Jays yelling about Asher Wojciechowski

Blue Jays pitching prospect Asher Wojciechowski working out at Dunedin this week. (Photo/Eddie...

Blue Jays pitching prospect Asher Wojciechowski working out at Dunedin this week. (Photo/Eddie Michels)

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:04 AM ET

As a high schooler, Asher Wojciechowski had a choice:

Winthrop University or The Citadel military college?

“I was impressed with the Citadel’s history (founded in 1842), it’s discipline and how well known the school was in the south,” said the Toronto Blue Jays fourth pick (41st over-all in North America) in 2010.

Instead of rolling out of bed, showering and heading to class 15 minutes early, Wojciechowski chose the military path.

Freshmen cadets wake at 6:30 a.m., take out upper classmen’s trash and are downstairs with shoes shined, uniform “looking good” and in formation by 7:05 for the march to the mess hall and breakfast.

Or the march for lunch and dinner.

“It was nine months of getting yelled at by upper classmen, some days I thought ‘do you really want to do this?’” he said.

Sounds like Richard Gere in Officer and a Gentleman, except instead of one drill sergeant, it was maybe 10 or 15 students not liking the shine of his shoes, tie or cap.

“Never saw that movie,” Wojciechowski said. “But The Citadel helped me prepare for baseball. Every minute of the day was planned.”

Like Friday. Before boarding the bus to Tampa, Wojciechowski threw his scheduled bullpen, three days after registering his first pro win Wednesday against the Tampa Yankees.

“We got the ball for him,” said Dunedin manager Clayton McCullough. “He’s very aggressive, a bulldog. He has four pitches and his fastball is in the low 90s.

“It’s nice to see this. Deck McGuire (the Jays’ first pick last June) got his first pro win Monday, two days later Asher gets his.”

The Citadel campus in Charleston, S.C., is “laid out like West Point,” Wojciechowski says. A difference is only 1/3 of graduates enter the military upon graduation.

And not everyone graduates. Wojciechowski’s freshman class was 700 cadets. He says only about 500 will graduate this summer.

Wojciechowski was scouted and signed by Jays scout John Hendricks of Mocksville, N.C.. The Jays gave him a $815,400 US signing bonus.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder — when your name is Wojciechowski, you need big shoulders for your name to fit the back of the jersey — pitched five innings allowing one run on seven hits and two walks against Tampa. He struck out three and has a 1.15 ERA.

“At The Citadel they taught us to use your time wisely, be time and schedule oriented,” said Wojciechowski, a citizen of the world.

Parents Carol and Randy were missionaries in Bucharest, Romania, where he played Little League, and the Dominican Republic.

Randy, a pastor in the non-denominational Grace Christian Fellowship, served at churches in Florida, Michigan, California and South Carolina.

Wojciechowski emerged as a prospect his sophomore year when he struck out 15 Elon Phoenix in the Southern Conference tournament. In the other dugout was Elon’s Mike Kennedy, pitching coach for Team USA.

Presto! Wojciechowski had an Team USA invite and soon was a projected first rounder.

He was 12-3 with a 3.58 ERA and 155 strikeouts in 125 2/3 innings last spring, earning SoCon pitcher of the year and All-America honours.

Table for 221, please:

The Bobby Mattick Facility at Dunedin still has players reporting for daily workouts at extended spring training.

It’s not the five-ring circus it was in March.

With the Jays moving their class-A Auburn team to Vancouver and adding class-A Bluefield it marked the first time in franchise history the Jays have fielded seven minor-league clubs. The Jays also have affiliates at Las Vegas, New Hampshire, Dunedin, Lansing, plus Gulf Coast and Dominican Summer League teams.

Charlie Wilson, director of minor-league operations, had 221 bodies in camp: 168 players, plus managers, coaches, roving instructors and trainers.


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