By: Mark Staniusz
DUNEDIN, Fla. — For Toronto Blue Jays prospect Shane Dawson, change is good.
Dawson, was drafted by the Jays in the 17th round in 2012. Going into his fifth-year of spring training, some of the practices ushered in by new management have the left-handed pitcher optimistic about the road ahead.
“With the change in front office there have been some things that I have noticed that I really like,” said Dawson. “The 1-on-1 meetings, with goal-setting and planning your season, figuring out what I need to do to stay healthy.
“I really like the atmosphere. I’m excited to see how this year goes.”
Though the Drayton Valley, Alta., native has high praise for the new regime, he respects how the club operated in the past. He simply appreciates what change can often bring to an organization.
“You know a lot of the management that are now gone have been here a million times and they know how they want things done,” Dawson said. “Sometimes it’s nice to get a fresh start with different people within the organization.
“But the people that stayed are the same guys, great coaches.”
In 2013, doctors discovered he was born without an infraspinatus, one of four rotator cuff muscles. It turns out he could pitch without it.
In 2015, playing for the class-A Lansing Lugnuts, Dawson was named a Midwest League All-Star and was selected to represent Canada in the Pan American Games where he won a gold medal.
Most Canadians were enthralled by the Jays’ playoff success this past fall, but being a part of the organization made the 6-foot-1 Dawson watch with extra attention.
He has a tradition of traveling each off-season, and this past year he made an effort to include watching the post-season run while on the road through British Columbia.
“If they were playing when I was on the road we would stop at a bar. Seeing guys I used to go to spring training with, seeing them on television going for the American League Championship Series, it’s really exciting,” Dawson said.
“You get into a habit of seeing yourself in their shoes.”