Jays’ Norris knows not to worry

DUNEDIN, Fla. — Daniel Norris continues to use the lessons his father taught him, even now as he attends his first Blue Jays training camp.

It was Norris’ father, Dave, who instilled a calm demeanor in the young pitcher, a trait that remains one of the most important characteristics in the hurler’s makeup.

Since being selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the June draft, it has been Norris’ laid-back attitude and firm belief system that has carried him through a variety of stressful situations.

“You just want to keep an even keel and stay calm and collected,” says Norris. “You have to be able to face each obstacle without being either too high or too low.”

Norris was a top high school prospect entering last June’s Major League Draft where he was projected to be a first round selection. He finished his high school senior year with an 8-2 record while maintaining a 2.24 E.R.A.

Fortunately for the Blue Jays, he remained available for their second pick where he was selected 74th overall. Though many young players may have found this experience to be overwhelming, Norris continued to do what he has always done, just play baseball.

“It was a unique experience for sure,” standing in front of Diamond 1 at the minor league complex. “Being able to play ball throughout the summer and the signing period really helped me get through it.

“I could just relax when I got between those lines and not think about what was happening.”

Though some scouts allegedly found his laid back attitude off-putting, Norris believes it to be one of his greatest attributes.

It is something that has helped him through a variety of challenging situations such as pitching in big games or moving away from home to improve his ball-playing skills.

“I just take everything with a grain of salt and just try to go out there and play the game. I try not to worry about specific happenings or anything like that.”

Norris attributes his father for his calm and collected demeanor. It was he who taught a young Daniel that an opposing player should not be able to detect the type of game a pitcher is having by looking at him.

His father was also the one who would break down games with Norris and challenge him to evaluate how he played and where he could improve for next time.

“We’d go home, sit down, watch a little bit of television and talk about how I performed and what I could have done better,” says Norris.

Although this year will mark the first time he has lived away from his parents for an extended period of time, he believes that the lessons his father has taught him will allow him to successfully meet and overcome any obstacles and challenges he is sure to encounter throughout his rookie year.

“We’ve talked after the games so I try to say that sort of stuff to myself. We talk on the phone, of course, after a game and say the same thing.

“Either way he can still help me out a lot just as he has in the past. I still remember those things and it helps me out still.”