Blue Jays add Jeff Beliveau on a MiLB deal

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TORONTO – A day removed from announcing a MiLB agreement with T.J. House, the Toronto Blue Jays added another left-handed hurler by inking Jeff Beliveau to a minor league pact that comes complete with an invite to spring training next February.

Beliveau, 29, hasn’t pitched in the Majors since getting in to five games with the Tampa Bay Rays before succumbing to a season-ending torn shoulder labrum in April of 2015.

Having appeared in only 58 big league games since breaking in with the Chicago Cubs in 2012, the 18th round draft pick has pitched to an overall ERA of 4.00 with a WHIP of 1.511 and a K/9 of 9.4 across 45 innings of work.

In 2016, the 6’1″ product of Rhode Island, NY posted a combined ERA of 2.54 with 66 strikeouts against 29 walks and only three home runs allowed over 49.2 frames between high-A Frederick and double-A Bowie.

Although Beliveau has limited left-handed batters to a combined OBA of .243 over 86 plate appearances in the Show, he’s struggled with control walking nine and hitting a pair over that sample sized showing.

With Brett Cecil out of the mix,Toronto will be looking to add another lefty to join Aaron Loup in the bullpen next season. Current candidates for that vacancy include House, Chad Girodo, Matt Dermody and, following Thursdays transaction, Beliveau.

-Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

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Blue Jays minor league catcher Mike Reeves named to ABL All-Star team

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This year’s Austrailian Baseball League All-Star game will feature a pair of Canadian imports as catcher Mike Reeves and outfielder Malik Collymore were named to the circuits World team on Wednesday.

Reeves, 26, recently completed his fourth year of affiliated ball by establishing new single-season highs in stolen bases (7), doubles (8) and home runs (3) over 53 games as a member fo the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2016.

Selected by Toronto in the 21st round of 2013’s June amateur draft, the Peterborough, ON native is currently hitting .309 with a team-best nine extra-base hits and an OPS of 1.003 through the Canberra Cavalry’s first 16 games of the season.

Collymore, 21, is a product of the Milwaukee Brewers organization who has combined to slash .254/.323/.362 across 184 minor league games since signing with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 10th round of 2013 draft.

Through 16 games with the Sydney Blue Sox, the product of Mississauga, ON, is leading the club in nearly every offensive category including stolen bases (6), hits (20), doubles (5), batting average (.333), home runs (3) and RBI with 15.

The ABL All-Star game pits the league’s top imported national players up against some of Australias most promising talent in an annual showcase down under.

Presented by Boral, this year’s event is scheduled to take place on December 22nd in Melbourne, VIC, and will be streamed live via ABLtv.com, the ESPNGO app and MLB.com.

– Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

Head Groundskeeper needed at historic Nat Bailey Stadium

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Vancouver vs. Portland at Capilano Stadium, 1956. (Photo via vancouversun.com)

Brooks Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, Tony Gwynn and Ken Griffey Jr.? These are just a few of the household names who kickstarted their professional careers with stops at the corner of Ontario and East 29th Ave in the heart of Vancouver’s Riley Park neighborhood.

Designed by local architect William Aitken, Capilano Stadium first opened it’s doors in the summer of 1951 and has been a staple on the Canadian sports landscape ever since.

Although the old yard has undergone many structured sets of renovations, a few coats of paint and one name change since its inaugural year in ’51, the park itself looks virtually identical to the way it did back in baseball’s golden age.

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Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium, 2016.

The preservation efforts put forth on this historic gem of a stadium have been headlined by many individuals over the Cap’s 65 years in operation, the most recent being John Stewart.

After cutting his teeth as a clubbie with the Greensville Astros of the Appalachian League, Stewart joined the Vancouver Canadians as the Visiting Clubhouse Attendant ahead of the 2016 campaign and was later promoted to Coordinator of Stadium and Clubhouse Operations come season’s end.

This winter, Stewart has been tasked with the responsibility of finding an individual who will tend to arguably the most important element of Vancouver’s throwback ballpark; the field itself.

Now accepting resume’s for a vacant Head Groundskeeper position with the Canadians, Stewart is in search of an individual who shares in his astute attention to detail, quality workmanship and overall passion for the game.

In order to considered for this position, applicants must have experience in the field and be either a Canadian citizen or be legally able to work in the country.

Since becoming an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, a handful of players including Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna, Kevin Pillar and the 2016 American League ERA champ Aaron Sanchez have called Nat Bailey home as they began to make their way up the professional baseball ladder.

Perhaps you can follow in their footsteps with a job at the Nat this summer.

Those interested in learning more about the position are asked to contact Stewart via email (jstewart@canadiansbaseball.com).

– Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

Report: Blue Jays to sign LHP T.J. House

 

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Added on a minor league deal, T.J. House will look to compete for a job in the Blue Jays bullpen next season. (Photo via Cleveland.com)

 

In a continued effort to source out viable left-handed relief options following the departure of Brett Cecil, the Toronto Blue Jays are close to acquiring T.J. House reports Darren Wolfson fo 1500ESPN Minneapolis.

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House, 27, is a veteran of 27 major league contests, 22 of which came out of the starting rotation for the Cleveland Indians between the 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Signed by the Tribe in the 16th round of 2008’s June amateur draft, the product of Picayune, MS has pitched to an overall ERA of 3.96 with a WHIP of 1.479 across 217 games since making his professional debut with the Lake County Captains (SALL) in 2009.

In 2016, House went 5-3 with an ERA of 3.98 over 33 games with triple-A Columbus. The 6’1″ southpaw made four relief appearances with the World Series-bound Tribe last year, allowing a run on six hits through 2.2 innings of work prior to being designated for assignment and later outrighted off the team’s 40-man roster in September.

Having limited port-sided hitters to an overall opponents batting average of .267 with 35 strikeouts and only five walks over 141 big league plate appearances, House’s future value will likely come as a left-handed specialist out of the bullpen. That said, his impressive 2014 rookie campaign may lead to additional looks as a starter so long as his once bothersome shoulder issues remains a thing of the past.

Reportedly inked to a minor-league deal with an invite to spring training, House is expected to compete with fellow lefties Matt Dermody and Chad Girodo for a spot in Toronto’s bullpen next season.

OF NOTE

House’s last start in the majors came against the Blue Jays on April 30th, 2015 at Progressive Field in Cleveland.

After holding Toronto to only a hit through the first three, Jose Bautista led off the fourth inning with a walk prior to going from first to third on a line drive single off the bat of Edwin Encarnacion. Danny Valencia then singled to cash in Bautista, and Russell Martin doubled to deep right field to plate Encarnacion. Martin was promptly ushered in by a Kevin Pillar double before Cleveland’s shell-shocked starter received the hook without recording an out in the frame.

Replaced by Tyler Holt, House was put on the 15-day disabled list with shoulder inflammation on May 1st and would go on to miss the better part of 2015.

– Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

 

Dalton Pompey celebrates his birthday by giving back to those in the community

Dalton Pompey isn’t like most 24-year olds.

In addition to being lightning fast on the basepaths, the former Oakville Royals standout is also truly cognizant of his role as an ambassador for the game.

Just over three years removed from making his Major League debut in September of 2014, the promising young outfielder celebrated his birthday in inspiring fashion this weekend.

Rather than throwing an elaborate celebration, the former 16th-round draft pick took to the streets of Toronto on Sunday afternoon, handing out Tim Horton’s gift cards to those less fortunate than himself.

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“I have a  lot be thankful in my life.” wrote Pompey in an Instagram post on Sunday afternoon. “There’s no better way for me to thank God for blessing me than trying to make someone else’s day.”

Raised only a stones throw away from Rogers Centre, Pompey has been afforded the ability to play for his hometown team and the Mississauga native has often demonstrated an understanding of his role as a mentor to those in the community.

“Thanks to everyone who has wished me a happy birthday and helped me in some capacity throughout my life” added Pompey prior to shouting out his friend Matthew Romeo for the inspiration to follow through on Sunday’s act of kindness.

Having put together an impressive slash line of .270/.349/.353 with 18 stolen bases over 93 games with the triple-A Buffalo Bisons in 2016, the young speedster is projected to play a big role in the Blue Jays outfield next season.

 Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

Blue Jays select RHP Glenn Sparkman in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft

 

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Glenn Sparkman pitching for the Wilmington Blue Rocks in 2014.

 

With the 24th selection (38th overall) in 2016’s Major League  Rule 5 draft, the Toronto Blue Jays picked right-handed pitcher Glenn Sparkman on Thursday.

Sparkman, 24, is a product of Ganado, Texas and has appeared in 69 minor league games since being picked by the Kansas City Royals in the 20th round of 2013’s June amateur draft. To date, the 6’2″hurler has recorded an overall ERA of 2.68 along with a WHIP of 1.092 and a K/9 of 9.5 across 238 innings as a professional.

Roughly a year removed from undergoing Tommy John Surgery, Sparkman reached as high as double-A Arkansas in 2016, making 16 starts while pitching to an ERA of 5.67 in only 60 and a third innings on the year.

Having picked another right-handed hurler in Philip Walby 28th overall, Toronto also added an arm in the triple-A portion of this year’s draft.

Drafted in 2013, Walby, 24, is a former 12th round selection of the New York Yankees and owns a career ERA of 3.67 to go with an overall WHIP of 1.572 and a K/9 of 9.4 over 123 games, the majority of which have come out of the bullpen.

In 2016, the 6’2″ product of San Diego, California split time between low-A Hagerstown and high-A Tampa, allowing 42 hits over 43 and a third innings en route to posting an ERA of 3.50 for the year.

In addition to adding talent, Toronto also lost a trio of players on Thursday.

With the sixth overall selection in the triple-A portion of the Rule 5, Philadelphia snagged middle infielder Jorge Flores prior to the Yankees picking catcher Jorge Saez Jr. 13th overall and Texas selecting left-handed pitcher Matt Smoral with the 21st pick.

Sparkman now becomes the 33rd Rule 5 selection made by the Blue Jays dating back to 1977.

With the most recent being Joe Biagini in 2015, the former Royals farmhand will look to add his name to the ever-growing list of Toronto rule 5 success stories, a list that also includes Manuel Lee, Kelly Gruber and George Bell to name a few

Toronto will now pay Kansas City $50,000 for their selection. Should Sparkman be removed from the team’s 25-man roster at any point between now and the end of the 2017 campaign, the Blue Jays will be forced to offer him back to the Royals for $25,000.

– Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)

 

Blue Jays sign LHP Brett Oberholtzer to MiLB deal

As first reported by Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, the Blue Jays reached a minor league agreement with left-handed hurler Brett Oberholtzer on Wednesday.

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Oberholtzer, 27, has pitched in parts of four seasons at the MLB level while amassing an overall record of 14-23 to go with with an earned run average of 4.86 across 82 big league games.

Unable to recreate the type of success that led to a 2.76 ERA over his first 13 games as a rookie in 2013, the former 8th round pick has witnessed his overall vitals continually inflate over the past three seasons.

In 2016, the product of Christiana, Delaware split time between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Angels while appearing in 37 games and posting a career-high WHIP of 1.621 over 70.1 innings of work, the majority of which coming as a reliever.

Having allowed a higher career OPS to lefties (.786), the likelihood of Oberholtzer serving as a left-handed specialist in the Blue Jays bullpen next season is relatively slim but, having made 44 of his 82 MLB appearances as a starter, the 6’1″ righty could provide Toronto with additional depth for their starting rotation.

– Follow Andrew Hendriks on Twitter (@77hendriks)