TORONTO | Wherever he goes, when Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is asked where he’s from, the Toronto Blue Jays slugger proudly replies, “Montreal.”
However, he only spent a few months there a year, during the baseball season, before returning to his father’s native Dominican Republic.
The latter then left Montreal for California when little Vlad was only four years old.
Under these circumstances, Guerrero junior obviously didn’t develop his talents in Quebec.
Despite everything, the one who is considered one of the best hitters in the world does not hesitate to define himself as a Montrealer.
exclusively known by The newspaper On Tuesday, hours before Game 2 against the Seattle Mariners, Guerrero spoke fondly of the city where he was born 23 years ago, when Vladimir Sr. was out in the sun or rain at Olympic Stadium in his uniform.
A sweater in your name
Several members of his maternal family are still in the Quebec metropolis. Plus, it’s not uncommon to wonder when the Blue Jays star is coming back to town.
Or… if it’s possible to get a Toronto jersey embroidered with your name.
“When I talk to my family who live in Montreal, they tell me that several people wear a sweater with my name on it,” rejoices “Vladdy,” through Jays translator Hector Lebron.
A circuit you won’t forget
Thus made the life of a professional athlete, Guerrero’s son explains that he has not been in Montreal for four years. But this date of March 27, 2018 he remembers it as if it were Wednesday.
He had just celebrated his 19Y anniversary and his official debut with the Blue Jays would not occur for another year.
But the Toronto team had dressed him for their preseason game against the St. Louis Cardinals at Olympic Stadium.
The ending of this game, while unimportant, remains firmly anchored in the memory of Montreal baseball fans. Although the score was 0-0 at the bottom of the ninth inning, young Vlad had driven Jack Flaherty’s shot far into the stands to give the Blue Jays the victory.
Vladimir Jr. hitting the long ball in the stadium that Vladimir Sr. had shaken so many times. The loop was complete.
And while Guerrero may have hit 79 major league home runs since that March night, including 48 last year alone, that smack from beyond left field is still etched in his memory.
“That’ll Be Great”
And since it appears the Expos’ return has been shelved, at least for the foreseeable future, he says he’s disappointed he won’t be able to hit more in Montreal any time soon.
“It’s a shame not to be able to play in Montreal, he regrets. If one day the team comes back, it will definitely be amazing for me. »
Toro, ambidextrous thanks to his brother
Abraham Toro, Seattle Mariners
Abraham Toro owes some of his great versatility to his brother Douglas, himself a former top baseball player, who inspired him to become a switch hitter when the Seattle Mariners player was 15 years old.
But the older Bull will not boast about it. “He did all the work afterwards! he said, as he joined other members of his family in the stands of Rogers Center on Monday.
“I was ambidextrous myself, said the one who wore the Québec Capitals uniform for two seasons. He even sometimes shot the ball down the left. When we were young, we played together and Abraham had fun hitting both sides. Then he started doing it during games. »
An appreciated quality
This quality is now quite useful in Seattle’s infield.
On Monday, in the first game of the series against Toronto, his manager, Scott Servais, used him as the first attacker against left-hander Yusei Kikuchi, with the goal of the Quebecer starting from the right.
“Kikuchi is tough against southpaws, so I decided to use Toro in an attacking role,” Servais explained at the time.
“I like Abraham Toro, added the manager. He does a lot of good things in the batter’s box. That he is ambidextrous gives us great flexibility. »
Unfortunately, Monday’s experiment did not bear fruit. Toro didn’t get to safety in five at-bats before picking himself up the next day by reaching first base as he entered the game in the eighth inning.
If we go by statistics alone, the 25-year-old Longueuil resident is not having a great start to the season. In 110 at-bats (before Wednesday’s game), he was hitting a minimum of .164.
But these figures do not seem to bother his coach too much.
“He has good momentum these days. I know that’s not what his stats say, but he never looks ridiculous,” Servais said before the start of the series.
“It will come, added his brother, who religiously follows his younger brother’s career. He gets the job done defensively and already has four home runs. I think he is going to have a good season.
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