More audition than exhibition – Metro US

More audition than exhibition

Before yesterday’s 6-4 win over the Blue Jays, team Canada manager Ernie Whitt wondered how he would distribute three exhibition games among just 13 pitchers.

He might have to manage playing time behind the plate just as carefully.

Speaking to reporters after yesterday’s game Russell Martin, Canada’s starting catcher, mentioned that he’s still recovering from a mid-foot sprain. Martin says the foot is almost back to normal after nearly three weeks of rehab, but said the lingering injury still limits his defensive mobility.

“It’s 100 times better than what it was,” said Martin, a two-time all-star with the L.A. Dodgers. Martin’s sore foot adds another variable to a team with an already depleted pitching staff.

The absences of Ryan Dempster, Rich Harden and Erik Bedard leave yesterday’s starter, Blue Jays hopeful Scott Richmond, as the anchor of an inexperienced staff. Yesterday Richmond surrendered four hits and two runs to a Jays lineup that included just two full-time big leaguers.

Still, Richmond says his arm is already strong enough to handle the tournament’s first round, where starters are limited to 65 pitches.

After throwing 45 pitches against the Jays he trotted to the bullpen and threw 20 more.

For Richmond, the game wasn’t just a tuneup for the World Baseball Classic, but part of his continuing audition for a spot on the Jays’ rotation.

Koskie leads way

• Appearing in his first game since suffering a career-threatening concussion in 2006, Corey Koskie scored three runs for Canada yesterday.

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