My dad, Ralph Glew, in the middle between Joe Carter and Devon White.

April 7, 2024

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Some Canadian baseball news and notes:

-Happy Birthday to my favourite baseball player of all-time – my dad, Ralph Glew! Mickey Mantle was his hero growing up, but I remember my dad as more of a Tony Gwynn-type batter in his slo-pitch games with the Dorchester Standbys. I recall him as a left-handed hitter with some pop in his bat, but rather than focus on home runs, he preferred to exploit holes in the opposing defence and hit the ball to all fields (Unfortunately, I didn’t keep a spray chart on him). Most importantly though my dad is a thoughtful and supportive man who has been a great role model for me. I’m lucky to have him as my dad.

-And it’s fitting that the Toronto Blue Jays played their first regular season game on my dad’s birthday 47 years ago. A New York Yankees fan since his childhood, my dad now often plans his schedule around Blue Jays games and he watched their first game on TV on that historic snowy April 7th in 1977. Doug Ault walloped two home runs for the Blue Jays and Vancouver native and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dave McKay started at third base and registered the game-winning RBI in the Blue Jays’ 9-5 victory over the Chicago White Sox at Exhibition Stadium. You can watch some highlights here:

-A change of scenery seems to be just what Tyler O’Neill (Maple Ridge, B.C.) needed. Traded to the Boston Red Sox by the St. Louis Cardinals on December 8, the right-handed hitting slugger is batting .360 with four home runs in eight games this season. This is O’Neill’s seventh major league season. The 28-year-old slugger joined the Sox after enduring two injury-riddled campaigns with the Cardinals. In 2023, O’Neill batted .231 with nine home runs and 21 RBIs in 72 games.

-O’Neill’s Red Sox teammate, Nick Pivetta (Victoria, B.C.), has also been outstanding. On Wednesday, he tossed five scoreless innings against the Oakland A’s and earned the win in the Sox 1-0 victory. This came after the 6-foot-5 right-hander allowed just one run on four hits, while striking out 10, against the Seattle Mariners in his first start of the campaign on March 29. Through two starts, Pivetta owns a 0.82 ERA and has struck out 13 in 11 innings. The Junior National Team alum is in his eighth big league campaign and his fourth with the Sox.

Cade Smith (Abbotsford, B.C.) has been lights out for the Cleveland Guardians this season. Photo: MLB.com

-It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Cade Smith (Abbotsford, B.C.) has been the Cleveland Guardians’ most effective reliever so far this season. In four appearances, he has struck out 10 batters in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. He has allowed just one hit. On March 30, he became the first Canadian to make their major league debut in 2024 when he struck out five batters in two scoreless innings in relief in the Guardians’ 12-3 win over the A’s. Last season, the 24-year-old right-hander fanned 95 batters in 62 2/3 innings in 47 appearances between the double-A Akron RubberDucks and the triple-A Columbus Clippers. 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, saves (15) and strikeouts per nine innings (13.6).

–Abraham Toro (Longueuil, Que.) clubbed his first home run of the season for the A’s on Friday. It was a solo shot off Detroit Tigers’ starter Tarik Skubal in the seventh inning in the A’s 5-4 loss at Comerica Park. Acquired from the Milwaukee Brewers on November 15, Toro signed a one-year, $1.275-million contract with the A’s just two days later. Toro was impressive in his limited major league action with the Brewers in 2023. In nine games, he went 8-for-18, good for a .444 batting average with two home runs and nine RBIs. He spent the bulk of the campaign with the triple-A Nashville Sounds where he hit .291 with a .374 OBP with eight home runs and 58 RBIs in 96 contests. This is his sixth big league season.

-On Monday, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander James Paxton (Ladner, B.C.) tossed five scoreless innings against the San Francisco Giants to earn a win in his first start of the season. The veteran lefty struck out five and walked five in the Dodgers’ 8-3 victory. It was the first regular season start Paxton has made in the month of April since 2021 when he was with the Mariners. Paxton signed a one-year deal with the Dodgers in February after going 7-5 with a 4.50 ERA in 19 starts for the Red Sox last season. Prior to that, he had missed almost two full seasons after undergoing Tommy John surgery. A North Delta Blue Jays and Junior National Team alum, the 35-year-old Paxton is in his 11th major league season.

–Shi Davidi, of Sportsnet, reported that Jordan Romano, who’s working his way back from elbow inflammation, threw his second bullpen session in Dunedin on Thursday. Davidi wrote that the next step in Romano’s recovery will be to throw live batting practice today. If all goes well after that, Romano will start a rehab assignment in the minors. The 30-year-old righty struck out six batters and had a 2.08 ERA in 4 1/3 innings in five Grapefruit League appearances before being sidelined this spring. In 59 games in 2023, the hard-throwing Canadian recorded a 2.90 ERA and matched his career-high with 36 saves. Originally chosen in the 10th round of the MLB draft by the Blue Jays in 2014, Romano is heading into his sixth major league season.

–Michael Soroka (Calgary, Alta.) had a strong second start for the White Sox on Thursday, permitting just two runs, while striking out six, in six innings against the Kansas City Royals. This was an improvement from his first start on March 30 in which he allowed four runs on seven hits in five innings against the Detroit Tigers. Soroka was traded to the Sox by the Atlanta Braves on November 16 after posting a 6.40 ERA in seven big league games last season. Those were his first major league appearances since he tore his right Achilles tendon for the first time on August 3, 2020. Soroka spent the bulk of 2023 with the triple-A Gwinnett Stripers, going 4-4 with a 3.41 ERA in 17 starts. A graduate of the Calgary Redbirds and Junior National Team, Soroka was a first-round pick (28th overall) of the Braves in 2015.

-Happy Birthday to Blue Jays reporter Hazel Mae! She is now in her 24th year in TV broadcasting. She began her career in the Toronto sports media in 2001 when she anchored the morning edition of Sportsnet Central and was the host of JZone, a weekly show devoted to the Blue Jays. From 2004 to 2008, she worked in Boston and served as the lead anchor on the New England Sports Network’s (NESN) Sports Desk and hosted The Ultimate Red Sox show, which was NESN’s weekly Red Sox show. In 2008, she was hired by the MLB Network where she worked on the Emmy Award-winning studio show, MLB Tonight, and hosted a highlight program called Quick Pitch. In September 2011, she returned to Sportsnet to anchor the 6 p.m. edition of Sportsnet Central. Four years later, she began her current job as an in-game reporter during Blue Jays telecasts. She has also done an outstanding job of emceeing the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for the past three years. We are lucky to have her on Blue Jays broadcasts.

-On this date 20 years ago, Simon Pond (North Vancouver, B.C.) made his major league debut with the Blue Jays. He started in right field and went 0-for-2 against the Tigers in the Blue Jays’ 6-3 loss at SkyDome. Pond, who was originally drafted by the Montreal Expos 10 years earlier, made the Blue Jays in 2004 after a sensational spring that saw him bat .338 and top the Blue Jays with 23 hits. Unfortunately, his hot streak didn’t carry over to the regular season and he went 8-for-49 (.163 batting average) in 16 games and was sent to the minors. That would be his only taste of big league action.

Bill Stoneman turns 80 today.

-Happy 80th Birthday to former Expos pitcher and executive Bill Stoneman! After being selected from the Chicago Cubs in the 1969 expansion draft, Stoneman proceeded to throw the first two no-hitters in Expos’ history. In fact, he managed to toss a no-no in just the ninth game in Expos’ history when he scattered five walks and struck out eight batters in his club’s 7-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium on April 17, 1969. Over three years later, on October 2, 1972, Stoneman hurled another a no-hitter when he led the Expos to 7-0 win over the New York Mets in the first game of a doubleheader at Jarry Park. This marked the first time that a major league no-hitter had been thrown on Canadian soil. In all, Stoneman would register a 3.98 ERA in 186 appearances over parts of five seasons with the Expos. Following his playing career, after a successful tenure as an executive with Royal Trust, he returned to the Expos to serve as vice-president of business operations from 1984 to 1999. He was then hired to be the vice-president and general manager of the Los Angeles Angels and helped construct the team that won the 2002 World Series. Since 2007, he has worked as a senior advisor with the Angels.

-Some baseball trivia from longtime Canadian baseball coach John Milton: The Atlanta Braves’ High-A Rome Emperors’ first ever win – a 4-0 victory over the Hickory Crawdads on Friday – featured a couple of Canadian links. Their pitching coach was Mike Steed (Lincoln, Ont.), and Shay Schanaman, who pitched for the Western Canadian Baseball League’s Okotoks Dawgs in 2019, threw a scoreless 1 1/3 innings for the Emperors. The Emperors were known as the Rome Braves until this season.

-This week’s trivia question: After Bill Stoneman‘s two no-hitters, who was the next pitcher to toss a no-hitter for the Expos? Please provide your answer in the “Comments” section below.

-The answer to last week’s trivia question (Six different left-handed pitchers have started for the Toronto Blue Jays on Opening Day. Name three of them.) was any three of Tom Underwood, Jimmy Key, David Wells, Ricky Romero, J.A. Happ and Hyun Jin Ryu.

The post But What Do I Know? . . . Ralph Glew, Tyler O’Neill, Nick Pivetta, James Paxton appeared first on Cooperstowners in Canada.