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Andrew Case Excellent Out of the Bullpen

Andrew Case Excellent Out of the Bullpen

April 13, 2015

Andrew Case

RHP Andrew Case is thrilled to be in his second season of professional baseball with the Toronto Blue Jays organization. (Toronto Sun)

The popularity of baseball in Canada has continued to rise in recent years. This increased love for the sport has led to more players competing and better development opportunities throughout the country and it’s starting to show throughout minor league baseball as more players from Canada are signing professional contracts than ever before.

Showing some Canadian flavor on their opening day roster, the Lansing Lugnuts’ are proudly showcasing three Canadian born players, which is the most of any professional baseball team this season. Right-handed pitcher Andrew Case is one such Lugnut born north of the border and he’s incredibly excited to be joining a full season affiliate in just his second professional year.

“Lansing is a nice town. It’s a little colder than spring training in Florida, but I’m happy to be here,” said Case. “Downtown Lansing is nice and so is East Lansing. I’m just taking it day by day, but so far it’s been really good.”

It’s not just Case who is thrilled to be a member of the Blue Jays low-A affiliate, but his parents are equally excited for their son’s accomplishment. In fact, Case’s parents made the trip down to Lansing for the clubs opening series against the Lake County Captains.

“I always receive a lot of family support throughout the season,” explained Case. “My parents made the trip down for the opening series and its great having them here. They have always supported me in my decision to pursue baseball.”

His parent’s long trip was worth the while as they got to see their son pitch 2/3 an inning and pick up a save in a 3-2 Lugnuts’ victory in game one of a double header on April 11th.

Prior to playing in Lansing, Case’s career was primarily focused on pitching in his home country. Choosing to leave his home in New Brunswick and move west to Alberta to pursue a collegiate career at Leftbridge Community College showed the dedication the young prospect has when it comes to his craft.

Choosing Leftbridge for their long history of producing professional players, Case had only one focus when he was there and that was perform well enough to get noticed by a major league organization.

“When you’re playing college ball you always have one dream and that’s making it to the big leagues,” explained Case. “Obviously the second step towards that dream is becoming a pro ball player, so when I was at Leftbridge I went out there and competed every outing and every pitch.”

Two years later his dream became a reality when the Toronto Blue Jays signed the righty to a minor league deal after a dominant Tournament 12 performance where he threw a no hitter at the Rogers Centre.

“I really had no idea the Blue Jays were interested in me. I was in more contact with some other teams, but I’m happy with the result,” stated Case. “The Blue Jays were always my favorite team even before I started playing baseball, so I’m really happy that I’m a part of their organization. Being a Canadian boy playing for the Canadian team, it doesn’t get any better than that in my books.”

“I was signed shortly after throwing a no hitter at the Rogers Centre,” he added. “That moment was really special as Roberto Alomar was sitting behind the plate. He came up to me afterwards and gave me a hug. He told me I did a great job and he was proud of me. I was actually only one pitch away from a perfect game, but I was a happy with the no hitter. I don’t know any pitchers who wouldn’t be happy with a no-hitter.”

It was only fitting that Case would begin his professional career in the country that produced the talented young pitcher. Spending his entire 2014 season in the Northwest League, Case was a key piece of the Canadians bullpen.

The prospect did nothing but impress in his 44 innings of work for the C’s. Maintaining a 2.45 ERA and racking up 37 strikeouts was a nice way to start his career. But his ability to be tough on hitters in 2014 was his biggest attribute as the righty maintained an impressive 1.159 WHIP to put an exclamation point on an already great season.

“Playing in Vancouver was really cool as I was the only Canadian on the 2014 roster,” said Case. “It was great having a bunch of Canadians on my back. The support I received from all the fans was unbelievable.”

It was in Vancouver when Case began working with pitching coach Jeff Ware. With some shuffling in their minor league coaching pyramid this past off-season; the two will work together again in Lansing and Case is excited for that opportunity as he enjoys the way Ware handles his business.

“I like that Jeff Ware is down-to-earth and will tell you exactly what you need to work on,” stated Case. “Jeff is always there if you have anything you want to work on. He’s the right guy at the right time. I couldn’t say enough good things about him.”

Finding success due to his approach on the mound, Case likes to work fast, while throwing strikes with his three pitch repertoire, which includes: a fastball, a slider, and a changeup. Known for his ability to get through lineups quickly by getting a lot of groundballs, Case describes himself as a finesse pitcher.

“I’m not a really hard thrower,” said Case. “My fastball usually tops out around 91 or 92 miles per hour. I’m more of a finesse pitcher that relies on throwing strikes and hitting my spots.”

His ability to work fast is exactly what Lansing Lugnuts’ pitching coach Jeff Ware is looking forward to this season from Case. After coaching the up-and-coming pitcher last summer, the former major leaguer feels confident in Case’s ability to handle high pressure situations.

“Andrew Case is aggressive on the mound. You love that as a pitching coach,” stated Ware. “Andrew will challenge anybody who walks into the batter’s box. It doesn’t matter who they are, he’ll challenge them. Andrew is a hard worker that competes his butt off out there and that’s what I love about him as a pitcher.”

Be sure to follow Andrew Case all season as he works hard to get back to the Rogers Centre to make more memories in the near future.