HTTN continues its in-depth series on the WBC roster
– by David Kloepfer
Team Canada’s first game of the World Baseball Classic is just over two weeks away, as they take the field March 8 to play Italy.
Over the last few weeks we’ve dissected Team Canada’s pitching staff and infield. Today, we’ll pull back the curtains on the outfield. Be brave, readers. Be brave.
Adam Loewen (b. April 9, 1984 in “Better Safe Than” Surrey, B.C.)
Loewen played three seasons in the Blue Jays organization before spending 2012 with the Mets’ AAA squad – the Buffalo Bisons. Hopefully he enjoyed his time there, because the Jays added both Loewen and the Bisons to their organization in the offseason.
A pitcher until 2008, Loewen made the transition to the outfield after a stress-fracture in his elbow ended his career on the mound.
He had a strong 2011 season with the Las Vegas 51s, hitting .396 with 17HR in 585 plate appearances. He then spent part of 2012 on the minor league DL before spending the rest of the season with the Bisons (59G .227/.328/.391 8HR).
Loewen received an invite to spring training with the Jays in Dunedin where he’ll vie for a spot on the big-league club. The outfield’s already crowded, and there’s an outside shot he outplays Cooper for 1B honours, but I highly doubt we’ll see Loewen outside of Buffalo to start the season.
Wait a minute–I’m supposed to be talking about Team Canada here. Meh, whatever. Go Jays!
Michael Saunders (b. Nov. 16, 1986 in Victoria, B.C.)
Saunders has bounced between AAA and the Mariners’ big league club for the last three or four years, but was one of the highlights on offense for the Mariners in 2012.
Mariners. Highlights. Offense. Words that do not go together.
Nonetheless, Saunders was one of the better hitters in their lineup, with an .738 OPS, 19 home runs, and 21 stolen bases.
The Mariners are terrible.
Rene Tosoni (b. July 2, 1986 in Toronto, Ont.)
Tosoni had the privilege of being drafted twice by the Minnesota Twins, first in the 34th round of the 2004 draft (he didn’t sign) and again in the 36th round of the 2005 draft.
Tosoni was the MVP of the 2009 Futures Game, where he played alongside current Mariners catcher Jesus Montero and Team Canada roster-mate Brett Lawrie. Maybe they’re “bros” or something.
He didn’t do much in 60 games for the Twins in 2011, but so what. Give a kid a break.
Tyson Gillies (b. Oct. 31, 1988 in Vancouver, B.C.)
Where do I start with Gillies?
No, seriously. Where do I start with this guy? I have no idea who he is.
Gillies got drafted by the Mariners, but wound up in Philly as part of the trade that included Roy Halladay and Cliff Lee. Jays fans can blame Tyson for losing Doc, as he was the integral part of the deal.
We’ll probably take a break from the World Baseball Classic stuff because the Jays are back in camp. Dickey’s throwing, Bautista says his wrist feels great, and Buhrle’s close enough to his pit bulls to not psychologically implode.
I’m already excited to see Morrow throw and can’t wait to see Johnson and Reyes in Jays uniforms for a game, even if it’s a completely meaningless Grapefruit League match (first game: Orioloes, February 24th)