers 222 and 223.

With Jeff Zimmerman (Carsland, Alta.) hoping to return from a prolonged stint on the disable list, and promising Canadians like Steve Green (Longueuil, Qué), Maxim St. Pierre (Québec, Qué.), Eric Langill (Kirkland, Qué), Mike Meyers (London, Ont.), Pierre Luc Laforest (Hull, Qué.), and Luke Carlin (Aylmer, Qué.) excelling in Triple-A, these numbers are bound to increase.

The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame has received Martin's cleats and Loewen's hat from their first major league games, and is in the process of securing game-used items from the debut’s of Mathieson and Thorman.

"Canada's provincial and national team programs are certainly doing an excellent job these days in identifying and developing top prospects, but this surge is also related to the high times Canada was experiencing in the early 1990's," said Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum president and CEO Tom Valcke.

"Kids tend to quit baseball when they are 11 or 12 years old, but there was strong grass roots interest that overcame that tendency back then due to success Canadian baseball was having when the Blue Jays were winning a pair of World Series, the Expos had the best team in baseball in the strike-shortened season (1994), Canada won its first World Championship at the IBAF World Junior Championship in Brandon, Man. In 1991, and baseball became an official Olympic medal sport in 1992.

“In addition, the National Baseball Institute (Vancouver) and Académie Baseball Canada (Montréal) were also taking off at that time.  The young men we're seeing arrive in the majors now were the young boys ten to 15 years ago who decided to stick with baseball."

Canadians who have played in the majors in 2006:

Jason Bay, Trail, B.C. - Pittsburgh Pirates
Erik Bedard, Navan, Ont. - Baltimore Orioles
Jesse Crain, Toronto, Ont. - Minnesota Twins
Rheal Cormier, Moncton, N.B. - Philadelphia Phillies
Aaron Guiel, Vancouver, B.C. - Kansas City Royals
Ryan Dempster, Sechelt, B.C. - Chicago Cubs
Jeff Francis, North Delta, B.C. - Colorado Rockies
Eric Gagné, Massouche, Qué. - Los Angeles Dodgers
Rich Harden, Victoria, B.C. - Oakland Athletics
Shawn Hill, Georgetown, Ont. - Washington Nationals
Corey Koskie, Anola, Man. - Milwaukee Brewers
Adam Loewen, Surrey, B.C. - Baltimore Orioles
Russell Martin, Chelsea, Qué - Los Angeles Dodgers
Scott Mathieson, Aldergrove, B.C. - Philadelphia Phillies
Justin Morneau, New Westminster, B.C. - Minnesota Twins
Peter Orr, Newmarket, Ont. - Atlanta Braves
Chris Reitsma, Calgary, Alta. - Atlanta Braves
Matt Stairs, Fredericton, N.B. - Kansas City Royals
Adam Stern, Port Stanley, Ont. - Boston Red Sox
Mark Teahen - Kansas City Royals
Scott Thorman, Cambridge, Ont. - Atlanta Braves

Number of Canadians who have played in the major leagues, by season:

Year- Total
1884 - 29
1900 - 0
1910 - 9
1920 - 5
1930 - 2
1940 - 5
1950 - 6
1960 - 5
1970 - 8
1980 - 8
1990 - 7
2000 - 17
2001 - 15
2002 - 16
2003 - 14
2004 - 19
2005 – 19
2006 - 21 (so far)

SOURCE: Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

 

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Mathieson Set to Make Major League Debut

  • June 16, 2006

Reports indicate that four-time Baseball Canada National Team member and Philadelphia Phillies prospect Scott Mathieson (Aldergrove, B.C.), will make his first major league start, Saturday, against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.

“It was one of the best days of my life so far,” Mathieson told mlb.com reporter Ken Mandel. “It’s something you wait your whole life for. I thought about it. I’ve dreamt about it. It’s really happening.”

The 6’3”, 190-pound 22-year old right-handed pitcher will be the third Canadian to make his major league debut this year and like fellow British Columbia native Adam Loewen, now with the Baltimore Orioles, Mathieson will skip Triple A baseball on his way to the big leagues.

In Double A Reading, this season, Mathieson led the Eastern League with 95 strikeouts in 85.2 innings of work, while giving up 67 hits and posting a 3.05 ERA on route to a 6-2 record. He struck out 11 batters on two separate occasions and has displayed tremendous control for a power-pitcher, tossing only one wild pitch in 13 starts and posting a miniscule WHIP* of 1.07.

A 17th round Phillies draft pick in 2002, Mathieson also played for Canada’s 2002 National Junior Team, before joining the National Senior Team in 2005 for the Baseball World Cup and the CONCEBE Baseball Regional Olympic Qualifier.

More recently, Mathieson contributed in Canada’s upset of the United States, throwing a hitless eighth inning at the World Baseball Classic’s U.S. Eh! game, and setting Steve Green up for the save and an 8-6 victory.

Mathieson is set to become the 20th Canadian to play Major League Baseball this season.

* Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched

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Play Ball 2006! Baseball New Brunswick

  • June 14, 2006

In the seventh of 10 provincial association profiles, Baseball Canada speaks with Baseball New Brunswick Executive Director Jason Dickson about the 2006 season.

BASEBALL CANADA (BCAN) – In no particular order, what five initiatives are you looking forward to the most for the 2006 baseball season?

1. Rally Cap Program

JASON DICKSON (JD) – Our biggest initiative is to increase our registration numbers from last year. That begins with the Rally Cap Program which is a program that moves away from the traditional methods of instruction. I think that a lot of coaches that get in at that level are kind of unsure of what to do. The Rally Cap Program helps teach the kids specific skills sets and provide them with constant positive reinforcement.

2. Blue Jays Clinic

JD – In keeping with trying to increase our numbers we’ll be welcoming four Toronto Blue Jays Clinics, which travels around four cities throughout the province (Fredericton, Moncton, St. John and Miramichi) in July and August. There will be around 75 to 80 kids at each clinic and they’ll receive professional instruction and coaching from current or former Blue Jays players and staff.

The province was able to host the clinic two years ago and we’ve seen that it draws a lot of interest out here. Obviously people get to watch them on TV all the time, but it makes things pretty special when they travel out to the east coast and people get to see them in person. It’s a huge thing for these kids because they get pretty excited when they see that uniform.

3. Super Clinic

JD  - We are hosting the annual Super Clinic in December, so we’re in the process of getting things set up for that event. The Super Clinic presents a good opportunity for coaches in this area, who haven’t been able to travel, to get their Level 3 certification.

The Super Clinic really draws more attention to the coaching world and people are more likely to get involved with coaching as a result. Obviously with the new National Coaching Certification Program and the online registration it’s a lot easier now for people to get into coaching and this clinic can really build on that.

You’re obviously always trying to recruit new players, be we have to understand that it’s equally important to continue to recruit coaches.

BCAN – The Super Clinic offers coaches a wealth of insight into the finer points of the game, from hitting fundamentals to situational team defence. What will be one of this year’s main points of focus?

JD – This year we’ll try to do something different and couple in some player development clinics. We might even bring in a group of young players to give the coaches the opportunity to put into practice what they’re learning on site. It’s also an opportunity for some of these players to get a different perspective on the game. It’s great for them to get exposure to minor league coaches, somebody from Baseball Canada and other baseball people.

BCAN – With both the Blue Jays Clinics and the Super Clinic happening in the same year in New Brunswick, how excited are you about how these events can help generate interest in the sport in your province?

JD – From both the player’s standpoint and the coach’s standpoint we’re going to get two of the best opportunities to make a push to get people more interested in baseball.  That’s very exciting.

4.  Winterball

JD – We had another really successful year of Winterball this year. We ordered an additional 26 kits and got them into the schools and, surprisingly enough, in some of these places it was the first time that kids were really introduced to baseball.

We’ve got a couple of associations that have popped up again and that are looking to make resurgence into baseball, which is always a positive thing. That all goes back to the Winterball kits – They’re really useful to jog your memory.

Winterball is a well-written and well-planned program that’s really easy to implement into the daily programs within the school systems.  If this is a way to steal some time during the school day where kids are thinking about baseball and playing baseball during school hours, it’s like an extra practice. Seeing as we are somewhat weather shortened, Winterball Kits are really important to us.

5. Atlantic Championship

JD – Last year, due to a few reasons, we ended up dropping our Atlantic Championships. We were talking about taking a year off, but after speaking with some of the different teams, especially at the intermediate level, it appears as though there’s great interest so it’s something we’re looking to jump into once again.

For some of those intermediate teams that don’t head to the nationals, we’d like to give them something beyond the provincial finals.

Coming up!

Play Ball 2006! Baseball Nova Scotia
Play Ball 2006! P.E.I. Amateur Baseball Association
Play Ball 2006! Baseball Newfoundland

 

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21 National Junior Team Players Selected in Draft

  • June 08, 2006

More than half of the Canadians selected in the 2006 Major League Baseball entry draft, Tuesday and Wednesday, are current or former Baseball Canada National Junior Team members.

Of the 38 Canadians selected, 21 have donned the red and white in National Junior Team programs including the MLB Fall Instructional League, the National Junior Team Spring Training Camp, the National Junior Team Dominican Republic Tour as well as the World Junior AAA Championships and its qualifying tournament.

Twelve of the top 13 Canadians selected fall into the category, including current National Junior Team athletes Kyle Orr, Jonathan Waltenbury, Shayne Willson, Chase Larsson, Mehdi Djebbar, Kyle Gilligan, Matt McCarney, Tyson Gillies and Drew Parker.

Click here for a complete list of Canadians selected in the 2006 MLB draft as well as breakdowns by clubs and provincial representation.

 

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Willson, Larsson Round out Junior Team Members Selected in First Day of MLB Draft

  • June 07, 2006

Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C.) and Chase Larsson (Vancouver, B.C.) brought the count of Baseball Canada National Junior Team members selected on the first day of the Major League Baseball draft up to four, Tuesday.

Willson, a 6’3”, 192 pound outfielder was selected in the 16th round (486th overall) by the Minnesota Twins while Larsson, a 6’2”, 190 pound left-handed hitting outfielder was selected by the Kansas City Royals in the 18th round (527th overall).

With plus-power, a compact swing and an above average arm, Willson projects well as a corner outfielder or corner infielder at the professional level.

Boasting an advanced hitting approach for a high school hitter, Larsson is capable of putting up good offensive numbers against both left-handed and right-handed pitchers. He is praised for his balance and discipline at the plate as well as his speed on the bases for his size.

In all, seven Canadians were selected on Day 1 of the Major League Baseball entry draft.

*Kyle Orr (Victoria, B.C.)  -  4th Round (113th)  -  Los Angeles Dodgers
*Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.)  -  7th Round (210th)  -  Minnesota Twins
Jonathan Baksh (Mississauga, Ont.)  -  7th Round (216th)  -  Toronto Blue Jays
Jimmy Van Ostrand (Richmond, B.C.)  -  8th Round (249th)  -  Houston Astros
Chris Toneguzzi (Thunder Bay, Ont.)  -  13th Round (392nd)  -  Milwaukee Brewers
*Shayne Willson (Surrey, B.C.)  -  16th Round (486th)  -  Minnesota Twins
*Chase Larsson (Vancouver, B.C.)  -  18th Round (527th)  -  Kansas City Royals

The draft, which lasts 50 rounds, continues, Wednesday.

* Denotes Baseball Canada National Junior Team member.

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Dodgers Select Orr as Top Canadian in MLB Draft

  • June 06, 2006

Kyle Orr (Victoria, B.C.) was the first Canadian to be selected in the 2006 Major League Baseball entry draft, today, being chosen with the seventh pick in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

“I hear the Dodgers organization is great for minor-leaguers and they’ve been really good to me along the way,” said the 17-year-old Lambrick Park Secondary School student who worked out at Dodger Stadium last week. “It’s just an honour because there are a lot of quality people over there.”

A projected power hitter, Orr played a key role in helping the Canadian National Junior Team earn a third place finish at the World Junior AAA Championship qualifier last September. His offensive skills will once again be called upon when Team Canada travels to the World Championship in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Sept. 17-27.

"Kyle brings a tremendous presence to the middle of our lineup as well an outstanding leadership abilities on and off the playing field," said Baseball Canada's junior national team head coach, Greg Hamilton.

The 6’5”, 205-pound Orr, who brings a left-handed bat to the lineup, has shown plenty of versatility in the past, playing four separate positions and being used as a designated hitter for the Canadian National Junior Team.

Orr becomes the third Canadian in the Dodgers’ system, joining fellow Baseball Canada national team alumni Eric Gagné (Massouche, Qué.) and Russell Martin (Chelsea, Qué.) as well as catcher Eric Langill (Kirkland, Qué.) who is currently playing for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s.

“It’s definitely good knowing that there are others that have made it in your position,” Orr said of Canadian connections in Los Angeles.

Orr, who has singed a letter of commitment to attend Kentucky University, has not yet decided whether he will sign with the Dodgers right away or opt to play for the Wildcats in Lexington, KY this fall.

“I haven’t decided yet so we’ll see what happens,” he said. “I’m just kind of taking all of this in right now to make sure I make the right decision.”

 

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Waltenbury Drafted by Twins

  • June 06, 2006

Baseball Canada National Junior Team first baseman and outfielder Jonathan Waltenbury (Bowmanville, Ont.) was the third Canadian selected in today’s MLB entry draft, going in the seventh round (216th overall) to the Minnesota Twins.

“I’m very happy with the Minnesota Twins,” said Waltenbury. “They have my favourite player (Justin Morneau) and when I was there during the pre-draft camp it just seemed like it was a good fit.”

Waltenbury, a 6’3, 210-pound 17-year-old, has been one of the hottest hitters on Baseball Canada’s national junior team training circuit this year.

“If I don’t go down to the Fall Instructional League and Spring Training in Florida and put up fairly decent numbers, I don’t think I’d be in the situation I am now,” he said.

His numbers were more than ‘fairly decent’.

Against Major League Baseball instructional teams and collegiate competition at the team’s spring training camp in Orlando Florida in April, Waltenbury posted a .444 average with five doubles, three walks and a homerun in 30 at bats.

Last October, in Fall Instructional action, Waltenbury hit for a team-leading .421 average.

“He’s an excellent high school hitter who has the potential to go on and have a successful Major League career,” said Baseball Canada’s national junior team head coach Greg Hamilton. “We wish him all the best and hope he’ll join us in the pursuit of a World Junior Championship in September.”

The Henry Street High School student joins two other Canadians in the Twins’ system including former national team member Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) and right-handed pitcher Adam Hawes (Victoria Harbour, Ont.) who is currently throwing for the Single-A Beloit Snappers.

 

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