Photo by CanadiansBaseball.com
Brent Lavallee is hoping to do in 2022 what he could not in 2020 – manage the Vancouver Canadians.
The 35 year-old from North Delta, BC has been named the manager of Monty’s Mounties for the upcoming season. He was supposed to skipper the squad two years ago before COVID cancelled the season. Lavallee was in charge of the Florida Complex League Blue Jays in 2021 and led the team to 25 wins in 54 games.
Before coming to the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Lavallee managed the Louisiana State-Shreveport Pilots of the NAIA and was a longtime member of the coaching staff after playing four seasons with them as a catcher. Lavallee is a product of the North Delta Blue Jays of the BC Premier League.
Phil Cundari returns as pitching coach for the second straight year. C’s pitchers tossed a High-A West-leading 1,051-2/3 innings, surrendered the fewest home runs with 101 and ranked third in strikeouts with 1.175.
Ryan Wright is also back as the hitting coach. The Canadians tied for second in the High-A West in team batting average at .254 and third in both OBP at .340 and slugging at .404.
Ashley Ponce is the new position coach. The 31 year-old Ponce was a shortstop in the Pittsburgh Pirates system from 2009-2014 after signing as a free agent from Panama in 2008.
Joel Bonnett will be the bullpen coach for the C’s after serving as pitching coach for Benedictine University in Illinois.
Roel Vargas is the athletic trainer, Tommy LaBriola is the strength and conditioning coach, Yuka Sanui is the dietitian, Raul Pimentel is the mental coach and A.J. Arias is the tech assistant.
Candaele + Ware Back in Buffalo
The Toronto Blue Jays also announced the coaching staffs for the other three minor league affiliates.
Among the highlights from a Vancouver perspective.
- 2019 C’s manager Casey Candaele will manage at Triple-A Buffalo again and 2014 pitching coach Jeff Ware returns as pitching coach.
- 2011-2013, 2015, 2017 and 2018 C’s pitching coach Jim Czajkowski will return as pitching coach at Double-A New Hampshire and 2011 catcher Chris Schaeffer also comes back as position coach.
- 2019 and 2021 C’s position coach Danny Canellas, 2021 bullpen coach Taylor Hill and 2021 trainer Brandon Hammerstrom take over the same roles at Low-A Dunedin.
Seven players with Vancouver Canadians ties have been extended non-roster invites to spring training by the Toronto Blue Jays. The 2021 duo of shortstop Orelvis Martinez and righthander Adrian Hernandez will take part in spring activities. Joining them are 2018 catcher Chris Bec, lefthander Nick Allgeyer and righthander Fitz Stadler along with 2017 righty Graham Spraker and outfielder Chavez Young.
Allgeyer made his major league debut last season with a shutout inning against Tampa Bay July 2. Spraker and Stadler spilt last year with New Hampshire and Buffalo with Spraker also pitching in the Arizona Fall League. Bec and Young were in Manchester in 2021.
2011 C’s pitcher Aaron Sanchez has signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals. The former Blue Jays pitched for San Francisco last year and went 1-1 with a 3.06 earned run average with a 26-15 strikeout-walk total in 35-1/3 innings. The Barstow, California native turns 30 years old on Canada Day.