DUNEDIN, Fla. – Playing for the local team is always special for a hometown boy.
This was an honour Toronto Blue Jays prospect Tom Robson experienced in 2013, while the Ladner, B.C. native pitched for the affiliate Vancouver Canadians.
For his effort the 20-year-old has been called up to Blue Jays minor league spring training.
The six-foot-four right-hander was drafted out of high school in the fourth round of the 2011 MLB draft, the highest selected Canadian that year.
In his time with the Canadians, Robson also helped lead the club to its third straight Northwest League championship. He pitched 6.1 innings in the title game against Boise, allowing just three hits while recording two strikeouts.
“Knowing Vancouver was an affiliate with the Blue Jays I always wanted to play there growing up going to those games. Going into the 2013 season I had it in the back of my mind if I did well enough that maybe I’d get a chance to pitch there,” Robson said “I started the third game [of the Northwest League championship] and I pitched a really good game, probably one of my best ones of the year.”
Robson is also proud of his time with the Canadian junior national team in 2010 and 2011, getting the opportunity to represent his country and develop under some notable names.
“Playing for the Canadian junior national team was a really good experience. I learned a ton from Greg Hamilton, Paul Quantrill and Chris Reitsma, three really good coaches that know a lot,” Robson said. “In Grade 11  we went to the world championship in Thunder Bay, Ont., and finished fourth, and in my senior year  we went to qualifiers in Colombia, also a really good experience.
“Going over to another country, seeing what it’s all about, playing against different national teams and comparing how they play the game as opposed to how we play it.”
Putting on the Maple Leaf again at some point in his career is another major goal for Robson, maybe even at a future World Baseball Classic.
“I do. That’s definitely one of my goals, to represent Canada again,” said Robson. “There’s no other feeling like putting a Canadian uniform on and representing your country. Hopefully I can in the near future.”