By Chris Stewart (Island Sports News) – The nice sunny weather the past few days reminds us that the 2012 baseball season is not far off! Here is an update of a few Victoria related baseball items.
West Coast League a No Go for 2012
The West Coast wood-bat College League that was rumoured last year to be coming to Royal Athletic Park this season is a no go. West Coast President Ken Wilson says the league is shooting to be in Victoria for the 2013 season.
Saunders Faces Tough Competition in Mariner's Outfield
Although they are not required to report to the Seattle Mariner's Spring Training Camp until Friday, Victoria native Michael Saunders has arrived early to the Mariner's facility in Arizona to get a jump on the 2012 season. Saunders split time last year between the big club and AAA affiliate Tacoma and will looking to vie for a full-time spot this year against the likes of a large group of Mariner outfield candidates that includes Mike Carp, Casper Wells, Carlos Peguero, Johermyn Chavez, Chih-Hsien Chiang and Trayvon Robinson, who came to the team from the Dodgers at the trade deadline last season. With Ichiro Suzuki and Franklin Gutierrez the likely incumbants for right and center-field respectively, the competition will be fierce for the starting left-field spot.
Victoria's Hodges Named to National Junior Squad
Victoria Mariner Premier and Greater Victoria Minor Baseball star Jesse Hodges has been invited to the 2012 Canadian National Junior Team Camp in Tampa Bay starting March 4th and will vie for a spot on the team with 35 other candidates. The team will also hold a camp in Orlando in April, conduct a two week tour through the Dominican Republic in May, with the culmination being an appearance at the 2012 world Junior's in Seoul, Korea in August.
Oakland's Harden to Sit Out Season After Surgery
Victoria native Rich Harden, who pitched last year for the Oakland A's, will sit out the entire 2012 season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right shoulder capsule. The injury has plagued Harden for some time and limited his effectiveness on the mound with the A's and prior to that with the Rangers and Cubs. Harden will rehab this year and hope to sign on with a big league club as a free agent in 2013.
2012 Spring Minor Baseball Registration Now On!
If your son or daughter is looking to play minor baseball this spring in Victoria, registration is now on at all parks for both Greater Victoria Minor Baseball and Little League. Please visit their web sites for details at www.victoriabaseball.com and http://www.littleleaguevictoria.org
Marty Hall Joins Eagles High Performance Program
The Victoria Eagles organization are pleased to announce the addition of Marty Hall to the High Performance Division for 2012. Marty will assist the Premier and Junior Premier teams with indoor clinics and practices during the Spring Season. The role will help foster consistency between the coaching instruction at the Junior Premier and Premier levels. Marty Hall comes to the Eagles with an extensive coaching and playing resume. Having played his college baseball at Cochise College in Arizona, Marty went on to a pro career with both the Oakland Athletics and Houston Astros. He has also coached professionally for the Victoria Capitals and Victoria Royals, as well as internationally in Australia, Germany and the Dominican Republic. He was coach of the 2002 Victoria team that captured Gold at the National Championships. He has coached during their youth some of the top players to come out of Victoria including Vince Perkins (Toronto Blue Jays/Milwaukee Brewers/Chicago White Sox), Chris Mears (Detroit Tigers), Jason Blackey (Boston Red Sox), Henry Mabee (Chicago White Sox), Mike Saunders (Seattle Mariners) and Rich Harden (Oakland A's) to name a few.