By: Phil Jones
DUNEDIN, Fla. - Jorge Saez is working his way through the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system in an organization which is rich with backstopping talent.
The Miami native is presently competing against 16 other catchers in Spring Training camp, not including those players yet to be sent down from the big league club.
That wasn’t the case last year when the Jays were thin at the position and Saez was called up for a brief stint in Triple-A with the Buffalo Bisons.
“Three or four catchers got hurt, some mix-ups happened, and they only had one guy in Buffalo so they had to send me up there. I was there for two days and got sent back down once injuries healed. We were real thin last year with catchers,” recalls Saez.
His brief promotion was met with a steak and lobster dinner upon arrival in New York thanks to a walk-off win with a local restaurant providing the spread. The Lee University star got a taste of a higher level last season and has his sights set on promotion again this year.
“I would love to have the opportunity to go to New Hampshire to play AA baseball. I’ve been here two years already in Dunedin and that would be ideal,” proclaimed Saez. “In order to advance I need to work on my offence. The defensive side I feel very confident about. The next step after that is becoming an elite leader where the pitching staff just absolutely trusts you with everything.”
For a guy drafted by the Blue Jays in the 23rd round it will take a lot of hard work, focus and determination to stand out and excel. Saez seems well aware of his task and provides optimism towards the future while grinding in Dunedin.
“The importance of what we do down here is going to show,” said the defensive specialist. “You know the stuff you do down here when the spotlight isn’t on you always shows out when the spotlight is on you. So that’s why you keep going, keep going, keep going, and hopefully one day you can get up there.”
As a younger fan of the Florida Marlins, Saez reflected on the 2003 World Series team that started the season 19-29. “It’s just that idea, don’t worry about how you start, worry about how you finish.”