OTTAWA- Twenty-eight players have been named to the Junior National Team roster that will travel to Cuba to participate in a nine game series against the Cuban Junior National Team from July 3rd -10th.
The Cuba Summer Series is an important step for the JNT as they prepare for the Americas World Junior Qualifier scheduled for September 23rd - October 2nd in Cartagena, Colombia. The top four countries in Colombia will qualify for the 2012 World Junior Baseball Championship in Seoul, South Korea.
“In Cuba, our players will be challenged by playing in an environment that is foreign to them,” said Greg Hamilton, Head Coach and Director of National Teams for Baseball Canada. “The Cuban Junior National Team will offer a stiff challenge for our club and will give us a preview of what to expect in Colombia.”
Before travelling to Cuba, the JNT will be guests of the Toronto Blue Jays on July 1st and 2nd where they will watch the Blue Jays take-on the Philadelphia Phillies and workout at Rogers Centre at the conclusion of each game. On July 1st, the Juniors will participate in pre-game Canada Day festivities on the field at Rogers Centre.
"As the Canadian Junior National Team prepares to take on Cuba, the Blue Jays are thrilled to host the team at Rogers Centre for their workouts" said Paul Beeston, Toronto Blue Jays President and CEO. "I invite everyone to stand along with me in recognizing these fine young men and Baseball Canada prior to our game on July 1st."
Highlighting the roster is JNT veteran Tom Robson (Ladner, BC) who was the first Canadian selected in the MLB Draft earlier this month. The Toronto Blue Jays used their 4th round selection (139th overall) to nab the right-handed pitcher.
Other draft picks on the roster include: Justin Marra (Cubs, 15th); Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Phillies, 17th); Ethan Elias (Cubs, 22nd); Roberto Suppa (Padres, 26th); Jake Hansen (Mets, 30th); Skylar Janisse (Yankees, 34th); Cory Scammell (Mariners, 35th); Brendan Hendriks (Phillies, 40th); Andrew Marra (Mets, 45th).
Three players will be making their debut with the JNT as 3B/OF Johnny Caputo (Toronto, ON), C Brody Hawkins (Delta, BC) and INF Daniel Pinero (Toronto, ON) have been named to the roster.