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In the Minors: Canadians to Watch

‘In the Minors’ is a regular feature on that will highlight Canadian’s in the minor leagues during the 2011 season.

This week, we look at two players trying to get back to the big leagues, one minor league veteran and a player just starting his minor league career.

Scott Thorman (Cambridge, ON) – Toledo Mud Hens (AAA)

Thorman broke out of a slump in a big way last week by belting two homeruns and collecting four RBI in game against Charlotte. If that wasn’t enough, the former first round pick (Atlanta, 2000) went 3-for-3 the following day.  Thorman signed with Detroit in the off-season after spending two seasons in the Kansas City Royals organization. In 2010, Thorman clubbed 22 homeruns and drove-in 85 runs while hitting .280 at AAA Omaha. Thorman ended the 2010 season by wearing the Maple Leaf at the Pan Am Qualifier in Puerto Rico where he homered against the host country as Canada clinched a berth in the 2011 Pan Am Games. Thorman is looking to get back to the big leagues after playing part of 2006 and all of 2007 with the Braves.

James Avery (Maple Creek, SK) – Carolina Mudcats (AA)

After starting the season 0-3, Avery has rebounded nicely, picking up wins in each of his last three starts. The right-hander’s most impressive start to date came on May 1st where he went seven scoreless innings and only gave up four hits while striking out three batters. Avery is no stranger to the Southern League as he has pitched in the AA loop for the majority of four straight seasons. The Niagara University product pitched in the prestigious Arizona Fall League at the end of 2010, as a representative of the Cincinnati Reds organization.

Chris Bisson (Orleans, ON) – Fort Wayne TinCaps (A)

After a standout three-year career at the University of Kentucky, Bisson was rewarded by being a 4th round selection of the San Diego Padres in the 2010 MLB Draft. Bisson spent time at both the Rookie and Short Season levels while also battling some injury issues in 2010. This season, Bisson is in the Midwest League with Fort Wayne as he gets accustomed to being a professional. The speedster has five stolen bases on the year and hit his first professional homerun on May 4th. Playing second-base, Bisson has hit safely in seven out of his last ten games.

Adam Loewen (Surrey, BC) – Las Vegas 51’s (AAA)

By now everyone is familiar with Loewen’s attempt to get back to the big leagues as a position player. Forced to retire from pitching during the 2008 season because of an elbow injury, Loewen now finds himself one level away from achieving this feat with the Toronto Blue Jays. In the past week he has three homeruns, for a total of five on the season and his twenty-one total RBI’s have him tied for second on the 51’s with fellow Canadian Brett Lawrie (Langley, BC). Loewen has answered the bell for Canada throughout his career, as he starred with the Junior National Team and 06 World Baseball Classic team as a pitcher, and most recently, played in the 2009 World Cup and Pan Am Games Qualifier as an outfielder.