The Team Canada roster for the upcoming Pan-Am qualifier in Brazil showcases a plethora of players with ties to the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Pan-Am Qualification Tourney kicks off January 29th and runs through to February 03rd with Canada pooled up against the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Venezuela Mexico, Nicaragua, Columbia, and Brazil. The top four teams from the qualifier will punch their ticket to the Pan-Am Games this summer in Lima, Peru.
Former Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt will once again steer the Canadian ship into International waters along with Jays alumni Paul Quantrill, Tim Leiper, and Denis Boucher. Future Hall of Famer Larry Walker and Greg Hamilton round out the Team Canada coaching staff.
Dalton Pompey will patrol the outfield for Team Canada, even though in 2017 the outfielder suffered a concussion sliding into second base during the World Baseball Classic representing his country. Pompey will be joined in the outfield by his brother Tristan Pompey who was selected in the 3rd round of the 2018 amateur draft by the Miami Marlins.
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Michael Saunders will be another familiar face playing in the tourney for Canada, the former Blue Jays All-Star recently signed a minor-league pact with the Colorado Rockies as the 32-year old attempts to kick-start his career.
Minor league hurler Andrew Case will also don the red and white for skipper Ernie Whitt and company. Case spent last season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and will in all likelihood begin the 2019 campaign in Triple-A with the Bisons.
Joining Case from the minor league ranks is Vancouver Canadians prospect Otto Lopez who originally hailed from the Dominican Republic. The 20-year old hit .308/.389/.466 in 58 games between Vancouver and Bluefield last season.
Former Blue Jays’ Scott Richmond and Adam Loewen will also make the trek to Brazil to represent their country. Richmond last pitched in the majors in 2012 with the Blue Jays while Loewen has reinvented himself as a pitcher once again pitching for the Diamondbacks in 2016.
Hopefully, the Canadian contingent is successful at the qualifier so they are afforded the opportunity to defend their Pan-Am Baseball title this upcoming summer. Canada is the two-time defending champions having won the event in 2015 on home soil and in 2011.