* The outcome of the game with the Cincinnati Reds meant little, 3B Brett Lawrie leaving for a pinch hitter was a serious matter for both Team Canada and the Blue Jays. .... ELSEWHERE .... SHI DAVIDI -- Lawrie leaves with tweak in his side .... GARY SCHATZ -- Reds beat Canada 12-2 .... TODD DEVLIN -- Speedy Gillies ready to set the table .... Aspiring starter Leroux gets start vs. Mexico .... TYLER KILLIAN -- Canada’s best sticking together for WBC .... ROBERTO ANGOTTI -- Mariotti starts opener for Italy against Mexico .... TYLER HARPER -- Taillon: Canada’s pitching weapon at WBC .... DOUG HARRISON -- Who will make the greatest impact for Canada?
By Bob Elliott
GOODYEAR, Az. -- There are always good signs and bad signs in a ball game.
Taylor Green pinch hitting for Brett Lawrie in the fourth is one of them.
“He felt a tweak in his side and we decided it was best to take him out of the game after talking with the trainers,” Team Canada manager Ernie Whitt told reporters after a 12-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
"I’m not sure when he felt it, but as soon as he came in, he went right to the trainers and said he felt a little twinge, so we took him out,” said Whitt. “We’re always very careful of individuals if they feel anything.
"We don’t want to hurt them or extend their injuries so we just took him out. He was only going to play four innings anyway. He’s seeing the trainers, we’ll see what goes on.”
Losing Lawrie would be a serious blow for A) Team Canada and B) the Blue Jays.
Mark Hardy found out first hand that the Reds are not the Northwest Arkansas Naturals, Frisco RoughRiders or the Corpus Christi Hooks.
The lefty pitched in six games, making three starts for double-A San Antonio and manager John Gibbons last season.
The San Diego Padres farmhand allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings at Goodyear Ballpark before 5,012 fans.
Adam Loewen tagged Reds hard-throwing right-hander Mat Latos for a two-run homer to left in the second.
Canada managed four hits with Taylor Green hitting a double while Tyson Gillies and Rene Tosoni each singled.
Trystan Magnuson allowed three-run homers to Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Olivo.
R.J. Swindle and Phillippe Aumont each had scoreless innings as the Reds pounded out 18 hits.
Canada had two errors and struck out 11 times.
“They had some good arms, but defence was a problem and we took some big hacks,” said Whitt.
More martin: Team Canada coach Larry Walker took the high road when discussing Russell Martin.
Former Team Canada outfielder Aaron Guiel basically told Martin to hit the road.
“It’s his decision, he’s a grown man, we’ll deal with what we have here,” said hitting coach Walker.
Walker holds the dual titles: Canada’s best position player and Canada’s most outspoken player.
Guiel was 2-for-9 playing right field for Canada in the inaugural WBC in Phoenix and helped Canada win bronze in the 1999 Pan Am Games.
“I know Russell is a good player, he’s well liked and he’s popular, but it’s really confusing for him to ask his parent club if he can play shortstop,” said Guiel at Goodyear Park. “It’s evident he put himself above the team, especially when our team needs him so badly at that position.
“It’s a slap in the face to the others, and I say that with all due respect.”
Guiel played five years in the majors with the Kansas City Royals and the New York Yankees. He then spent five with the Yakult Swallows in Japan before coaching at rookie-Class Arizona League Royals last year. He now lives 15 minutes away with his three children in Peoria.
“I’m sure this will all blow over,” said Guiel, “but I also hope a lot of our pitchers give him a hard time down the road.
“Ryan Dempster is funny, one of the most popular players in baseball. For Ryan to pass ... you know how much those two guys would have brought to a team? Canada would be a lock to advance.”
Watching Team Canada take batting practice Guiel said “was the first time since he retired that he wanted to play again,” explaining “when you are a member of Team Canada, you are a member of the team for life.”
Guiel said the two highlights of his 19-year career came wearing a CANADA jersey, winning bronze at the 1999 Pan Ams in Winnipeg and beating Team USA in 2006 at Chase Field in Phoenix.
“I remember Team USA criticized us for over-celebrating after we beat them, they sat in the dugout watching ... it was like ‘wait a minute, this is for real, we JUST lost to Canada,” said Guiel who wants to help coaching with the Junior National Team.
Guiel was impressed watching line drives off the bat of Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie.
Brother Jeff Guiel, who played in the 2004 Athens Olympics, is now a West Vancouver police officer.
As for Walker, who flew in Tuesday, he was seated on a chair outside the Canada clubhouse. He had accompanied manager Ernie Whitt and Greg Hamilton to the first three innings of the Italy-Los Angeles Angels game.
Then, the Team Canada bus pulled in, with travelling secretary John Brioux at the helm, players filed past by Walker 1-by-1.
“Hi, my name’s Adam, I’m really a big fan,” said Adam Loewen, who was wed recently this off season.
“Still married?” asked Walker.
Each player, especially those Walker helped as hitting coach of the 2009 World Cup bronze winning team gave him a hearty handshake and a look of admiration.
“I like Chris Robinson, I know catchers are supposed to be dirty, his nickname should be Pig Pen, he’s always covered in dirt,” said Walker. “And he gets really dirty when he thinks he has speed -- which he doesn’t -- and is usually out by 10 feet.
“And I like John Suomi.”
The Canucks open Friday afternoon against Italy ... “a must win,” said Walker.
“This draw sets up better with us playing Team US last, rather than first or second like the others,” said Walker. “We’re not going to take any team lightly, not that we did in 2009, but if we loose we might hit the panic button.”
Walker declined to compare the 2006, 2009 and this year’s Canadian roster.
“The names on the team are written on paper, but games are played on the field,” said Walker. “We’ll go out the Canadian hearts all these guys have and play like lions -- and I don’t mean the Detroit Lions.”
Walker also dodged the who was the best player in the room question?
“People might say it’s guys with the major-league experience, our big guns,” said Walker. “Here’s the thing ... every one is Canadian.”
And with that Walker pulled up his left sleeve to show a red Maple Leaf tattoo with the letters I AM.