Abraham Toro had 39 hits for the A’s in May. Photo: Oakland A’s

June 2, 2024

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Some Canadian baseball news and notes from the past week:

–Abraham Toro (Longueuil, Que.) finished the month of May with 39 hits for the Oakland A’s. That was the most in the major leagues. It’s also more than any A’s player has had in May since 1989 when Carney Lansford had 39 hits. In total, Toro batted .315 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 28 games in May. The versatile ABC alum has been used at first base, second base, third base and in the outfield by the A’s this season. Now in his sixth big league campaign, the 27-year-old Canadian is leading A’s hitters in hits (61) and runs (30) and is batting .282.

-Colorado Rockies right-hander Cal Quantrill (Port Hope, Ont.) has to be a strong candidate for the National League Pitcher of the Month for May. In five starts with the Rockies, he went 4-0 with a 1.71 ERA and he fanned 32 batters in 31 2/3 innings. He never pitched less than six innings or allowed more than two earned runs in any of his starts. For the season, the Ontario Terriers and Junior National Team alum has a 3.84 ERA in 12 starts. The 29-year-right-hander was traded to the Rockies by the Guardians on November 17 after being limited to 19 starts by shoulder woes last season.

-Red Sox right-hander Nick Pivetta (Victoria, B.C.) fanned eight Detroit Tigers batters in a row in his start on Thursday. That tied Roger Clemens‘ franchise record set on April 29, 1986 against the Seattle Mariners. Pivetta struck out the last two batters of the first inning and then whiffed the side in the second and third innings. In total, the Junior National Team alum struck out nine batters and allowed two runs in 5 1/3 innings but was saddled with a tough-luck loss to the Tigers. In seven starts this season, the Junior National Team grad is 2-4 with a 4.08 ERA with 42 strikeouts in 35 1/3 innings. He is in his eighth big league campaign and his fourth with the Sox.

-Cleveland Guardians right-hander Cade Smith (Abbotsford, B.C.) picked up his second win of his major league career on Tuesday. The 25-year-old right-hander struck out three in 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief in the Guardians’ 13-7 victory over the Rockies at Coors Field. In 25 big league appearances, spanning 25 1/3 innings, in 2024, Smith owns a 1.78 ERA and has 38 strikeouts. Signed by the Guardians as a free agent in 2020 out of the University of Hawaii, the Junior National Team and Abbotsford Cardinals grad topped all Canuck minor league pitchers in 2023 in appearances (47), saves (15) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.6).

-In the same contest that Smith recorded his second win, Josh Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) belted two home runs to propel the Guardians’ offence. It was the third, two-home run game of Naylor’s big league career. On May 9, 2022, he went deep twice against the Chicago White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field and on July 18, 2023, he socked a pair of homers against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. The Ontario Blue Jays and Junior National Team grad has 15 home runs in 54 games this season. He belted 17 in 121 contests in 2023. The Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame also noted that Naylor played his 500th major league game on Friday to become the 33rd Canuck to reach that milestone.

-Left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) remains undefeated through 10 starts with the Los Angeles Dodgers this season. The 35-year-old southpaw pitched three scoreless innings in his start against the New York Mets on Wednesday before he was removed after 50 pitches. Paxton was starting on four days’ rest and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts had told him before the game that his pitch count would be limited. Paxton is 5-0 with a 3.29 ERA this season and has 31 strikeouts in 52 innings.

-I’m sending my best to Fergie Jenkins (Chatham, Ont.) who underwent shoulder surgery on Tuesday. After the procedure, he posted a photo of himself on his Facebook page with the caption; “Thank you all for your prayers. Healing well.” So, the resilient 81-year-old baseball legend is on the road to recovery. Jenkins is scheduled to be at the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in St. Marys on June 15. And it wouldn’t be a proper induction ceremony without Jenkins there to put the jackets on the new inductees.

-I would also like to send my best to Jenkins’ friend and fellow Chatham, Ont., native and ex-big leaguer Bill Atkinson who recently underwent knee surgery. Atkinson, who posted a 3.42 ERA in 98 appearances in parts of four seasons with the Montreal Expos, has been a very active ambassador for the Chatham-Kent Barnstormers, a new Intercounty Baseball League team, this season.

-I just discovered this great card (above) that Topps created of Tyler Black (Stouffville, Ont.) after his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers on April 30. According to Topps, 1,838 of these cards were printed and they are now sold out. Black went 2-for-4 with a double and a single in his major league debut against the Tampa Bay Rays and 5-for-22 in seven games with the Brewers overall before being sent back down to the triple-A Nashville Sounds.

-On this date 38 years ago, the Toronto Blue Jays selected Pat Hentgen in the fifth round of the MLB draft out of Fraser High School in Michigan. Hentgen, of course, developed into a key pitcher for two World Series-winning Blue Jays teams and became the franchise’s first Cy Young Award winner in 1996. It was an excellent fifth-round pick by the Blue Jays, but Hentgen was actually the fourth right-handed pitcher chosen by the Blue Jays in the 1986 draft. The right-handers the Blue Jays took ahead of Hentgen were Earl Sanders (first round), Steve Cummings (second round) and RHP Xavier Hernandez (fourth round),

-June 2 is a sad day in major league history. It’s a day when some of the game’s biggest legends have chosen to retire: Babe Ruth (1935), Rod Carew (1986) and Ken Griffey Jr. (2010). It’s also the day Lou Gehrig died in 1941.

-This week’s trivia question: Who is the player in the photo below? Hint: He was the first Toronto Blue Jays player to hit a grand slam in a regular season game and he hit it off Cy Young Award winner Ron Guidry. Hint 2: Earlier in his career, he played for the Montreal Expos. Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.

-The answer to last week’s trivia question (Who is the only player to have represented the Montreal Expos and Toronto Blue Jays in the MLB All-Star Game (meaning he was chosen as the Expos rep one year and then as the Blue Jays rep in another year)?) was Ron Fairly. He was an all-star with the Expos in 1973 and with the Blue Jays in 1977.

The post But What Do I Know? . . . Abraham Toro, Cal Quantrill, Nick Pivetta, Pat Hentgen appeared first on Cooperstowners in Canada.