Diamond out of WBC, Dempster? Can Morneau pitch?

* LHP Scott Diamond (Guelph, Ont.) had big-time success in his first year in the Minnesota Twins rotation (12-9, 3.54 in 27 starts) and Canada had hoped he'd be able to contribute during the World Baseball Classic in March. Diamond had arthroscopic surgery and has been scratched .... 2012 Canadians in the Minors  2012 Canadians Drafted 2012 Canadians in College Letters of Intent


By Bob Elliott

Scott Diamond’s left elbow surgery will prevent him from pitching for Canada in the World Baseball Classic in March.

Ryan Dempster, Canada’s best starter, signed a free-agent deal with the Boston Red Sox last week but has yet to say whether he’ll pitch for Canada.

Coming off a 12-win season with the Minnesota Twins’ last year, Diamond’s future is in Minneapolis, not in Arizona where Canada will compete in a World Baseball Classic pool with Italy, Team USA and Mexico.

“I’m on the cusp of being ready for the start of spring training or opening day,” said Diamond from Guelph. “It wasn’t a serious injury.”

Diamond explained he had a mishap during a workout “it wasn’t during throwing” sessions as a chip came off causing a bone spur.

The arthroscopic surgery was performed by Dr. David Altchek in New York.

“I expressed my disappointment to (Baseball Canada’s general manager) Greg Hamilton, I was looking forward to it,” Diamond said. “I’ll be watching. Our bullpen is going to be really good. John Axford is in, same for Jim Henderson and I talked to Jesse Crain is fired up about it.”

But who can start?

“I might be rooming with Justin Morneau this spring,” said Diamond, “Maybe I could teach him how to pitch.”

What options are there for manager Ernie Whitt if Dempster decides not to pitch?

_ Lefty Jeff Francis, 31, who make 24 starts for the Colorado Rockies going 6-7 with a 5.58 ERA.

_ Tsawwassen, BC right-hander Kyle Lotzkar, 24, 7-6 with a 4.55 ERA in 22 starts at Double-A Pensacola and Single-A, Bakersfield and pitched in the Futures Game in Kansas City.

_ Navan lefty Erik Bedard, 33, who made 24 starts with the Pittsburgh Pirates before being released, Aug. 28. He’s unsigned.

_ Victoria BC’s Rich Harden, 31, who didn’t pitch last year, but is making a comeback and was recently signed by the Twins.

_ North Vancouver’s Scott Richmond, 33, who made 25 starts at triple-A Las Vegas in the Jays system. He recently signed to pitch next season for the Lotte Giants in Korea

_ Georgetown’s Shawn Hill, 31, made 22 starts last season at Vegas and pitched indy ball for York in Atlantic League.

_ Mississauga’s Chris Leroux, 28, who was demoted by the Pittsburgh Pirates after pitching in the bullpen. At triple-A Indianapolis he made seven starts and was 4-0 with a 3.00 ERA, walking eight and striking out 38 in 42 innings.

After the holidays Diamond, who pitched for coach Danny Thompson with Team Ontario before joining the Binghamton University Bearcats, said he’d headed to New York for the rest of the winter.

Wintering in New York city, must be love in the air?

“Proposed on Canadian Thanksgiving weekend,” said Diamond, who is engaged to Katie, a former Binghamton soccer player.

Bob ElliottComment