Young catcher pitching in

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 8:24 AM ET

Catching and pitching -- the transition from one position to the other doesn't get any tougher.

It's not like moving over from shortstop to second base.

Yet, Chris Leroux of Mississauga appears to have made the change and handled the different arm angles.

Leroux is listed 37th among the top 100 U.S. collegians heading into the June 2005 draft, according to the highly respected Baseball America.

Two autumns ago, he headed off to Winthrop University, in Rock Hill, S.C. -- as a catcher -- after turning down an offer from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, but still pitched sparingly in relief in the spring of 2003.

In 2004, when he wasn't catching, Leroux had five saves and 30 strikeouts in 29 innings as the Winthrop closer.

This summer, pitching for Falmouth on Cape Cope, he was clocked at 95 miles per hour.

The top-rated Canadian high-schoolers for the June draft are first baseman Nick Welgarz, of Stevensville, Ont., and Team Ontario, and catcher Justin Worby of Georgetown and the Ontario Blue Jays. Welgarz is ranked 166th on the Baseball America top- 400 list and Worby 220th.

MEETING'S MEETINGS

David Sloane, who represents Blue Jays free-agent slugger Carlos Delgado, met with six teams during the recent general managers meetings at Key Biscayne, Fla.

Executives from the Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Orioles New York Yankees and three other teams met with Sloane.

DUCEY ON THE MOVE

Cambridge's Rob Ducey has left the Montreal Expos organization and taken a job with the Yankees. Ducey, hitting coach at double-A Harrisburg in 2004, will manage the Yanks' extended spring training team and then be the batting instructor for single-A Staten Island in the New York Penn League.

Ducey, a member of the Canadian Olympic baseball team in Athens, played parts of 13 seasons in the majors, including 1987-1992 and 2000 with the Jays.

YOUTH SERVED?

The Milwaukee Brewers are in the midst of a youth movement so why sign ex-Jays catcher Pat Borders, 41.

New Brewers owner Mark Attanasio is just five years older than Borders, who signed a minor-league deal and has an invite to the big-league camp. He'll likely be at triple-A Indianapolis.

Borders has two connections with the Brewers: Catching for righty Ben Sheets with Team USA at the 2000 Olympics, and with assistant GM Gord Ash, who was with the Jays when Borders won the World Series MVP in 1992.

FALL LEAGUE

Uxbridge righty Chris Begg was 1-0 with a 6.04 earned run average for the Grand Canyon Rafters of the Arizona Fall League. The San Francisco Giants prospect walked nine and struck out nine in 22 1/3 innings. Teammate Scott Thorman of Cambridge, and an Atlanta Braves first baseman, hit .269 with five RBIs.

FORE FATHER?

Years ago, when Phil Lankhof was a long, lean right-hander with either Clarkson or Erindale, we saw his pop, Bill Lankhof, our esteemed colleague, squatting to catch him during bullpen sessions. It wasn't pretty, although dad was not wearing the tools of ignorance.

Now 24, Phil recently went 71-73 (par) in a 36-hole tournament to gain his CPGA playing card. Our hope is that we don't drive by a fairway some day and see Bill squatting in the middle of a fairway trying to catch his son's drives.

THE WINNERS ARE ...

Jordan Press of Toronto who attends Ryerson, and Carleton University student Scott Petersen of Comox Valley, B.C., are the winners of the annual bursaries handed out by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers of America Association.


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