Weglarz working on his game

BOB ELLIOTT, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:07 AM ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The city is known for a few things:

Home of The Ohio State Buckeyes.

Birthplace of cowboy Roy Rogers, line driver machine Al Oliver and radio host Bob McCown.

And home of future Cleveland Indians studs.

That's why Nick Weglarz of Stevensville, Ont. calls right field at Huntington Park and triple-A Columbus his home away from home.

Selected in the third round of the 2005 draft, Weglarz is a step away from the majors

We wrote it on draft day -- and never get tired of writing it -- how Weglarz was cut from the Niagara Falls bantams, switched to St. Catharines, then Team Ontario and is progressing down the right path.

"Here you see former major leaguers, they'll use any means possible to get you out" said Weglarz, promoted from double-A Akron in May.

"At double-A there were a lot of guys developing, working on pitches. You could basically look fastball. Here you might see a 3-2 slider."

Weglarz is hitting .265 with 12 doubles, three homers, 15 RBIs and an OPS of .800 in 38 games.

On the season he's hitting .275 with 10 homers and 42 RBIs and an OPS of .849, after having a rod placed in his left shin in 2009 following a stress fracture.

"I've been having good at-bats, trying to be consistent," Weglarz said. "But there have been ups and downs."

One up would have been a recent game at Fifth Third Field in Toledo where Weglarz circled the bases with an inside-the-park homer last week.

"Our outfielder didn't move, he thought the ball was out," said Toledo manager Larry Parrish, the former Montreal Expo. "But the kid was motoring. You hit it that far, you deserve a home run."

Weglarz drove a ball 406 feet, off an uneven wall in centre and was off to the races.

"Going past second I thought I had a stand-up triple and then I saw I was being waved," Weglarz said. "My legs started feeling heavy."

During spring training Weglarz watched Canada's men's hockey team win the gold medal in the Vancouver Olympics, winning a bet with friend, former No. 1 pick Beau Mills, son of Houston Astros manager Brad Mills.

"He had to wear a Canadian flag on his back to and from the park," Weglarz said. "Had we lost, I would have had to do the same with a USA flag."

Weglarz said he made 15 home games of the Phoenix Coyotes due to rehabbing in Arizona with his injury and spring training.

The Weglarz family can see their son play when Columbus visits Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse, N.Y.

With the Indians possibly getting ready to unload the salary of Shin-Soo Choo before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, they may soon have to set their GPS to a big-league destination.

TOURNEY TIME

Right-hander Tim Black pitched a complete-game four hitter as the Hamilton Cardinals beat Andy's 9ers in the opener of the 22nd annual Beast of the East 19U in Wheeling, W. Va.

Evan Krychowski hit a two-run single tying the game and Hamilton rallied to score on errors in a 6-4 win against Wheeling Post 1. Kirk Forsyth, Nathan Mastervick and Black singled as the Cardinals got on the board to erase a 4-0 deficit.

The Cards lost 6-2 to Braxton County Post 23 as Colin Porter homered, 11-1 to the Mary land Monarchs, 16-6 to the Baltimore Blue Claws and 10-5 to the Central New York Thunder Nationals to wind up fifth of seven teams in their pool.

Hamilton moved on to playoff games against other fifth-place teams. Kyle Leavers hit a two-run home run as Hamilton beat the Brooklyn (N.Y.) Youth Service, Manny Ramirez's former team, 5-4. Curtis Johnson then beat the South Hills Merchants 9-5. Lucas Pattison and Leavers each homered as Hamilton scored a 7-3 win over the Sportzone Red Sox to finish 25th of 42 teams.

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THE LOCAL SCENE

Toronto right-hander Jordan Glover, who pitched for the Toronto Mets and attends Eastern Michigan, is with the Edenton Steamers of the Coastal Plains League. Glover had not allowed an earned run and walked only three until the first-half tiebreaker. He walked two in the seventh and both scored, striking out three in a 3-2 loss to the Wilson Tobs. Glover is 2-0 with an 0.76 ERA, appeared in nine games -- two starts--- walking five and striking out 15 in 23 2/3 innings.

THORNHILL TOPS

Dustin Lawson pitched six innings and Jason Rubinstein worked the final inning as the Thornhill Reds beat the Southwest London 5-2 in the final of the annual Chatham junior tourney at Fergie Jenkins Field. The Reds went 5-0 over the weekend including wins by Anthony Ricciardi 4-2 over Royal York, Donny Marchione beat London 5-2 and Rubinstein pitched a one-hit win over Dundas, striking out eight.

GET WELL SOON

The grand lady of Ontario Baseball, Sarnia's Linda Lewis, is on the mend after recent surgery.

NORTHERN LIGHTS

LHP SCOTT DIAMOND

DOUBLE-A MISSISSIPPI (BRAVES)

Diamond, of Guelph, had the best effort of the 96 Canadians in the minors this week. The Ontario Terriers grad pitched seven innings, allowing one run and striking out six, in a 7-1 double-A Mississippi (Braves) win against Birmingham.

RUNNERS-UP: Jamie Romak, London, hit .550 (11-for-20) with three homers and six RBIs for double-A Northwest Arkansas (Royals); Jim Adduci, Burnaby, B.C., .450, five RBIs at triple-A Iowa (Cubs); Phillippe Aumont, Gatineau, Que., six innings, two earned runs, 13 strikeouts, class-A Clearwater (Phillies); Matt Skirving, London, .429, class-A State College (Pirates); Calgary's Emerson Frostad, .389, one homer, five RBIs, double-A Frisco (Rangers); Nick Purdy, Grafton, Ont., five innings, one run, seven strikeouts for the rookie-class Gulf Coast Jays; Welland's Royce Consigli, .389, two RBIs, rookie-Class Arizona League A's.

BOB.ELLIOTT@SUNMEDIA.CA


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