DUNEDIN, Fla. – CANADIAN CLASSIC
Philadelphia Phillies manager Rob Thomson has had a few months to reflect on his team’s long post-season run last fall.
The Canadian took over as skipper in June when the Phillies were 22-29. He helped turn things around and led the Phillies all the way to the World Series, where they dropped a six-game series to the Houston Astros.
After the dust settled, Thomson said his brother asked him how it really felt to manage in the Fall Classic.
“I said before the game and after the game, it felt like the World Series because it was just all the media and all the stuff that you have to do,” Thomson said at a Grapefruit League availability of managers and GMs at the Blue Jays’ spring complex.
“But during the game, I don’t know why, I just could lock in and it was just like any other game. We went through our normal process and I think the players did the same thing.”
Thomson, a native of Sarnia, Ont., grew up in nearby Corunna, Ont.
He became the first Canadian to serve as a manager in the World Series since 1887, when Bill Watkins of Brantford, Ont., guided the Detroit Wolverines to victory over the St. Louis Browns.
WILL RICK STICK?
Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White are the favourites to land the No. 5 starter role with the Blue Jays this spring, but prospect Ricky Tiedemann also presents an intriguing option for team brass.
The 20-year-old left-hander was 5-4 with a 2.17 earned-run average in the minor leagues last season. The six-foot-four 220-pounder is the team’s top prospect and is ranked No. 32 on the MLB list.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said he doesn’t think the club needs to temper his expectations at all but rather have him focus on the process.
“He is as focused on it as any young player that I’ve been around,” Atkins said.
Tiedemann, a native of Long Beach, Calif., was selected by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2021 draft.
Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk will be a late arrival at camp as his fiancée could give birth at any time over the coming days.
The couple announced the baby news on Instagram last August, posing by home plate at Rogers Centre and holding up a small red jersey with Kirk’s No. 30 on the back.
Blue Jays manager John Schneider has provided updates at the end of his media availabilities in recent days.
“Still on baby watch,” he said Friday afternoon. “I thought it was going to be yesterday but my last update this morning was ‘Not quite yet.’
“Hopefully soon,” he added with a smile.
Kirk, a Tijuana resident, will represent Mexico at next month’s World Baseball Classic.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2023.
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