OTTAWA – Niagara Falls native Colin Buckborough has been named to Baseball Canada’s 30-man roster that will compete in a tour of the Dominican Republic.
The junior team prospects are scheduled to play eight games against Major League Baseball instructional clubs in five Dominican cities. Their first game is May 24 and the tour ends on June 2.
Buckborough is a 6-5, 165-pound right-handed pitcher who celebrated his 17th birthday six weeks ago. The Canadian team will set up its base at a Juan Dolio, a one-hour drive along the southern coast of the Dominican.
The prospects have an opening two-game set against the Seattle Mariners at a community called Villa Mella, starting point for seven big leaguers and where Pedro Martinez, Neifi Perez, Cecilio Guante and former Blue Jay Sandy Martinez honed their skill as youngsters.
Three of their next four games will be played in Boca Chica. Twenty minutes west of the team’s home base in Juan Dolio, Boca Chica is not only known for its serene white sand beach sheltered by a massive reef in a cove off the Caribbean Sea, but also as a sports haven which produced major leaguer Andres Thomas, a right-handed hitting shortstop for the Atlanta Braves from 1985 to 1990. Boca Chica will host the Canadians against the Minnesota Twins May 25 and against the Cleveland Indians on May 27 and 28.
Sandwiched between two games in Boca Chica is Canada’s lone game in the Dominican Republic’s second major baseball breeding ground. On May 26, just 15 minutes west of Juan Dolio, Canada will face the Anaheim Angels in the city of San Pedro de Macoris, which produced 69 major leaguers including Jose Offerman, Sammy Sosa, Alfonso Soriano, Robinson Cano and two former Blue Jays; Tony Fernandez and Manny Lee.
On the final day in May, the Canadian contingent will head one hour inland to play the Toronto Blue Jays in Hato Mayor, the former home of six future big league players – none of which played for the Toronto Blue Jays – including the ageless Julio Franco and the third youngest player in the National League in 1993, Roberto Mejia, who played four seasons with the Colorado Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals until 1997.
Canada will wrap up its Dominican tour against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 1 in Guanuma, the only city to be visited on the tour void of a major league player.
Twenty to 23 players will be selected from the Dominican tour to move on to the fourth and final stage of the selection process for the National Junior Team that will compete at the World Junior AAA Championships in Sancti Spiritus, Cuba, Sept. 17-27. From Sept. 9-16, Canadian officials will hold a week-long training camp and exhibition series against the Cuban National Junior Team to determine the final 18-man roster for the World Championships.