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Canada rosters 24 players for Pan Am men's baseball tournament

06/17/2015 03:06 EDT | Updated 06/17/2016 05:59 EDT
Toronto Blue Jays farmhands Andrew Albers and Jeff Francis are among the 24 players named to the Canadian men's baseball team for next month's Pan Am Games.

Eight players, including Albers and former Blue Jays pitcher Shawn Hill, competed in the 2011 Pan Am tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico.

"It is an honour anytime you get to wear the Maple Leaf, and with the Games taking place on home soil, it will truly be special," said Canada's manager and ex-Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt.

The men's baseball tourney runs July 11-19 at the President's Choice Ajax Pan Am Ballpark and features Colombia, Nicaragua, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and United States.

Canada's baseball schedule

- Sat., July 11 vs. Dominican Republic, 7 p.m.

- Sun., July 12 vs. Colombia, 3:30 p.m. 

- Mon., July 13 vs. Nicaragua, 7 p.m.

- Tues., July 14 vs. Cuba, 7 p.m.

- Thurs., July 16 vs. Puerto Rico, 7 p.m.

- Fri., July 17 vs U.S., 7 p.m.

*Semifinal is scheduled for July 18, followed by gold and bronze games on July 19.

Canada, which defeated the U.S. 2-1 in the 2011 gold-medal game, will prepare for the upcoming Games by competing at the Americas Baseball Festival from July 5-8 in Cary, N.C.

Albers, who hails from North Battleford, Sask., sports a 4.11 earned-run average in 12 games (11 starts) for the triple-A Buffalo Bisons this season. He had one relief appearance for Toronto on May 1 in Cleveland before returning to the minors.

The Blue Jays signed Albers, 29, to a minor league deal in December after he spent one season in the Korean Baseball Organization with the Hanwha Eagles. He made 10 starts in the major leagues for the Minnesota Twins in 2013, going 2-5 with a 4.05 ERA.

Hill, 34, had a 2.61 ERA in four starts for Toronto in 2010 and made another in 2012 before signing as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers later that year. The right-hander made 44 starts over seven years in the majors with Montreal, Washington, San Diego and Toronto.

"I am extremely honoured to represent Team Canada at the Pan American Games in Toronto," said Hill, who was born in Mississauga, Ont., and grew up in nearby Georgetown. "International baseball is always intense and with the Games taking place at home … the atmosphere will be electric at the ballpark."

Hill is pitching in the independent Atlantic League this season for York Revolution and is 1-6 in 10 starts with a 4.89 ERA.

Left-hander Jeff Francis, who made eight relief appearances for the Blue Jays earlier this season, will compete for Canada. Signed to a minor league deal by Toronto last off-season, the Vancouver hurler has a 2.67 ERA in eight games (four starts) at triple-A Buffalo.

Canada's roster also includes former major leaguers Chris Leroux, Adam Loewen, Pete Orr and Chris Robinson.

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