DUNEDIN, FL — Dalton Pompey smiled as he looked down at his left hand, clutching his grip with ease.
It’s easy to understand why.
The Canadian had an excellent start in 2012 for the Toronto Blue Jays’ Northwest League affiliate in Vancouver, accumulating a .292 average, .442 OBS, and .441 slugging percentage in his first 10 games.
However, in just his 11th contest the second-year switch hitter was placed on the minor league disabled list, missing nearly two months with a broken left hand.
He eventually returned but was only able to play another nine games between the Bluefield Blue Jays of the Appalachian League, and Class A Lansing Lugnuts.
“It’s pretty good,” Pompey said of his healthy left hand outside of the Bobby Mattick Training Center.
“I’m doing a lot of wrist and hand strengthening exercises to get it back to where it was. It’s feeling good and now I just got to stay healthy this year and hope for the best.”
The 20-year-old from Mississauga, Ont., is happy to be healthy after fighting through rehab and looking forward to the upcoming year.
Drafted in the 16th round by the Jays in 2010, Pompey understands the importance of avoiding the training room.
“I’ve worked on my overall strength, my upper body strength, my arms and my hands so I can try to avoid injuries and just be more durable throughout the year,” said Pompey, who is currently ranked 16th among Blue Jays prospects by MLB.com entering the 2013 season.
This athletic outfielder has matured quickly – on and off the field – due to his father’s involvement the first time he picked up a baseball bat at the age of three.
Although Ken Pompey isn’t coaching his son as much as he used to, his influence is still felt.
“Up until probably now, he’s pretty much responsible for the player I am today. But in terms of physically going out and throwing me balls, showing me hitting mechanics and all that stuff, he leaves that to the guys who know what they’re doing,” said Dalton Pompey.
There were times where the young Canadian had become quite frustrated with his dad, who became too involved in his son’s high school games.
A few top rep teams in Ontario had even cut the young star because of his father’s imperious attitude, but Dalton Pompey knew the motivation was for his benefit in the long run.
“Well that’s just the person that he is,” said Dalton Pompey. “He’s really outspoken and he speaks his mind so I kind of had to take that growing up. I didn’t really know how to handle it.
“But now that I look back on it, I appreciate it because he’s standing up for me and he knew that I was always a good player so that’s what dads do. They gotta look out for their sons and I appreciate that now.”