Drew Hutchison A Keen Student

 In this week’s ThrowinSmoke column, Melissa Couto talks Drew Hutchison (pictured) learning from Mark Buehrle, a Canada Day matinee between the Jays and the Brew Crew, a Futures Game for two Jay prospects, Rowan Wick and the long ball, and more

 In this week’s ThrowinSmoke column, Melissa Couto talks Drew Hutchison (pictured) learning from Mark Buehrle, a Canada Day matinee between the Jays and the Brew Crew, a Futures Game for two Jay prospects, Rowan Wick and the long ball, and more

Drew Hutchison doesn't have to look far to find a decent pitching role model.

All he has to do is turn his head to the left.

With veteran southpaw Mark Buehrle occupying the locker next to Hutchison's in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse, the 23-year-old righty says he's fortunate to be able to learn from one of the best in the game on a daily basis.

"He's definitely someone who I feel really lucky to just be around and lucky to play on the same team with," Hutchison said prior to the Blue Jays' 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox at Rogers Centre on Thursday.

"When someone like that sits in the locker next to you, you try to take advantage of that and just learn as much as you can from him."

Hutchison refers to the soft-spoken Buehrle as a "quiet leader."

[Mark-Buehrle] Though he's gotten some good advice from the 35-year-old -- "small things here and there" -- the young hurler is content to simply take his lessons via observation.

"He's not a loud guy," Hutchison said. "He's just one of those people where you watch the way he goes about his business, see the way he works and you try to pick things up.

"The stuff he's accomplished already in his career is unbelievable, so he's a good person to watch."

Through 14 1/2 seasons, Buehrle has pitched 2,990 innings, earning 196 career wins. He's also got a World Series championship, a no-hitter (against the Texas Rangers in 2007), and a perfect game (against the Tampa Bay Rays in 2009), all with the White Sox.

The four-time all-star and four-time gold-glover isn't showing any signs of slowing down, either.

Realistically, Buehrle could surpass the 12 wins he earned all of last year by the all-star break next month. At 10-4 so far this season, he's tied for second in the majors in wins and sits third in the American League in ERA at 2.52.

And he's done it all while throwing a fastball that averages 85.6 miles per hour. More than anything, that's what impresses Hutchison, who himself tops out at 95.9 mph.

"He's not an overpowering guy, but he's a true pitcher," said the hard-throwing right-hander, who's 5-6 with a 4.00 ERA through 16 starts. "In this day in age when everyone is hung up on the radar gun, it's refreshing to see him go out there and dominate the way he does and just be a pitcher.

"It's unbelievable to watch him pitch. The way he pitches, if he ever gets into trouble, he throws two pitches and he's out of it. He's just so calm. Everyone can learn from that."

NOTES: The Blue Jays have been in first place in the AL East for 36 consecutive days ... 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion is 11-for-26 with three home runs, and eight RBIs in his last seven games. C Dioner Navarro is also on a hot streak, hitting .409 (9-for-22) for the week.

CANADIANS IN THE MAJORS

With Toronto's Brett Lawrie and Milwaukee's Jim Henderson currently on the disabled list, there's a good chance neither Canadian will be able to take the field when the Blue Jays host the Brewers in a Canada Day matinee next Tuesday.

Lawrie (Langley, B.C.) who suffered a broken right index finger when he took a pitch off his hand in Cincinnati last week, is out indefinitely. Henderson, meanwhile, is much closer to returning to action.

[jimhenderson1-590x426] The right-hander from Calgary was placed on the 15-day DL with shoulder inflammation on May 2, and suffered a setback later that month.

On Wednesday, Henderson told SportsRadio 1250 in Milwaukee he feels ready to rejoin the Brewers immediately.

"Right now it's starting to get really hard for me to be patient with this, because the good news is everything is feeling fantastic," he said from the Brewers' spring training complex in Arizona. "Honestly, I would feel comfortable pitching up there tomorrow, but I have to stay the course, be patient, I know I had a setback before.

"That's why they're taking it slow with me this time around, but I'll probably try to push it a little bit, see if I can negotiate with the trainers and people in Milwaukee to get back a little early."

Henderson threw a bullpen session last week in Arizona, but he would need to complete a rehab assignment in the minors before reuniting with the big league club.

NOTES: Seattle Mariners OF Michael Saunders (Victoria) was activated off the 15-day DL Friday. Saunders was put on the DL with right shoulder soreness on June 12. ... Colorado Rockies 1B Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) has 13 RBIs in his last seven games. The 33-year-old is 12-for-31 over that span.

CANADIANS IN THE MINORS

Rowan Wick's home runs are becoming so famous they've inspired the creation of a Twitter account.

[rowan wick] The social media profile @DidWickHomer keeps track of the North Vancouver, B.C., native's home runs by tweeting "yes" or "no" after each State College Spikes game.

Of Wick's 16 hits through 14 contests with the St. Louis Cardinals' short-season A squad so far this season, nine of them are home runs, and two are doubles. The right-fielder/catcher is hitting .356 with a 1.482 OPS, and his nine homers are already just one shy of David Washington's single season franchise record set last year.

Wick, 21, was selected out of Cypress College in Cypress, Calif., by the Cardinals in the ninth round of the 2012 draft.

The Canadian's home run account had 42 followers as of Friday afternoon.

NOTES: Blue Jays OF prospect Dalton Pompey (Mississauga, Ont.) was promoted from high-A Dunedin to double-A New Hampshire on Friday. Pompey and fellow Jays prospect, LHP Daniel Norris, were named to the World and U.S. MLB Futures Game rosters, respectively on Tuesday ... Texas Rangers catching prospect Kellin Deglan (Langley, B.C.) was 3-for-5 with two home runs and seven RBIs for the single-A Hickory Crawdads on Tuesday. ... L.A. Angels prospect Trevor Gretzky (son of Wayne, Brantford, Ont.) is hitting .500 through six games with the short-season A Orem Owlz. Gretzky has 11 hits, four RBIs, two walks, and two stolen bases.

CANADIANS IN COLLEGE

For the second year in a row, a Canadian took part in the College World Series final.

And for a second straight year, the Canadian's team left Omaha empty-handed.

Toronto's Daniel Pinero was the final out for Virginia in a 3-2, Game 3 loss to Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Pinero was solid throughout the tournament, coming up with big hits at key moments, including a walk-off sacrifice fly in the 15th inning of a game against TCU.

Last year, Kyle Hann of Oakville, Ont., and Jacob Robson of Windsor, Ont., played in the final series with Mississippi State, and lost to UCLA in two games.

-- Follow Melissa Couto on twitter @throwinsmoke

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Melissa Couto

My name is Melissa Couto. I'm a sports reporter-editor at The Canadian Press, where I've worked for the past two years. Mostly I work on the night desk, editing copy for print, online and broadcast, but I have been doing more and more writing recently. I also contribute to the Canadian Baseball Network, a website founded by renowned Toronto Sun columnist Bob Elliott.

 

I'm a graduate of Centennial College's sports journalism post-graduate program. Before that, I went to Western where I completed a BA and MA in American history (it's helped me impress people when we're watching Jeopardy). In all seriousness, my time at Western was valuable.  I walked away with a real passion for writing. When I took the post-grad program at Centennial, I learned to merge that love of writing with the love of sport that I've always had (particularly for baseball), and as they say, the rest is history.