Periard, Leroux, not RomakPromoted to 40-man Rosters
By BOB ELLIOTT
Two more Canadians found their way on to the 40-man rosters when decisions were made this week. RHP Alexandre Periard (St. Eustache, Que.) was added to the big-league roster by the Milwaukee Brewers. RHP Chris Leroux (Mississauga, Ont.) was placed on the Florida Marlins big-league roster. Which means both will be headed to big-league camps: Periard in Maryvale, Az. and Leroux in Viera, Fla. And a surprising name left off is Pittsburgh Pirates OF Jamie Romak (London, Ont.) Romak is now available to the Rule V draft which takes place next month at the winter meetings in Las Vegas. Selected by Atlanta Braves in fourth round (127th overall) of 2003 draft and given a $240,000 (U.S.) signing bonus by scout Lonnie Goldberg, now of the Kansas City Royals, Romak was dealt to the Pirates along with 1B Adam Laroche for RP Mike Gonzalez and INF Brent Lillibridge. Romak, 22, hit .279 with 25 doubles, 18 homers and 57 RBIs in 77 games at Single-A Lynchburg and at Double-A Altoona he batted .208 with six doubles, seven homers and 23 RBIs in 33 games. He combined for 25 homers and 80 RBIs -- the most of the 117 Canadians in the minors this season. He ranked amongst the leaders in runs scored (73, tied for second) and hits (106, sixth). Romak was runner-up as the CanadianBaseballNetwork's Minor League Hitter of the Year (http://canadianbaseballnetwork.com/node/838) behind OF Tim Smith (Toronto, Ont.), who hit .300, with 13 homers, 70 RBIs, leading all Canadians in the Minors with 144 hits at Single-A Clinton in the Texas Rangers system. “Their thinking is that even if he gets drafted _ and I’d be willing to bet he does _ that whatever teams that drafts him won’t be able to keep him all year and will eventually offer him back. Pretty risk if you ask me but I’m a big fan of his,” said one person familiar with the Pirates pecking order. Romak was with the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .277 with one homer and six RBIs in 18 games. As for Periard, he was 0-3 with a 10.50 ERA pitching for the Peoria Javelinas in the Arizona Fall League in nine games, making four starts. He allowed 30 hits and 15 walks, while fanning 17 in 18 innings. This summer he was 9-6 with a 3.51 ERA at Single-A Brevard as he walked 30 and struck out 76 in 112 1/3 innings, making 18 starts. At Double-A Huntsville he had a 2-4 mark with a 5.68 ERA walking 16 and striking out 20 in 38 innings. And as for Leroux, he worked out of the bullpen at Single-A Jupiter with a 6-7 won-loss record and a 3.65 ERA. He walked 26 and fanned 78 in 75 innings. Periard worked with Alex Agostino, now a scout for the Philadelphia Phillies, and Sylvain Saindon in the winter and then he moved on to pitch for Richard Emond and Joel Landy at les Ailes du Quebec and Greg Hamilton and the Canadian National Youth Team. Leroux played for coach Ron Gotwalt at Mississauga North, for Marc Picard and Jason Chee-Aloy with Team Ontario and Hamilton with the Canadian National Junior Team ... as a catcher. In his high school year Jays Canadian scouting director Bill Byckowksi wanted to convert Leroux to a pitcher. Drafted in the ninth round by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Leroux chose to go to Winthrop Univerity and caught the first year, aside from pitching out of the bullpen for four games. He was also with the Brantford Red Sox and manager Rick Johnston. Early in 2004, manager Joe Hudak came to the mound late in the game to address the struggling pitcher with Leroux listening. “You’re in ...” And so Leroux took off the gear and began with his warm up pitches. He impressed the next spring before walking off the mound at Pepperdine University in the middle of an inning with an elbow injury. Despite the injury the Marlins selected him in the seventh round and he received a $152,000 signing bonus. Leroux is the first graduate of the Mississauga North Tigers organization to be named to a 40-man roster, since Shawn Hill (Georgetown, Ont.), now with the Washington Nationals. Loewen Update: In the Hawiian Winter League, 1B Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) is hitting .207 (6-for-29) with two RBIs in 10 games for the West Oahu CaneFires. Loewen has walked five times and fanned eight times. All of his hits have been singles.! After re-injuring his elbow as a left-handed starter, Loewen is attempting to make a come back as a hitter. He has not hit since 2003, when he was at Chipola College. Elsewhere on the Island: LHP Phillippe-Alexandre Valiquette (Montreal, Que.) is 0-1 with an 8.53 ERA for the Waikiki BeachBoys. He has walked 11 and struck out 12 in 12 2/3 innings. ... C Lars Davis (Calgary, Alta.) is hitting .222 with a homer and seven RBIs in 20 games for the Honolulu Sharks. More Fall ball: Cole Armstrong (Surrey, BC) hit .320 with seven homers and 23 RBIs in 24 games for the Peoria Saguaros. A former teammate of Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) at Chipola College, Armstrong batted .252 with 17 doubles, six homers and 31 RBIs at Double-A Birmingham in 64 games. He was then promoted to Triple-A Charlotte where he hit .275 with 12 doubles, two homers and 17 RBIs in 35 games in the Chicago White Sox system. Armstrong was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 16th round of the 2003 draft and the White Sox chose him in the 2005 minor-league draft. ... 3B Shawn Bowman (New Westminster, BC) hit .297 with two homers and seven RBIs the Peoria Saguaros. Bowman has been bothered by a bad back playing only 75 games due to a bad back. At Single-A Port St. Lucie he hit .340 with two homers and 11 RBIs and at Double-A Binghamton ht batted .248 with two homers and 10 RBIs. ... 2B Scott Campbell (Vancouver, via Aukland, N.Z.) hit .280 with six RBIs for the Phoenix Desert Dogs. At Double-A New Hampshire hit batted .302 with 21 doubles, nine homers and 46 RBIs in the Blue Jays system. ... INF Taylor Green (Comox, BC), of the Brewers, hit .333 with a homer and three RBIs in seven games with the Peoria Javelinas. Big-time LOI: LHP Jay Johnson (Sussex Corner, N.B.), recently clocked at 90-92 MPH at the Prairie Baseball Acadmey has signed a letter of intent with Texas Tech University. Coach Blair Kubicek arranged thru Pat Gillick for Johnson to have surgery with Dr. Frank Jobe in Los Angeles. Johnson had been pitching despite that he could gain only 75% extenstion. In August, Johnson turned down a $50,000 signing bonus from Wayne Norton (Port Moody, BC) of the Seattle Mariners. Look at him now.