Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

July 19, 2013

O Canada!

Robson hopes to one day pitch in home country for Jays

BLUEFIELD — For a Canadian baseball player, playing for the Toronto Blue Jays is the ultimate dream. Tom Robson is in the middle of that dream, currently pitching for the Bluefield Blue Jays and hoping to climb the minor league ladder that will take him home to Vancouver, British Columbia, and then onward to the major leagues.

“Growing up in Canada, they are the only team on TV,” Robson said. “I grew up watching them every day and obviously being Canadian, they are my favorite team. There’s no more Montreal Expos, so it’s the Toronto Blue Jays.”

A native of Lander, about 20 miles south of Vancouver, Robson is well aware that if his success continues, the next stop in his career could take him home to play ball.

“It would be pretty amazing to go pitch there. That’s my goal,” Robson said. “I’d love to pitch there at lease a few times in my minor league career. If I can get there this year that would be great, but right now I am not really worried about it. I am just worried about doing well here and trying to allow my team to win games while I am here. If I do get the opportunity to play there, it will be a hell of an experience.”

Helping his team win is what Robson is doing for the Bluefield Blue Jays this season. He sports a 2-0 record with a 1.71 ERA in 21 innings of action and has struck out 12 opposing batters.

“It’s been going pretty well this season. I’ve been happy with what I’ve been doing, sticking to the same routine, same thing every day, just trying to throw strikes and rely on my defense,” Robson said. “We have a really good defense and offensively we’re doing petty well too.”

Robson that being on the mound and knowing that there is a strong defense behind you and a potent offense at the plate is a tremendous help to a pitcher.

“It’s a big confidence booster. You’re not worried about giving up that one run that’s going to lose the game. You can afford to give up a few and still win the game,” Robson said. “I can remember my July 4th start, I gave up four runs and we actually won tha game. It’s a big thing and the offense really helps out the defense when they’re doing well.”

This is Robson’s second stint in Bluefield, the right-handed hurler having been with the team during the 2012 season.

“I was here for about a month last year,” Robson commented. “I had three starts and I did pretty well, but I hurt my elbow after my third start and it just didn’t really feel that great. It wasn’t a good idea to keep throwing on it, so I went back to Florida and rehabbed it and it has felt great ever since.

“The elbow is an important spot in a pitcher. You don’t want to hurt that, it can put you out for a while, so I was careful with it.”

Robson began playing the game when he was 6 years old, taking part in T-ball. He became a pitcher a few years later and then by the time he was a teenager he was strictly a pitcher.

“When I was 13, I switched primarily to pitcher and didn’t hit anymore,” Robson said. “I played on the Langley Blaze in the BC Premier League, which is a great program. They have lots of guys drafted out of there and getting scholarships every year.”

Robson also had the opportunity to play ball on the international level as a teen.

“I had the chance to play on the Canadian Junior National Team which was one of the best experiences of my life, traveling all around the world, playing in places like Colombia, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, all over the United States,” Robson said. “That was definitely a great time in my career I will never forgot. Leading up to this (being with the Blue Jays), it was the Langley Blaze and Canadian Junior National Team that made me into the pitcher I am now.”

Robson is continuing to hone his skills and looks to his coaches with the Jays and a friend from British Columbia to help guide him in the right direction.

“The coaches here are awesome. I can’t say nothing but good things about them. They keep it fun, they keep it relaxed,” Robson said. “(Pitching coach) Tony (Caceres) keeps us on track and tells us what we need to do and I think all the pitchers have the same thing to say about him. He likes his players.

“A key person I look up to is James Paxton. He is in Triple-A right now with the Mariners. He was drafted in the fourth round, I think three years ago, and he’s doing really well for himself. He actually lives five minutes down the road from me, so whenever I get the chance to see him, when I’m home, I do and we try and work out together, play catch together. He can show me a lot and teach me a lot just because he has more experience and is a bit older than I am, so I try and learn a lot from him.”

A fourth round draft pick by Toronto in 2011, Robson comes from an athletic family that is very supportive of his career.

“My brother plays volleyball for a college in New Westminster, which by Vancouver, and he is two years older than I am. He played baseball up until he was about 17 or 18,” Robson pointed out. “My dad and my mother grew up in England, so they played a lot of soccer and my dad played cricket. That’s where he says I got my arm from. Over the years they’ve gained more knowledge about baseball and they’re able to kind of tell what’s going on.”

Robson and the Blue Jays open a three game set against Bristol tonight at Bowen Field.

— Contact Bob Redd at

bredd@bdtonline.com

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