By: Patrick Strothers
Canadian Baseball Network
DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Throwing rocks has never been a problem for Andrew Case, the right-handed pitching prospect for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Before signing his first professional contract, the Saint John, N.B., native was a successful junior curler, who skipped his provincial team to an Atlantic Under-18 championship in 2010.
Though the boisterous 24-year-old once competed in more traditional Canadian sports, such as hockey, he made the decision to focus on a more serious baseball career.
Now in his fourth year with the Blue Jays, Case made a large step forward in 2016 with the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts, where he posted a 2.28 earned-run average with 19 strikeouts in 23.2 innings.
Yet his passion for curling has not wavered.
“The background of curling in my family is unbelievable. Every year my uncle (Peter Case) competes for the Brier, my grandfather goes to provincials and nationals,” said Case, while squinting through the sun on a warm day at the Bobby Mattick Training Center.
“It’s pretty cool. I come from a curling family and it’s one of my favourite games to be honest. I love it, I love every second of it.”
Being the nephew of Peter, who plays lead on James Grattan’s World Curling Tour team, Andrew Case has the sport in his blood.
While curling and baseball may appear to be rather different sports, Case believes the mentality is actually quite similar.
“You’re in the hack with the rock, your mentality to make the shot, and to make the shot better than the other team, so they can’t make their shot (is the same in baseball),” said Case, who remains light-hearted and jovial off the field, despite his apparent competitiveness on it.
“When I’m on the mound, it’s the same thing, ‘I’m going to make this pitch, I’m going to get the hitter, so that the hitter doesn’t get me.’ ”
This attitude was on display in the inaugural Tournament 12 at the Rogers Centre in 2013, where the right-hander pitched his way into a contract, producing a no-hitter in front of scouts.
That was probably the last shot at a professional contract for the player from a non-traditional baseball market, and he made the most of it.