Team Canada’s Olympic roster keeps taking hits. A key one came over the weekend when infielder Pete Orr, a 2004 Olympian and big league veteran, decided to stay in the U.S. for big league duty with the Nationals rather than go to Beijing. The Nats could have sent Orr to the minors to allow him to play in the Olympics but he decided against it. Mets minor leaguer Emmanuel Garcia, also becoming a Canadian international stalwart, replaced him on the roster, but Garcia’s struggling with Double-A pitching, while Orr is a big leaguer (albeit a pretty fringy one). It’s a huge drop for Canada and likely means we’ll see more Stubby Clapp, which actually is never a bad thing.
Canada also lost one of its top pitchers when Scott Richmond was promoted to the major leagues and made his debut Wednesday with the Blue Jays. Richmond, who spent parts of three seasons with independent Edmonton of the Northern League (Edmonton is now in the Golden League), pitched into the sixth inning for Toronto. His loss could be devastating for the Canadian national team, but he could be sent back to the minors and made available for the Olympics. It’s unclear whether or not Canada could even replace him at this late date due to visa restrictions regarding China.