BWDIK: Buehrle, Morneau, Paxton, Votto

But What Do I Know? … Mark Buehrle, Chris Colabello, Tyler O’Neill

By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada

My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

_ Among the pitchers that Toronto Blue Jays left-hander Mark Buehrle has passed on the all-time wins list this season are Roy Halladay, Orel Hershiser and Hall of Famer Rube Marquard. But while I agree with the sabermetricians that say that wins aren’t a defining measurement of a pitcher’s success (so many factors (e.g. run support) can impact a pitcher’s ability to win or lose a game), there’s no denying that Buehrle has been remarkably consistent. With his victory on Friday night, the crafty lefty now has 205 career wins and sits 105th on MLB’s all-time list. By the end of 2015, he’s likely to pass Hall of Famers Hal Newhouser, Bob Lemon (both had 207 wins) and Don Drysdale (209 wins) on that list.

_ After reviewing Chris Colabello’s minor league statistics, I guess I shouldn’t be that surprised by his .374 batting average with the Blue Jays this season. In 11 minor league campaigns, Colabello has hit over .300 nine times and his on-base percentage in those 11 seasons is .386. Just how good has Colabello been with the Blue Jays this season? He has as many hits in 24 games (34) as Jose Bautista has recorded in 44 contests.

_ Tyler O’Neill, who was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the third round of the 2013 MLB draft, is proving that Larry Walker is not the only player from Maple Ridge, B.C., who can hit them out of the park. The 19-year-old outfielder has belted 11 homers for the class-A Bakersfield Blaze of the California League this season. This ranks him second in the circuit. A Canadian Junior National Team alumnus, O’Neill is in his third season in the Mariners’ organization.

_ One concerning development from this past week is that Justin Morneau (New Westminster, B.C.) was placed on the disabled list on Saturday due to a recurrence of post-concussion symptoms. The Colorado Rockies first baseman, who has battled concussion-related issues since colliding with Blue Jays shortstop John McDonald while attempting to break up a double play on July 7, 2010, experienced the symptoms again after making a diving play in a game against the Los Angeles Angels on May 13. The 2006 American League MVP captured the National League batting title with the Rockies in his first season with the club in 2014.  

_ Left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) was placed on the disabled list on Friday after straining a tendon in the middle finger of his throwing hand in the fifth inning of his start against the Cleveland Indians on Thursday. The 6-foot-4 southpaw, who’s in his third major league season, is 3-3 with a 3.70 ERA in 10 starts this year.

_ And speaking of the disabled list, it won’t surprise Blue Jays fans to learn that San Padres right-hander Brandon Morrow has been on it since May 5. The oft-injured, ex-Jay had a promising start to the season, posting a 2.73 ERA in five starts, before being sidelined by inflammation in his throwing shoulder. Morrow threw a simulated game on Thursday and reportedly threw a side session on Saturday. He could head out on a rehabilitation assignment as early as this week.

_ Blue Jays players have had some interesting injuries over the years. The most memorable one that comes to mind occurred in 1990 when outfielder Glenallen Hill told reporters he crashed throw a glass table while he was having a nightmare about being chased by spiders. Well, in my continued review of the Toronto Star archives from 1977, I discovered another freak Blue Jays injury. During the franchise’s inaugural spring training, infielder Bob Bailor missed six days after cutting the base of his thumb while opening a can of oysters.

_ Thanks to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame’s Scott Crawford for reminding me that Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto (Etobicoke, Ont.) will play his 1,000th major league game today. Votto, who has hit .309 in parts of nine seasons in the majors, will become the 16th Canadian to play 1,000 games at the big league level.

_ Thirty-five years ago today, Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Gary Carter went 4-for-4 and clubbed two home runs for the Montreal Expos at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Unfortunately, the all-star catcher’s performance wasn’t enough to propel the Expos past the Cardinals. The Expos lost 8-6.  

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Kevin Glew

Regaled with stories about Mickey Mantle by his father, Ralph, when he was growing up, Kevin Glew developed a keen interest in baseball at a young age in Dorchester, Ont. playing against teams from Vienna, Straffordville, St. Thomas, Stratford, Harrietsville, Belmont, London and Sarnia. His interest blossomed into a full-blown fascination after enduring a bone-chilling wind on the bench seats down the right-field line at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto on Oct. 5, 1985 to witness the Blue Jays secure their first division title. Though Dale Murphy was his favourite player, the teenage Glew played more like a poor man's Spike Owen - another of his childhood heroes whom he later had the opportunity to interview. When he realized he had no shot at a big league career, Glew focussed his efforts on becoming a sportswriter. During his tenure in the journalism program at Carleton University in Ottawa from 1992 to 1996, he watched the Triple-A Ottawa Lynx in their glory years and vividly recalls a young Matt Stairs suiting up for the Lynx.With few jobs in sports journalism available upon graduation, Glew entered the financial services industry. But after eight years of writing about RRSPs, Glew decided it was time to write about RBIs again. Since leaving his position in the financial sector, he has had freelance articles published in Baseball Digest, Baseball America and the London Free Press. He has also contributed to CBC Sports, SLAM! Sports, Rogers Sportsnet and MLB.com. In June 2010, he started a Canadian baseball history blog called Cooperstowners in Canada. You can read his blog here. Glew is also a member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada. He is available for paid writing gigs and can be reached at kevin.glew@sympatico.ca