Baseball: Power pitcher first Kiwi to play in Major League

By Steve Deane

A New Zealander will play in baseball's Major League for the first time today.

Scott Richmond, Canadian-born but a New Zealand citizen through his Auckland father, will be the starting pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Tampa Bay Rays.

The promotion to the big leagues caps a remarkable year for the 28-year-old left-handed power pitcher, who worked for three years as a labourer at the Vancouver shipyards before pursuing a career as a baseballer.

Richmond is a former minor league teammate of Scott Campbell, the Auckland-born baseman who is also chasing a career in the Major Leagues.

He has two brothers who attended Otago University and went on to play rugby for Canada.

"I was quite surprised, really," Richmond told Toronto's Globe and Mail newspaper.

"I believe in my talent. But whenever you get that phone call, it's a big smile on your face. It was really nice to get it. It feels good, that's for sure."

Richmond has been in sparkling form recently, prompting the Blue Jays to test him out at the highest level.

"It's an opportunity to get a look at him," Blue Jays general manager J.P. Ricciardi said. "He's got the hot hand right now and I think we'll find out what we've got in him."

Campbell, who recently played at Yankee Stadium in the All Star Futures Game, remains on track to become the first New Zealand-born player in the majors.

- NZ Herald

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