Jamieson lone rookie with Team Canada
* INF Sean Jamieson (Simcoe, Ont.) drafted by Matt Higginson of the Oakland A’s from Mike McRae‘s Canisius College program was dealt to the Arizona Diamondbacks and now makes his Team Canada debut as the only international rookie on the roster. Photo Chris Lockhard scout.com ….
ADAM MORISSETTE — Honours for Canada, Albers …. Lennerton homers, Hill goes three scoreless …. Albers, Avery get A’s for effort …. Mark Hardy works three scoreless in 12-0 win over SPC …. Canada sets roster for WBC qualifier
By Todd Devlin
Before fielding a call from senior national team boss Greg Hamilton two weeks ago, Sean Jamieson says representing Canada wasn’t even on his radar. The shortstop had no idea he was in the mix to join the Canadian squad that will attempt this week to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
But when Hamilton lost infielder and national team vet Peter Orr to a big-league call-up to the Philadelphia Phillies, Jamieson’s name was next on the list. And on Thursday, the 23-year-old will don the red and white of Team Canada in international competition for the first time in his career.
“I’m honoured and very excited to wear Canada’s colours,” Jamieson said over the phone from St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday before the Canadian team departed for Regensburg, Germany. “It’s been a pretty eventful week.”
That week included his first taste of action with the senior national team, which played a trio of exhibition games in Florida. And it didn’t take long for the shortstop to get his feet wet, as he belted a two-run homer in the team’s first game against St. Petersburg College in an eventual 12-0 win.
Jamieson spent the rest of the week getting acclimated to his new surroundings and meeting his new teammates – none of whom he knew prior to joining the squad. Nor did he know Hamilton or the other coaches, a group that includes former major leaguer Larry Walker.
“Meeting [Walker] for the first time was pretty cool,” he said. “And having a conversation with him on a regular person level … I’m just trying to blend in and mesh with the other guys. They’ve been great in letting me adjust to the team.”
Unlike every other member on the 28-man roster currently in Germany for the qualifier, Jamieson (Simcoe, Ont.) is a Baseball Canada rookie. Six players are new to the senior team, but the 23-year-old shortstop is the only one wearing the red and white for the first time.
“In high school, I played for the [Mel Oswald's Canadian] Thunderbirds and I wasn’t very strong or very big, and I didn’t stand out amongst Canadian athletes I don’t think,” Jamieson said in explaining why he was passed over for a spot on the junior national team. “I kind of slipped by. I feel like I developed too late to make the junior team. But better later than earlier.”
With the senior national team, the shortstop says he’s willing to do whatever is asked of him to help the team win and qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
“I feel like I’m going to be kind of a utility guy in the infield,” he said. “But wherever I’m needed … or a pair of legs on the bases, who knows. I’ve been here for three games and I’ve got some time, but I don’t know what the guys on top are thinking.”
One thing he does know is that the guys on top believe he has the talent to play on the international stage. And that honour is the latest milestone for the 23-year-old, whose career really seems to be taking off.
In fact, Hamilton’s call wasn’t the first to take the youngster by surprise this year. In August, Jamieson got word over the phone that he’d been acquired by the Arizona Diamondbacks – in a straight up trade for big-leaguer Stephen Drew. While the shortstop enjoyed his time in the Oakland Athletics organization, he knew the trade was a great opportunity.
“I was pretty flattered,” he said. “When you get traded, it’s a good sign. It means that someone wants you, and they want to develop you into someone that could make a positive impact in your organization.”
In a short amount of time, that’s exactly what Jamieson did before closing out the 2012 season. After posting a .234 batting average with 10 home runs and 49 RBIs in 119 games at class-A Burlington with the A’s, the shortstop joined class-A South Bend and hit .327 with a .431 on-base percentage in 14 games with his new organization.
He’s hoping to start the 2013 campaign at High-A and then continue the climb towards the big leagues with the D’Backs.
“At Oakland, they always say in speeches, ‘A lot of you guys are going to make it to the big leagues. But most won’t be with us,’” Jamieson said. “They [Athletics] do make a lot of trades. I’m hoping I’m one of those guys …”
For his part, Arizona general manager Kevin Towers said he was pleased to land Jamieson, whom he described in a post-trade press conference as “a Canadian kid who has speed and power for the position.”
“He’s probably a ways away,” Towers said, “but he’s somebody we think is a legitimate middle-infield prospect, which is something we’ve lacked in our system.”
That’s certainly not a common description of a player whose first collegiate experience came at the junior college level. But the late-blooming Jamieson, who went on to spend two seasons with coach Mike McRae‘s (Niagrara Falls, Ont.) successful Canisius College program. He was selected in the 17th round to the A’s in the 2011 draft, chosen by scout Matt Higginson (Oakville, Ont.) seems to keep rising to new heights.
“Sometimes I do surprise myself with some of the things that have happened,” he said. “I don’t know, I think when you put me at a certain level, I work my butt off to get to that level … if it requires changing a mental approach or getting bigger and stronger. I’ll work on it until I get there. Hopefully I keep that rolling until I get to the top.”
Jamieson now finds himself on the international level, and he couldn’t be more excited about the opportunity.
“I look at this as a really awesome chance to get my foot in the door,” he said. “I’m young, and I have a lot of time to make future [Team Canada] rosters if I keep playing at this level. I’m just trying to do my best so I can possibly be invited back to future events.”
Who knows, maybe he’ll play a key role in helping the Canadians qualify for the next World Baseball Classic. After all, that’s why Hamilton contacted him in the first place in a call that Jamieson won’t soon forget.
“It was one of the best calls I’ve got all year, I’ll tell you that.”