Day II with Team Canada

* 1B Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) hosted Team Canada at his Scottsdale home after Monday's work out. ....  ELSEWHERE .... ALEXIS (WELCOME BACK) BRUDNICKI -- Lawrie no long a pinch runner .... Dusty Baker: Votto a national treasure .... ALEXIS BRUDNICKI -- Votto in, after he apologies to former coaches ....  JOHN FAY -- Votto will share time with Morneau .... MARK SHEDLON -- Votto will play for Canada .... ADAM MORISSETTE -- Canucks add Swindle, Votto, Crain scratched .... RICHARD JUSTICE -- Jameson Taillon could be a Pirate this season .... LARRY STONE -- Saunders makes his WBC debut for Canada .... SCOTT BAIR -- Canada sets WBC rotation .... BIB NETWORK -- Canada one of the top 5 questions in WBC .... DAVID HECK -- Lawrie looking to improve on 2012 .... SCOTT BAIR -- Morneau knows what is riding on the WBC .... Players from Canada, Italy and Mexico to watch .... TOM HAUDRICOURT -- Gallardo expected to throw an inning against Canada Tuesday .... MIKE BERARDINO -- No organization has more to lose in the WBC than the Twins .... LIAM McGUIRE -- Jason Bay trying to win berth in M’s OF ....

Day II with Team Canada Day I with Team Canada

2013 Top Canadians eligible for draft 2013 Canadians in College  Letters of Intent 2012 Canadians in the Minors  2012-13 Canadians at Canadian schools


By Bob Elliott

GOODYEAR, Az. -- The Team Canada bus chugged out of Goodyear Park Monday afternoon.

Will a different bus carry the same players into Marlins Park next Monday for the second round of the World Baseball Classic?

Well, that all depends if Canada, with Joey Votto, can beat Italy Friday and Mexico on Saturday.

But right now the bus had a more important destination in mind:


Justin Morneau and his wife Krista hosted the players and their wives, coaches, and whole travelling party from president Ray Carter to trainers Tommy Craig and Mike Kozak.

A group of 40-to-45 Canadians.

And once they get there Team Canada will do what it always do: play road hockey.

Ryan Radmanovich’s Shirts swept the best-of-three series over Morneau’s Skins in Dunedin before flying to Phoenix in 2006.

Matt Stairs’ Reds, with Phillippe Aumont dominating, swept the four-game series over Jason Bay’s Black team in Dunedin before flying to Toronto in 2009.

“I’m looking forward to a good outing,” deadpanned catcher Chris Robinson. “I think this could be our year ... if the ball bounces our way.”

And on Monday, After Hockey Night in Scottsdale  at the Morneau Coliseum, the Skins, captained by Morneau, also known as Team West (Vancouver Canucks) defeated Team East (Toronto Maple Leafs) 3-2 in a best-of-five series.

The three-star selections were Tyson Gillies, goalie Stubby Clapp and No. 4 ... Peter Orr.

However, that was the CBC selection, the NBC broadcast saw it: 1. Clapp, 2. three-goal scorer Adam Loewen and 3. Greg Hamilton, in a losing effort.

Aumont for one will miss Martin’s presence. The reliever pitched out of a memorable bases-loaded situation in the one-run loss in 2009, getting David Wright on a liner, then striking out Kevin Youkalis and Curtis Granderson.

“Russell calmed me down, obviously he would have been great to have,” said Aumont, “we don’t always have the name players but we’re happy what we have. They’re all business. Now, we have to take care of business.”

“Just heard about it,” said Brewers closer John Axford, who played hockey until grade 10 in Port Dover. “Growing up I wanted to be the next Rob Blake, he was from Simcoe and he was friends with my uncle Tony.”

Blake’s was the first autograph Axford ever obtained and then he discovered baseball.

And Tuesday the No. 6-ranked Canucks begin preparing in earnest for in an attempt to advance to the second round for the first time.

Alumni in the crowd: “This,” said former Team Canada outfielder Aaron Guiel, “is the first time since I’ve retired that I wanted to play again.” Guiel a former Kansas City Royal and New York Yankee now lives in nearby Peoria ... Right-hander Scott Richmond home from Korea after knee surgery also attended the workout.

Behind the screen: Former Pittsburgh Pirates general managr Cam Bonifay, now a Reds scout, stood behind the screen watching Votto and the rest of the Reds taking batting practice before the bus left for an exhibition game against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

“How does the team look?” he asked nodding towards Goodyear Park where Team Canada was working out.

Ah, short a catcher, some guys were slowing up when they saw hitch hikers with catching gear.

“Well, we converted Brandon Dailey last fall at instructional league, but we think he’s a few years away,” said Bonifay. Dailey (Brantford, Ont.) was drafted in the 34th round from the Danny Thompson’s Ontario Terriers by scout Bill Byckowski in 2010.

Facing the Brewers: Jameson Taillon, Hill, Scott Mathieson and Andrew Albers pitch Tuesday when Canada meets the Milwaukee Brewers in an exhibition game, featuring Cale Iorg at short and his father Garth Iorg, a Brewers coach in the Brewers dugout.

Will his father call pitches ... batting-practice fastballs?

“That would be nice, I’ve only seen about five live pitches this spring,” said Iorg, a Detroit Tigers farmhand.

Facing the Reds: Lefty Mark Hardy will start Wednesday for Canada.

Beaming president: The hitting group consisted of Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC), Mike Saunders (Victoria, BC), Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC) and Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC).

Standing behind the batting cage smiling as if he was watching his four sons was Baseball Canada president Ray Carter (Delta, BC).

The best: George Morneau, Justin Morneau’s father, was observing the workout when he told a story of a trip to Chicago last year to see the Minnesota Twins play.

“I looked all over for a Chicago Black Hawks hat, when I couldn’t find one I bought a Montreal Expos hat to wear to the game,” said Morneau. “That night (former Expo) Jamey Carroll hit his first home run of the year. After the game he came over and signed my hat.

“You know I love my son. He’s a great power hitter. But if I was going to make a video to show kids how to play the game it would be of Carroll: he stays down on everything, moves his feet well, points his shoulder when he throws, hustles and never ever complains when an ump misses a call. I saw him where strike three was a foot outside, the ump rung him up and he turned and walked away, without saying a word to the ump.

“He plays the game the right way. Next to Mickey Mantle and my son, Jamey Carroll would be my all-time favorite.”

Advance work: Walt Burrows (Brentwood Bay, BC) Canadian director of the Major League Scouting Bureau arrived in Phoenix Monday night. He’ll scout Italy, Mexico and Team USA games before flying to Puerto Rico to file reports for manager Whitt.






Bob ElliottComment