BWDIK: Bryant, Donaldson, Estrada, Pompey

Happy birthday RHP Marco Estrada ... and as a present you get to face Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers Sunday afternoon.

Happy birthday RHP Marco Estrada ... and as a present you get to face Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers Sunday afternoon.

But What Do I Know? … Kris Bryant, Josh Donaldson, Dalton Pompey

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

My weekly observations and notes about some Canadian baseball stories:

_ Right-hander Marco Estrada will get the start for the Toronto Blue Jays today on his 32nd birthday. His birthday present: he gets to pitch against 2011 American League Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander. For the record, this will be Estrada’s first big league start and second appearance on his birthday. He pitched two shutout innings in relief for the Milwaukee Brewers on his birthday in 2011.

_ Here’s something that I somehow missed: the Toronto Blue Jays selected Chicago Cubs rookie sensation Kris Bryant in the 18th round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound third baseman elected to attend the University of San Diego rather than sign with the Jays. The Cubs then selected him second overall in the 2013 draft. The 23-year-old has socked 12 home runs and posted a .381 on-base percentage in 70 games for the Cubs this season.

_ Just how good has Josh Donaldson been for the Blue Jays this season? Well, I offer this June 28th tweet from The Score MLB news editor, Dan Toman, “Josh Donaldson has been worth more wins (4.1) in three months than Brett Lawrie’s final two seasons in Toronto combined (3.2).” By wins, Toman is referring to Donaldson’s WAR (Wins Above Replacement), an all-encompassing statistic that measures the numbers of wins a player (taking into account their offensive and defensive contributions) adds to their team above a replacement level player (Triple-A player).

_ Dear Blue Jays fans: About that potential Matt Boyd for Jonathan Papelbon trade, never mind.

_ After struggling in the big leagues and at triple-A early in the season, Mississauga, Ont., native Dalton Pompey has rediscovered his mojo with the Blue Jays’ double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats and hitting coach Stubby Clapp.. The fleet-footed outfielder is batting .384 and has belted six homers in 23 games for the Cats.

_ Bill Stoneman, the only pitcher to throw two no-hitters for a Canadian major league team, has agreed to serve as the interim general manager of the Los Angeles Angels after Jerry Dipoto resigned on Wednesday. Stoneman, who tossed two no-nos during his tenure with the Montreal Expos from 1969 to 1973, was the architect of the Angels’ 2002 World Series-winning squad during his first tenure as the club’s GM from 1999 to 2007. What’s less known about Stoneman is that he returned to Canada after his playing career in 1974 and worked in management roles for Royal Trust before he accepted a position in player relations for the Expos in 1983. The following September, he became the Expos vice-president of business operations and in August 1987, he took over as the club’s general manager when Murray Cook was fired.

_ In my continuing review of the 1977 Toronto Star archives, I found a list of the salaries of the players in the Blue Jays’ Opening Day lineup from their inaugural season: Rick Cerone, C, $25,000;  Doug Ault, 1B, $19,000; Pedro Garcia, 2B, $30,000; Hector Torres, SS, $27,500; Dave McKay, 3B, $25,000; John Scott, LF, $19,000; Gary Woods, CF, $19,000; Steve Bowling, RF, $19,000 and Bill Singer, P, $90,000. The average MLB salary in 1977 was $92,953.63. Singer was the highest paid Blue Jay at $90,000.

_ With evidence surfacing that Pete Rose allegedly bet on baseball as a player, the sport’s all-time hit king is back in the headlines for the wrong reasons. With that said, I thought it would be fun to look back at his first game with the Montreal Expos. That took place against the Houston Astros at the Astrodome on April 3, 1984. Batting leadoff and manning left field for the Expos, Rose went 2-for-5 with a run. What stood out to me about the box score for that game was that there were five Canadian Baseball Hall of Famers toiling in it, including Tim Raines, Andre Dawson, Gary Carter and Tim Wallach hitting back-to-back-to-back-to-back in the Expos lineup. The pride of Melville Sask., Terry Puhl, batted second and patrolled right field for the Astros. The Expos won 4-2 in front of 28,505 fans.

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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