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Scott Richmond

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Scott Daniel Richmond

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Scott Richmond made his Organized Baseball debut at age 28 after his work in the independent leagues and for Team Canada and made his major league debut that same year. He was the first New Zealand citizen to play in the majors; his father grew up in Auckland.

His high school did not offer a baseball program, so instead he played amateur summer baseball throughout western Canada, supporting himself by working on the docks in Vancouver. Richmond attended Missouri Valley College for one year, playing for the school's NAIA-level baseball team. He then attended Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana for one year, again playing for the school's baseball team. Richmond again changed schools after a year, transferring to Oklahoma State.

Richmond was 3-3 with a 4.66 ERA for Oklahoma State University in 2004. In 2005, he was 3-6 with 6 saves and a 3.00 ERA, striking out 98 in 99 innings while allowing 74 hits and 27 walks. He just missed the Big Twelve Conference's top 15 in ERA, tying Brian Duensing. He was named a Big 12 honorable mention All-Conference pick.

Undrafted and aged 25, Richmond was signed by the Edmonton Cracker-Cats but struggled (1-4, 4 Sv, 6.25). In 2006, he was 3-7 with 8 saves and a 3.03 ERA, striking out 72 while walking only 17 in 71 1/3 innings and allowing just 53 hits. He led Edmonton in ERA; had he qualified, he would have ranked 4th in the Northern League.

Richmond moved to the rotation in 2007, where he had a 10-9, 4.26 record. The rest of the staff was just 28-49 as Richmond led in wins. He was 10th in the Northern League in ERA. The Toronto Blue Jays signed Richmond following the season.

In the 2007 Baseball World Cup, Richmond joined Team Canada; Canada also put Jamie Richmond (no relation) on the team. While Jamie Richmond had a fine tournament, Scott Richmond struggled. He was 0-2 with a 9.39 ERA, taking two of Canada's 3 losses. He led the team in hits allowed (14) and homers allowed (2) and had the second-worst ERA (ahead of Mike Kusiewicz). Facing the Cuban national team (which won Silver), Richmond relieved Phillippe Aumont in the third inning and gave up 9 hits and four runs in four innings of work, including a Yulieski Gourriel home run. He threw one scoreless inning of relief against the Dutch national team (which finished 4th). Against the Australian national team, he entered with a 3-3 tie, 2 outs and the bases loaded in the 6th, retiring Andrew Graham to escape the jam. After Canada took the lead in the bottom of the 6th, Richmond allowed a double to Trent Oeltjen in the 7th and a run-scoring single to Justin Huber. In the 9th, he gave up a double to Luke Hughes and walked Oeltjen. Brad Harman doubled to give Australia the lead. After an intentional walk to Huber, Richmond was lifted for Mike Johnson, who let two inherited runners score. Canada lost 7-6 and Richmond took his second defeat.

Richmond did better in the 2008 Final Olympic Qualification Tournament. He was 2-0 with a 1.35 ERA, getting a win in a 15-10 slugfest over Mexico and throwing four scoreless frames against a strong South Korean national team offense (which included the tourney leaders in RBI, runs and average) for a second win. Richmond tied Kwang-hyun Kim, Min-han Son, Chien-Ming Chiang, Chien-Fu Yang and teammates Alexandre Periard and Steve Green for the tourney lead in wins. He ranked 6th in ERA. Thanks in part to Richmond's work, Canada won a spot in the 2008 Olympics.

Richmond was 5-8 with a 4.92 ERA in 16 games for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in his Organized Baseball debut. He was then called up to the Syracuse Chiefs and was 0-2 with a 2.50 ERA in five starts, with 31 strikeouts in 32 innings. He was placed on Canada's roster for the 2008 Olympics. However, he was unable to make the trip to Beijing as he was called up to Toronto at that point to replace the injured Brian Tallet. James Avery took his spot on the Olympic roster.

Richmond made his major league debut with the Toronto Blue Jays on July 30, 2008, in a losing start against the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing 3 runs in 5 1/3 IP. Scott allowed a single to the first batter he faced in The Show, Akinori Iwamura, and Carl Crawford tripled him home two batters later. In spite of this inauspicious debut, Richmond managed to turn some heads in his last start of the season on September 26, when he pitched a rain-shortened 6-inning complete game shutout to earn his first Major League victory by a 3-0 score over Baltimore. He finished the season 1-3 with a 4.00 ERA for the Jays, walking only two in 27 innings.

Now a top Blue Jay pitching prospect, Richmond suddenly found himself Team Canada's ace at the 2009 World Baseball Classic, as all of the team's more experienced starting pitchers - Jeff Francis, Rich Harden, Ryan Dempster and Erik Bedard - bowed out of the competition. Richmond was expected to start Canada's opening game against Team USA on March 7, but manager Ernie Whitt chose the veteran Mike Johnson instead, then used Vince Perkins in the second game against Italy, leaving Richmond to start the must-win third game against Venezuela. However, the plan backfired when Perkins pitched poorly and Italy eliminated Canada in an upset, leaving Richmond entirely out of the action.

Richmond was named the AL Rookie of the Month for April 2009, going 3-0 with an ERA of 2.70 in four starts that month with the Blue Jays. He would miss 19 games in July '09, suffering from tendonitis in his right shoulder.

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