* Former Blue Jays first round pick Shawn Green worked out with the Canadian Women’s National Team outfielders on the first day of training camp. .... 2014 Canadians in the Minors … Canadians drafted … Canadians in College 2015 Canadian draft list Letters of Intent
By Alexis Brudnicki
SURREY, BC - When Shawn Green arrived at Whalley Athletic Park on Tuesday afternoon, he wasn’t sure what to expect.
The two-time Major League Baseball All-Star, Silver Slugger and Gold Glover had never spent any time around women’s baseball before joining the Canadian Women’s National Team for their first full-squad workout before heading to the IBAF Women’s Baseball World Cup in Miyazaki, Japan from Sept. 1-7.
“I’ve seen some great softball players, but to see these women catching fly balls and taking infield, it looks similar to men’s teams and that’s great,” Green said. “It’s definitely impressive. You’ve got to commend the players and the coaches.”
Before heading to the batting cage to work with the hitters, the former first-round pick of the Toronto Blue Jays assisted the outfielders, offering what he could and sharing the wisdom he picked up over 15 big-league seasons in right field with the Blue Jays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets.
“They’ve got it under control,” Green said. “They know what they’re doing and they have good coaches here. It’s just a matter of if there are a couple little tips that helped me along the way that I can share that might help, that would be great.
“It’s not like I can come out for an hour or two and revamp someone’s swing or anything, but they look really good. Just watching them, I’d be surprised if they weren’t one of the favourites to win the World Cup.”
During the first of five practices for Team Canada before travelling to Japan on Friday for a four-game exhibition series in Tokyo prior to opening the World Cup tournament against the Netherlands, Green worked closely with former national squad player and current assistant coach Patricia Landry in the outfield, who was also able to learn from his observations.
“It was good to have his insight about his approach,” Landry said. “He talked about how to play line drives, the footwork, and one thing he said that was good that we don’t talk about a lot were his eyes, and that was very important.
“He said he always starts with the dominant eye to the side, not facing straight, and it was interesting. I think the girls appreciated his feedback because he was with us in the outfield and would talk to the girls after they caught the ball.
“He was really involved, he would talk to the girls before and then after each [drill], and he also talked about the mental approach and how he focused.It was a mix of the technical aspects and the mental aspects [of the game] so it was good.”
Heading to Vancouver to make an appearance at the Canadians game, Toronto’s Northwest League affiliate, on Tuesday night, the timing was perfect for Green to step in as a guest coach on the first day of national team camp in Surrey.
“Through the Blue Jays, [team manager Andre Lachance] and I connected and it worked out really well that I was able to get out here,” Green said. “It’s fun for me to come out. I’ve never worked with a women’s baseball team and just watching them throw the ball around, they’re really impressive.
“And it’s great for Canada to see how far along the game has come in the sense of the time that I was with the Blue Jays to now. It’s really become embedded in the culture.”
The tournament in Miyazaki will be the sixth World Cup event for Team Canada. At the most recent event in Edmonton in 2012, the Canadian women earned a bronze medal, adding to two other bronze medals and a silver in previous World Cup competition.