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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, ‘In the Minors’ features one player getting his first full taste of affiliated ball, a pitcher making the transition from reliever to starter and two minor league veterans playing in the International League.

James Paxton (Delta, BC) – Clinton LumberKings (A)

Paxton signed with the Seattle Mariners in April after being drafted by the club in the June 2010 MLB Draft. The left-hander and former standout at the University of Kentucky was quickly assigned to Clinton in the Midwest League. After three starts, Paxton looks like he is in mid-season form, although he is still looking for his first victory as member of the LumberKings. On May 13th he turned in an impressive performance as he went 6 scoreless innings and struck out a season high 10, in getting a no-decision against Wisconsin. Overall, Paxton has a 0-1 record and a 2.65 ERA through 17 innings pitched, while allowing only 6 runs (5 earned).

Chris Kissock (Trail, BC) – Reading Phillies (AA)

Kissock has shifted to the starting rotation this season in Reading after two consecutive years pitching as a reliever. Through 7 starts the 25-year old righty has a 1-4 record with a 6.81 ERA, which in part is due to two poor outings. Kissock’s best start of the season came on April 28th at Erie where he threw 7 innings of 3-hit ball and picked up the win. The 7 inning gem was followed by another 7 inning performance where Kissock fanned a season-high 6 batters. The 9th round selection of the Phillies in 2007 has represented Canada recently at the 2009 World Cup and the 2010 Pan Am Games Qualifier.

Jonathan Malo (Joliette, QC) – Buffalo Bisons (AAA)

After a short stint in AA, Malo made the jump to AAA Buffalo in the New York Mets organization. This is the third straight season in which the veteran has played at the AAA level since being signed by the Mets in 2004. The versatile Malo has seen action in the both the infield and outfield through 20 games with the Bisons. On May 14th, Malo was 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored in a loss to Louisville.  Malo is no stranger to wearing the Maple Leaf as he is a Junior National Team alumnus and also played in the 2009 World Cup and 2010 Pan Am Qualifier with the Senior National Team.

Luke Carlin (Aylmer, QC) – Columbus Clippers (AAA)

Carlin is putting together a fine with the Clippers in hopes of getting another call-up to the big leagues. The product of Northeastern University has been called up to ‘the show’ in each of the past three seasons, including 2010 with Cleveland after winning the AAA National Championship with Columbus. All Carlin has done this year is hit .300 with 3 homers and 16 RBI. Through 26 games, the switch hitter is also proving to have a keen eye at the plate by virtue of his 19 walks and a .449 OBP. The 10th round selection of the Detroit Tigers back in 2002 last wore the red and white at the 2009 World Baseball Classic.