Next generation of talent gets attention in spring game

Pompey leads Blue Jays' charge against brother, Canadian Jr. Team

Next generation of talent gets attention in spring game

DUNEDIN, Fla. -- Canada native Dalton Pompey doubled and scored, while Russell Martin had an RBI single to lead the Blue Jays to a 17-3 victory over the Canadian Junior Team on Sunday afternoon.

Munenori Kawasaki went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBIs in the winning cause and infielder Maicer Izturis added two hits. Minor Leaguer Roemon Fields homered for Toronto, with Devon Travis and Matt Hague also adding doubles.

Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey got the start for Toronto and allowed two runs on four hits over five innings. He struck out one and walked one, but the two runs likely never would have crossed the plate if Travis had been able to come up with a makeable grounder at second base in the fourth inning.

"It was awesome," said Pompey, whose brother, Tristan, was on the Canadian team and went 0-for-4 with an RBI. "When we found out on the schedule that we would be playing against Team Canada and my brother was on the team, I instantly got excited.

"I even got nervous before the game; I've never had this experience before. We're four and a half years apart. To have this moment and be able to share it with my friends and family that came out, and my brother as well, is something that we'll never forget."

The day was less about the final result than it was about the overall experience of Canada's next generation of ballplayers getting an opportunity to compete against the country's only Major League team. Toronto also used the game to allow a group of Canadian players in its system to face the under-18 team.

Veteran left-hander Jeff Francis, Martin and Pompey were the three Canadians in the Major League portion of Spring Training who took part in the game. The Blue Jays also invited Mike Reeves, Andrew Albers, Shane Dawson, Tom Robson, Jordan Romano, Andrew Case and Justin Atkinson over from Minor League camp.

Another prominent player on the junior team is outfielder Demi Orimoloye, who could be taken as early as the first round in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft. Orimoloye hit third for Team Canada and went 0-for-4.

"I feel like it's huge for their confidence and for their tournaments that are coming up," Dalton Pompey said. "Hopefully they make the most of the opportunity and they enjoy this time, because they're playing for their country and there's a lot of pride in that."

Right-hander Mike Soroka got the start for the junior team and allowed seven runs (one earned) on six hits, a walk and two strikeouts in two innings. He was followed by left-hander Vincent Beauregard, who was charged with four earned runs on five hits, two walks and a strikeout over three frames.

The highlight for Beauregard came in the bottom of the fourth inning, when he got Martin to ground out. Both players grew up in Quebec, and with Martin being an icon for that province, it will give Beauregard bragging rights back home.

"I swung at the third pitch and he got me out, and I'm sure he'll be talking to his friends about that," Martin said with a smile after the game. "They have some talent on that team. I'm sure they were probably pretty nervous playing against some big league guys out there.

"I know I would be if I was in their shoes, but I'm sure they're enjoying the opportunity, enjoying the experience. It's something for them to remember and build on."

Up next: The Blue Jays will enjoy their first off-day of the spring on Monday before visiting the Yankees in a rare night game on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET. Right-hander Drew Hutchison will get the start for Toronto and is expected to throw five innings. Promising right-hander Miguel Castro will pitch in relief for the Blue Jays as he continues his attempt at winning a job in the bullpen. Other pitchers who could be made available include Roberto Osuna, Liam Hendriks and Chad Jenkins.

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.