Baksh staying close to home

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

Jonathan Baksh was manning the computer in the solarium of his Mississauga home with his brother Brandon.

His mother Indrani slid by from time to time to ask, "what round are they in now?"

And then the seventh round began. Baksh saw his name on the screen and heard it read as the 210th pick over-all in North America in the first day of the draft.

The outfielder, who started off playing sandlot with the Bloor Jays, then the Mississauga Majors, the Ontario Blue Jays and most recently the Florida Tech Panthers had been selected by the Toronto Blue Jays.

"I knew I was projected in the 6th-to-10th rounds, if I hadn't gone in the seventh, I'd have begun to get antsy," Baksh said.

"My mom came and hugged me, then the phone started ringing, then all three phones were ringing."

As expected Kyle Orr, of Victoria, B.C. was the top Canadian selected going in the fourth round to the Los Angeles Dodgers after an impressive Sunday workout in LA.

And as expected six picks after Baksh, Jonathan Waltenbury was the top high schooler selected. He went to Minnesota Twins, courtesy of scout Jim Ridley of Burlington.

In all, seven Canadians were selected the first day of the draft, which covered 18 rounds, compared to 14 a year ago in 22 rounds. The 50-round process concludes today.

Kevin Briand, director of Canadian scouting for the Jays had Baksh at Rogers Centre for a workout last week, and Jays scout Joel Grampietro was at many Florida Tech games.

In 2005, Baksh won Sunshine State conference player of the year honours hitting .422 with a home run, 45 RBIs, 23 steals and a .555 slugging percentage in 55 games.

"I think I had a better season this spring, but I didn't win," he said.

Baksh hit .469, with nine homers and 67 RBIs with 18 steals and had a .723 slugging percentage.

He worked out for the Baltimore Orioles and Milwaukee Brewers before leaving Melbourne, Fla. and then then went to Fenway Park and the Jays.

"J.P. Ricciardi jumped in to pitch to my group, I thought I impressed. I threw well and felt like I was the fastest there," Baksh said. "He said to me 'good job, way to hustle.'"


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