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Canada Looking Good in First Classic Tune-up

DUNEDIN, FL – The offence found its groove and the pitching was solid in Team Canada’s first Spring Training game as the Canadians took care of the Toronto Blue Jays 6-4.

Justin Morneau (New Westminster, BC) led the way offensively for the Canadians going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Peter Orr (Newmarket, ON) knocked in a pair of runs with a double, going 1-for-3 on the day and Luke Carlin (Aylmer, QC) also had a two-run double, going 1-for-2.

On the mound, Scott Richmond (North Vancouver, BC) threw a solid two and two-thirds innings, allowing a pair of runs on four hits with one walk and two strikeouts. For Richmond, it was all about getting things right.

“I just wanted to go out there and work on my pitches,” says Richmond. “I think I got it down. I worked on my breaking ball and it looked good. I just want to get the kinks out.”

As for when he will take the mound next, that is yet to be determined. But when the call comes, Richmond will be eager to get the ball.

“I’m just going to be ready. I’m ready. It’s only my second start of the spring, but I came into camp in shape so I can handle (the work load).”

Russell Martin (Chelsea, QC), who came into camp with a minor foot injury, looked healthy and ready to compete going 1-for-2 with a double and a walk and was solid defensively behind the plate. But in exhibition play, Martin is taking it one day at a time.

“Right now I’m just taking the necessary precautions to make sure that I can be as good as I can be when the tournament starts,” says Martin.

“It’s a hundred times better now than when it first happened. Moving behind the plate I’m not a hundred percent but there’s still four days before the tournament starts and like I said it already feels a hundred times better.”

One thing that was on display today on this edition of Team Canada is more balance at the plate. There are six right handed hitters this time around, a rare commodity in 2006. Manager Ernie Whitt will have more options to matchup in this year’s tournament.

“Today was the first time I’ve seen (Chris) Barnwell play and I’ve looked at his numbers and he has really good numbers with a good on base percentage and he’s a hardnosed player. So it’s nice to have him as a right-handed hitter,” says Whitt.

“We have Martin, we’ve got (Jason) Bay so it does break it up a little bit.”

Team Canada on the mound we’re able to hold the Blue Jays to four runs on 11 hits with three walks on nine strikeouts. Chris Begg (Uxbridge, ON) got the win, allowing only one run on three hits with three strikeouts over two and one-third innings.

David Davidson (St. Catherines, ON) earned the save pitching a perfect ninth with one punch out.

Team Canada will hit the field again on Wednesday, March 4th against the Philadelphia Phillies in Clearwater. Game time is 1:05 pm and Vince Perkins (Victoria, BC) is scheduled to start for Canada.