Ian Denomme

  • Canada faces tough road in defending Pan Am Games baseball gold medal

    Ian Denomme at Eh Game 8 hrs ago

    A revamped format, stiff competition, and the usual roster uncertainty means Ernie Whitt has his work cut out for him this July. But Whitt, the manager of Canada’s Pan Am Games baseball team, remembers the feeling of winning gold in 2011 and is intent on feeling it again on home soil in 2015.

    “I get chills thinking about it,” Whitt said on Monday. “I remember the players running onto the field celebrating. For a lot of them, it was their World Series. It was an honour to be a part of it. I’ll never forget it.”

    The schedule for the week-long tournament, which will be held in Ajax, Ont., was released on Monday. Canada opens with a game against the Dominican Republic on July 11, faces powerful Cuba on July 14, and closes the round robin against the United States on July 17. In all, the team will play six preliminary games then the top four teams advance to the semi-finals. In years past teams played just three preliminary games within two pools of four. With only seven teams entered this year the format was changed and the road to the medal-round made that much more grueling.

    Playing in that kind of high-stakes atmosphere is something Whitt considers when building his team.

  • Bryan Stow takes big step in recovery, throws out first pitch at minor-league game

    Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 3 days ago

    Bryan Stow, the San Francisco Giants fan who was nearly beaten to death four years ago outside Dodger Stadium, took another big step in his inspirational road to recovery on Thursday night.

    Stow attended the home opener of the Class-A San Jose Giants and threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Jimmy Durkin of the San Jose Mercury News described the scene at Municipal Stadium:

    Welcome to Opening Night for the @SJGiants. Big moment tonight as Bryan Stow will throw out the first pitch. pic.twitter.com/qehIjkq4uD

    Bryan Stow waves to fans as he's wheeled onto the field. http://t.co/dD0hts9PdB

    Stow was accompanied by his sister and two children for the event, and said he will attend the Giants-Dodgers game in San Francisco next week. More from Durkin:

    "A lot was going through my brain," Stow said. "I would love to do it again. When do they play again? Tomorrow? I can be here tomorrow."

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  • Rogers Centre’s new turf has the attention of Major League Baseball

    Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 4 days ago

    It’s only been three games, but already there are concerns about the new artificial turf at the Rogers Centre, the home of the Toronto Blue Jays. In the 26 years since its opening, the Rogers Centre, neé SkyDome, has gone through five different kinds of turf – from the original AstroTurf that looked like a billiards table to the new AstroTurf 3D Xtreme, which was installed this past offseason.

    But the early returns have not been overly positive. The new turf looks a little bit more like real grass, but it is noticeably softer, is slowing down ground balls, and has seen some unpredictable bounces. According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, Major League Baseball is keeping an eye on it.

    #MLB is actively monitoring the turf situation at Rogers Centre due to irregular bounces on the surface, source says.

    #MLB has not arrived at any conclusions or resolutions about Rogers Centre turf, but league concerned about anything affecting fair play.

    It’s hard to say just how much slower the ball rolls on the new turf, but it has the attention of players, as well as the league.

  • Robinson Cano has costly, embarrassing baserunning blunder

    Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 4 days ago

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    By all accounts, Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano appears to be a smart player with a high baseball IQ. Unfortunately for the struggling Mariners, that IQ briefly eluded Cano on Wednesday night.

    Trailing 5-2 in the sixth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Mariners were threatening with Cano on third, Nelson Cruz on second and just one out. Logan Morrison then worked a walk off Dodgers reliever Paco Rodriguez when Cano inexplicably started casually jogging toward home. The great Vin Scully aptly described the scene above.

    The only explanation is that Cano thought the bases were already loaded and he’d just been walked in. The baserunning blunder proved costly, too. Instead of having the bases loaded with one out and the go-ahead run coming to the plate, the Mariners instead had runners on first and second with two out. The next batter was Mike Zunino, who promptly grounded into a fielder’s choice.

    The Dodgers held on for a 5-2 win and completed a three-game sweep of the Mariners, who fell to 3-6.

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  • Dickey, Blue Jays lose another home opener

    Ian Denomme at Eh Game 7 days ago

    TORONTO – The third time was not the charm for R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays. Dickey lost his third consecutive home opener, the Blue Jays’ fourth overall, falling 2-1 to the Tampa Bay Rays in a dull game on Monday night.

    Dickey’s command of his knuckleball was fleeting as he struck out six over six innings but also hit a batter and walked five more, including walking in both runs with the bases loaded. Meanwhile, the Blue Jays offence had no answer for Rays starter Jake Odorizzi who pitched a gem going eight innings with just one run on two hits.

    The Rays did all their damage in the fourth when Dickey gave up two singles and walked three batters.

    “I lost my release point a little bit in the fourth, and they did a really good job of laying off some close pitches,” Dickey said. “I didn’t make the big pitch when I had to… I hold myself responsible.”

    The Blue Jays threatened to rally in the ninth when Jose Bautista led off with a walk. But then he inexplicably took off for second just as Edwin Encarnacion was striking out. The double play snuffed out any hope of a comeback.

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  • Brewers minor-league team sets off on 55-game road trip

    Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 10 days ago

    Johnny Cash has got nothing on the Biloxi Shuckers. The Double-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brwers is about to embark on a 55-game road trip through the Southern League, and by the end of it each of the players will be able to confidently say “I’ve Been Everywhere.”

    Road trips are a part of life in the minor leagues but the first-year team is being forced to take to the road for 60 days because their brand new stadium is not done being built. Even the proposed June 6 home opener is not a sure thing.

    The franchise moved from Huntsville to Biloxi in the offseason, lured partly by the promise of a $36 million stadium. It is expected to a beautiful facility -- eventually.

    Due to various issues, including construction delays, it probably won't be ready for two more months.

    In the meantime, there will be a lot of bus rides, hotels and trips to Applebee's. The expected toll: 60 straight nights in a hotel, 55 games, nine different cities and some frayed nerves.

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  • Albert Pujols joins elite company on home run list; how high can he go?

    Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 11 days ago

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    When he blasted his first homer of the season on Wednesday night, Albert Pujols climbed another rung on the all-time home run list and joined some pretty elite company. Home run No. 521 moved him into a tie for 18 th place, along with Hall of Famers Willie McCovey, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams. Not bad for a former 13th-round draft pick.

    Up next on the list are Jimmie Foxx and Mickey Mantle, both of whom Pujols could pass this year. Though Pujols’ numbers have declined slightly since joining the Angles on a 10-year deal in 2012, he still has a very good chance to be among the elite home-run hitters of all-time. Count on Pujols becoming the ninth member of the 600 home-run club some day.

    “The first run through the Favorite Toy gave Pujols an average of 26.7 homers per season over the remainder of his career. So let's use that figure -- 27 -- to build outward and try to get the system to peg his likely retirement date of post-2021.


    Under those parameters, the Favorite Toy projects Pujols for 699 career homers and gives him a 49 percent chance of reaching 700.”

  • Everything goes according to plan for Blue Jays in Opening Day win

    Ian Denomme at Eh Game 14 days ago

    A strong starting pitching performance, rookies stepping up, stars coming up with big hits – the Toronto Blue Jays got it all on Opening Day in a 6-1 win over the New York Yankees. Don’t plan the parade yet, but it was the kind of all-around performance that, if done with regularity over 162 games, will have fans excited about the Blue Jays ending their playoff drought.

    Starter Drew Hutchison set the tone with an impressive performance in his first career Opening Day start. He went six innings, giving up just one run on three hits, and striking out three. Hutchison is two years removed from Tommy John surgery but had a solid season last year and is a popular pick to have a breakout season in 2015.

    Offensively there were several bright spots. The Blue Jays put up five runs in the third inning thanks to a two-run single by Russell Martin, his first hit as a Blue Jay, and a two-run home run by Edwin Encarnacion.

    The Blue Jays have an off day Tuesday then resume their series with the Yankees Wednesday night with R.A. Dickey taking the mound against Michael Pineda.

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  • Blue Jays bring youthful squad north for Opening Day

    Ian Denomme at Eh Game 19 days ago

    The 2015 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays will have something no previous team has ever had – two players who weren’t even born the last time the Blue Jays made the playoffs way, way back in 1993. That’s not a dig at the team that holds the longest playoff drought in professional sports as much as it is a sign of just how young the team is.

    With Opening Day just five days away, the Blue Jays all-but-finalized their 25-man roster on Tuesday and it includes a pair of 20-year-old pitchers in the bullpen in Miguel Castro and Roberto Osuna. Both youngsters turned heads in spring training and earned roster nods, at least to begin the season. But they’re not alone. Mixed in with greybeards like R.A. Dickey, 40, and Mark Buehrle, 36, are a number of players who aren’t old enough to grow beards.

    Here’s what the Blue Jays lineup should look like on Opening Day:

    1. Josey Reyes, SS 2. Russell Martin, C 3. Jose Bautista, RF 4. Edwin Encarnacion, DH 5. Josh Donaldson, 3B 6. Justin Smoak, 1B 7. Kevin Pillar, LF 8. Dalton Pompey, CF 9. Devon Travis, 2B

  • Marcus Stroman's injury doesn't ruin Blue Jays' hopes of contending

    Ian Denomme at Big League Stew 1 mth ago

    Up until Tuesday afternoon, it seemed like 2015 might finally be the year everything went right for the Toronto Blue Jays. Sure, there were some question marks and position battles heading into spring training, but in what is considered to be a down year for the American League East, the Blue Jays seemed like contenders to end the longest playoff drought in professional sports.

    After a routine pitchers' fielding practice drill went awry, is that still the case?

    The Blue Jays were expecting Stroman, 23, to build off his impressive rookie campaign and give them 200-plus innings as part of a rotation that is good, but not great. His injury now leaves R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, and Drew Hutchison as the only established starters in the rotation. Hutchison himself is only 24 and two years removed from Tommy John surgery. He had a solid 2014 season in which he had a 4.48 ERA in 184.2 innings but is far from a sure thing.

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