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In the Minors: Canadians to watch

‘In the Minors’ will be a regular feature on that will highlight Canadian’s in the minor leagues.

This week we profile three BC natives, two of which are on the cusp of realizing their big-league dreams, while the other is looking to get back. We also look at a high draft that is just starting his first full professional season.

Taylor Green (Comox, BC) – Nashville Sounds (AAA)

Green has made the jump to AAA after a brief stint at AA Hunstville in the Milwaukee Brewers organization. So far, Green has 3 homeruns in just 25 at-bats to give him an impressive 1.153 OPS. The 22nd round selection in 2005 out of Cypress College is entering his 6th professional season and now finds himself one level shy of the big-league’s. Last season with Huntsville, Green batted .260 with 81 RBI while belting 13 homeruns. Green ended the season by playing for Canada at the Pan Am Games Qualifier in Puerto Rico.

Marcus Knecht (Toronto, ON) – (A)

Marcus Knecht realized his dream last June when he was selected in the 3rd round of the MLB Draft by his hometown Toronto Blue Jays. Knecht powered his way into the 3rd round by swatting 23 homeruns with Connors State Junior College. After signing with the Jays immediately after the draft, Knecht played at Short-Season Auburn where he hit 5 homeruns while batting .268 in 61 games. This season, Knecht joins fellow Canadian and former Junior National Team teammate Michael Crouse (Port Moody, BC) on the Lansing Lugnuts in the Midwest League. Through 8 games Knecht is batting .310 with 7 RBI.

Shawn Bowman (Port Moody, BC) – Gwinnett (AAA)

Veteran Shawn Bowman has moved on to his third organization with the Atlanta Braves. After ripping apart AA pitching at New Hampshire (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate) in 2010 with 22 homeruns, Bowman is now looking to do the same in AAA with Gwinnett. Originally a 12th round selection of the Mets in 2002, this will be Bowman’s first crack at the AAA level. An Eastern League All-Star in 2010, Bowman is a Junior National Team alumnus (2002) and also has represented Canada with the Senior team at the World Cup (2009), World Baseball Classic (2009) and Pan Am Qualifier (2010). Bowman has 2 homeruns through 9 games this season.

Scott Mathieson (Aldergrove, BC) – Lehigh Valley IronPigs (AAA)

Mathieson is back at AAA Lehigh Valley where he recorded 26 saves and was the Phillies Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010. After breaking into the big-league’s as a starter with the Phillies in 2006, Mathieson underwent three arm surgeries that have set-back his career. Mathieson has had a strong start to the season by fanning 9 through 6 innings of work and picking up a save. Look for Mathieson to make a push for spot in the Phillies bullpen as the team challenges for the National League East pennant.