* Scott Diamond (Guelph, Ont.) was impressed with the job Team Canada did at the World Baseball Classic qualifier and especially the actions and words of Jimmy VanOstrand (Richmond, BC) .... 2012 Canadians in the Minors 2012 Canadians Drafted 2012 Canadians in College Letters of Intent
By Bob Elliott
Minnesota Twins first baseman Justin Morneau was asked about Scott Diamond.
The Guelph lefty is Morneau’s teammate with the Twins and the two will wear Team Canada red and white next March when the third World Baseball Classic begins.
“He might be the best ... on both staffs,” Morneau said.
Right-hander Ryan Dempster is the most experienced and accomplished Canadian starter, but he’ll be a free agent after the World Series.
Will he agree to pitch? Will his new team allow him to pitch?
If not, Diamond is Canada’s best.
“Is Rich Harden still pitching?” Diamond asked.
Told no, Diamond moved on saying “we’ve got lots of other guys, Jeff Francis, Erik Bedard, Scott Richmond ... to be considered amongst the guys we have is pretty cool. I’ve already spoken to the Twins and they said we’d be able to work things out so I could pitch.”
Seated in the first-base dugout, Diamond said he followed Canada’s wins over Great Britain (one) and Germany (a pair) to qualify for the WBC.
He’s asked if he heard what home run hero Jimmy VanOstrand said when asked about Canadian minor leaguers going to the qualifier when there is no guarantee they’ll be a part of the March roster?
Diamond shakes his head no.
VanOstrand said “one thing that’s unique about Canada is the pride we take in our country, a lot of us realized we might not be a part of the March roster, but we knew how important it was for us to give the big guys, the best guys we have, a chance to be on the field when the time comes to show how many good players come from Canada.”
Diamond rolled his shoulders to rid himself of the shivers, saying “Wow, that gives me chills down my spine.”
Unlike Morneau, Diamond didn’t come up through the Canadian Junior National Team program. After playing for coach Danny Thompson and Team Ontario he went undrafted as a high schooler, attended Binghamton University and went undrafted as a junior before pitching for Martinsville Mustangs of the Coastal Plain League, a summer league for collegians in 2007.
His first year as a pro he was 15-3 with a 2.89 ERA at class-A Rome and class-A Myrtle Beach and then the call came from Greg Hamilton to join Canada for the 2009 WBC.
“That was my first experience with Team Canada, it’s where I first met Justin Morneau,” Diamond said. “The first night in Florida we all went to a sea food place. First time I tried sushi. Scott Richmond told me what to try. Around the table were Corey Koskie, Matt Stairs, Stubby Clapp. I had the chance to see players from all different ages. I might be biased because I’ve spend more time around him, but Morneau was and is the most impressive.”
“They were the guys who put Canada on the map. Everyone was so proud to wear the uniform.”
Diamond was warming in the bullpen at Legends Field for the final exhibition game when he heard the New York Yankees lineup announced:
Melky Cabrera, Nick Swisher, Mark Teixeira, Hideki Matsui, Xavier Nady.
“I was thinking this is going to be a bit of an adventure,” said Diamond, who pitched two scoreless innings, striking out two in Canada’s 6-0 victory.
He arrived to the clubhouse finding texts from his former Binghamton Bearcat teammates — all Yankee fans.
Terry Ryan, the Twins wise general manager, and scouts Joel Lepel and Rob Anthony, claimed Diamond in the Rule V draft from Atlanta in 2010.
Diamond started Game 162 Wednesday night at the Rogers Centre an event without the drama of a year ago on the final day of the season. And unlike other Game 162s, normally day games, it won’t be a get-away, swing-away, get to the airport ASAP for the 8:05 PM flight home.
While Brandon Morrow won for his 10th win in his 21st start, Diamond goes for his 13th in his 27th start. He already has twice as many wins compared to the next best arm in the Twins rotation, Sam Deduno, with six wins.
Morneau hasn’t begun to lobby Dempster to pitch ... yet.
“He hasn’t said no,” Morneau said.