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Prospect Profile: Garrett Maines On That First Big Hit and His Journey to Vancouver

Prospect Profile: Garrett Maines On That First Big Hit and His Journey to Vancouver

June 23, 2011

There is something remarkable about seeing that first home run of your team’s still young season leave the ballpark. Apparently it feels even better when you have just watched it sail from the barrel of your own bat, over the brightly lit Scotiabank Field wall and into the Vancouver night.

At least that is how Canadians’ catcher Garrett Maines felt when he belted his first professional home run and fist pumped his way over home plate on Sunday at The Nat. “It felt very good” Maines said, beaming at the recollection. “I didn’t even really realize it went out until I was rounding second and I saw the crowd on its feet cheering. It just really felt good to be able to contribute to my team in a positive way like that.”

Maines, a native of Brandon, Florida and former University of Tampa Spartan, had a few twists in his road to becoming a Jays prospect. Declining a draft offering by Pittsburgh in his first year of junior eligibility, Maines elected to finish school and left college to play 2009 with the Midwest Sliders of the Frontier League. After his 22 game stint in Independent ball, he signed with the Chicago Cubs early in 2010 but was sent to the Blue Jays GCL instructional team as a NDFA following spring training.

Asked about his experience in the Gulf league he chuckled “Well it’s hot, long and there are no fans so it’s hard to get energy out of a game. More than anything it’s a real test, more mental than physical.” Responding on how he liked the Vancouver scene so far Maines lauded the great atmosphere. “I love the fans. It’s everything it was built up to be down in Florida.”

The fans certainly love the C’s second catcher for his offensive contribution on Sunday and his willingness to spend time post-game with the younger fans. His goal for his time in Vancouver: In a word “Consistency. It’s funny, I’m actually really good friends with Pierce Rankin (Vancouver’s everyday backstopper). He knows I’m after his job and I know that he’s out to keep his job now. I just want to contribute any way I can and hopefully move up one step every year.” He also said that he had been taking advantage of Manager John Schneider’s wealth of baseball knowledge. “He’s a former catcher and I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can from him.” Though Sunday was his first start, C’s fans have gotten a glance at all three of the team’s catchers so far this week and will be sure to see more of Maines as the Northwest season rolls on.

For updates on Garrett Maines and other Jays prospects in Vancouver stay tuned to jaysprospects.com and be sure to check out canadiansbaseball.com for live gameday audio, news releases and more.

UPDATE:  Maines tore through Everett’s Memorial Stadium in two starts during the Canadians’ first road trip of the season.  Thursday night saw him go 2 for 5 with 2 RBIs in the DH slot in a 9-3 win over the Aquasox.  Backstopping for Justin Nicolino on Friday night, Maines followed up with a 2 for 4 effort notching his first triple and second round-tripper of the season providing all of the runs the Canadians would need in a 2-0 win while bringing his average to a fear-inducing .417 over 3 starts.  The C’s are 2 for 2 in series wins and move on to Salem-Keizer to face the 1-7 Volcanoes .

In other news, Justin Nicolino put in another solid five innings of work to pick up his first win of the season.  He has held opponents off the scoreboard in his first two starts of the campaign.