Canadian right-hand hurler Eric Brown got the nod Thursday to start for the Vancouver Canadians when they open their single-A short season June 15 in Spokane against the Indians.
"I'm excited, I just found out this morning," said Brown as the C's dusted their summer whites and practised at Scotia Bank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium. "I'm really anxious to get the season underway. He's one of four Canadians on the C's 25-man roster who will travel to Spokane.
"It's an honour to be named opening day starter and I look forward to playing in the Nat again."
In 18 games for Vancouver's championship Northwest League campaign last season, Brown threw primarily as a reliever in 27 innings for a 3.62 ERA before he was relocated to Lansing with the Jay's long-season single-A affiliate in the Midwest League where he pitched 15 innings primarily out of the bullpen for a 3.52 ERA. The C's considered the move a promotion and now Brown is back as the club's starting pitcher where he can let loose with the offensive style he likens to being a bulldog.
"It's a mentality: being aggressive and attacking the strike zone, attacking the hitters and trying to dictate the at-bats," he said. "You want to be able to go at them and pitch to your game-plan."
The six-foot-one 23-year-old from Thunder Bay, Ont. pitched four seasons with the University of B.C. Thunderbirds before he was selected by the Jays in the 50th and final round of the 2011 draft.
He earned his starting spot at UBC and pitched an impressive 81 innings for a 7-2 record with 75 strike outs and a 2.27 ERA his final varsity season. He's moved from the centre of the diamond to the bullpen and is now moving back again. The mound is where he wants to be for the opening pitch of the opening inning.
From there he can show off his 93 mileper-hour fastball. "It's a personal best for me this year. I've hit a new personal best every year for the past three years so I'm always trying to get stronger, trying to improve my mechanics and hopefully keep climbing."
Against Spokane in a five-game series beginning this weekend, he'll start with a climb back to the top of the mound.
The Canadians open their home season at 7: 05 p.m. June 20 against the Tri-City Dust Devils. For tickets, go to canadiansbaseball.com.
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