The Toronto Blue Jays have named former major league outfielder Donnie Murphy as the manager of the Vancouver Canadians for 2021. TSN’s Scott Mitchell was the first to tweet out the Jays minor league appointments. Also, North Delta, BC’s Brent Lavallee—who was supposed to manage the C’s in 2020 before the coronavirus cancelled minor league baseball’s entire season—will be in charge of the troops at the Gulf Coast League this summer.
C’s Plus Baseball observed that Murphy has been listed on the Vancouver Canadians website as manager for quite some time. The nine-year big leaguer was slated to manage the Dunedin Blue Jays last year before COVID-19 arrived. The linked story above also noted the proposed 2020 Dunedin staff appeared to be in line to assume the same positions with Vancouver this year but there have been some tweaks to that list. Antonio Caceres will still be the pitching coach and Taylor Hill remains as the development coach for the C’s but Ryan Wright will be coaching the hitters instead of former Blue Jay Matt Hague who will be at Double-A New Hampshire instead. Danny Canellas—the position coach for the C’s in 2019—will return in the same capacity this year instead of George Carroll.
Brandon Hammerstrom will be the trainer, Tommy LaBriola will look after strength and conditioning, Geoff Stallman will be the dietician and and Rob DiBernardo will handle mental performance for Vancouver.
2019 Canadians manager Casey Candaele will be at the top of the minor league food chain with Triple-A Buffalo while 2014 C’s pitching coach Jeff Ware will shepherd the Herd’s hurlers in 2021. Longtime C’s pitching guru Jim Czajkowski will be in charge of the pitchers at Double-A New Hampshire while 2011 catcher Chris Schaeffer will serve as position coach. Luke Greene—the C’s trainer in 2019—will also spend the year in Manchester.
The Low-A Dunedin Blue Jays will be managed by 2011 Vancouver catcher Luis Hurtado and the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays will have 2017-18 position coach Jose Mayorga as Lavallee’s bench coach this summer. Down in the Dominican, 2013 infielder Andy Fermin will be a hitting coach for the DSL Blue Jays and 2016-2017 infielder Deiferson Barreto will be a position coach. Fermin was to be the hitting coach for Vancouver in 2020.
A dozen position players with Vancouver Canadians ties have seen action with the Blue Jays this spring. 2017 shortstop Logan Warmoth hit the Jays first home run of the year to go along with a double in Tampa against the New York Yankees in the spring training opener.
So far, Warmoth is 3-for-6 with a walk as he has been seeing time in left field. Though the former North Carolina Tar Heel’s stock has fallen since delivering the game-winning hit in the clinching Game 4 of the 2017 Northwest League final, it’s encouraging to see him get off to a good start.
2016 outfielder Josh Palacios has been turning heads in camp by finishing a single short of the cycle against the Baltimore Orioles Friday. He told BlueJays.com that taking part in the team’s alternate training site last year was the “best thing to happen to his career”. The nephew of former major leaguer Rey Palacios also made an outstanding catch against the Yankees March 3.
2017 catcher Riley Adams also homered against the O’s and his 2017 teammate second baseman Cullen Large also put one over the fence against Philadelphia March 6. That same game saw 2018 catcher Chris Bec pick up a base hit.
2019 catcher Philip Clarke saw action against the Phillies as a designated hitter and drew two walks in his only two at-bats March 2. 2014 C’s designated hitter Rowdy Tellez has three doubles so far and 2014 outfielder Jonathan Davis is also hitting .333 with a walk and a stolen base. Davis worked out with former NFL running back Chris Buckhalter in the off-season.
On the mound, seven former Vancouver Canadians have donned the Blue Jay blue so far. 2019 hurler Alek Manoah struck out four Yankees over two shutout innings on March 3. The 2019 first-rounder out of West Virginia has been working on his changeup to go along with his fastball-slider mix.
2014 lefty Tim Mayza is hoping to rebound after being sidelined for the better part of two years from Tommy John surgery. He has a couple of scoreless one-inning appearances under his belt.
2018 righthander Josh Winckowski gave up a home run in his Boston Red Sox debut March 2 but bounced back with a shutout inning Sunday against Atlanta. Winckowski was dealt to the Red Sox by the New York Mets who earlier acquired him from the Blue Jays in the Steven Matz deal that also saw 2014 Canadians righty Sean Reid-Foley go to Queens.
Two tips of the cap to Vancouver Canadians clubhouse manager Johnny Stewart who is looking after visiting NHL teams for the Vancouver Canucks this season. He paid a terrific tribute to Canada’s Hockey Dad, the late Walter Gretzky.
The second tip of the cap for Johnny comes for bringing to light the comeback attempt of 2017 Vancouver Canadian Kacy Clemens who is moving from first base to the mound.