Ex-Blue Jay Scott Richmond signs with New Zealand club

Right-hander Scott Richmond (Vancouver, B.C..) has signed with the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League.

Right-hander Scott Richmond (Vancouver, B.C..) has signed with the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League.

By Kevin Glew

Canadian Baseball Network

Former Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Scott Richmond (Vancouver, B.C.) has signed with the Auckland Tuatara of the Australian Baseball League.

According to a report by Christopher Reive in the New Zealand Herald, Richmond will debut with the club this weekend when they face the Canberra Cavalry.

Reive writes that the 39-year-old right-hander does not count as an import player for the Auckland club because Richmond’s father is from New Zealand and the veteran hurler owns a Kiwi passport.

"I'll be flying 15 hours from Los Angeles, and I'll arrive in Sydney, meet up with the team in Canberra on the Saturday, and then I'll be pitching the next day, so we'll see how the jet lag goes and how I feel, but I'm going to give it a valiant effort,” Richmond told Reive. "It's a first for me - pitching so close to getting off a plane after that much travelling, so we'll see (how it goes).”

Richmond’s stop in New Zealand is the latest in his unlikely 14-year baseball odyssey and it comes on the heels of his outstanding 2018 campaign with the Nettuno baseball club in the Italian Baseball League that saw him top the circuit in ERA (1.81), strikeouts (105) and innings pitched (89 1/3).

After graduating from Aldergrove Community Secondary School in 1997, Richmond accepted a job working the docks at the Port of Vancouver. Arriving before the crack of dawn and working until around 4 p.m. He did this for three years, squeezing in baseball games and practices whenever he could.

The 6-foot-5 hurler’s pitching talents were impressive enough for him to play with three U.S. colleges – Bossier Parish Community College, Missouri Valley College and Oklahoma State University – before he returned to Canada to suit up with the independent Northern League’s Edmonton Cracker-Cats for three seasons starting in 2005. It was while with the Cats that he was scouted by Canadian Baseball Hall of Famer Rob Ducey (Cambridge, Ont.), who then worked for the Blue Jays. Richmond would sign with the Blue Jays on October 20, 2007.

The then-28-year-old Richmond rocketed through the Blue Jays system, making just 24 starts between double-A and triple-A, before being promoted to the big leagues on July 30, 2008.

In all, Richmond would pitch parts of four seasons with the Blue Jays between 2008 and 2012, before taking the mound for parts of two seasons in the Texas Rangers organization and for another with the independent American Association’s Wichita Wingnuts in 2015. He also pitched in the Chinese Professional Baseball League in 2016 and 2017.

Richmond has also pitched on some of the Canada’s most successful national teams, including on the gold medal-winning 2011 and 2015 Pan Am Games clubs. He recorded a save in Canada’s 2-1 upset win over the U.S. in the gold medal contest in 2011

Richmond had wanted to join the Auckland club earlier this year.

"It didn't work at the beginning of the season, but it's going to work now," Richmond told Reive.

"I always wanted to play for the first professional team in New Zealand, I have ties to New Zealand and it's pretty exciting to be down there. I've been getting ready because, ever since plans to join the team fell through early on, I was trying to play in Venezuela and the Dominican Republic but things weren't quite working out so I kept throwing and kept getting ready and (Baseball New Zealand chief executive Ryan Flynn) checked back in."