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Wednesday Bantering: Canadian becomes first woman in West Coast League

Your (not so) morning update for everything Blue Jays.

Pan Am Games: Women's Baseball-Canada vs United States
Canada player Claire Eccles (21) throws a pitch against the United States in the women's baseball gold medal match during the 2015 Pan Am Games at Ajax Pan Am Ballpark.
Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports

Canadian Claire Eccles, a left-handed knuckleballer, is set to become the first woman ever to play in the West Coast League. Eclles, who plays for the Canadian women’s baseball team, has signed with the Victoria HarbourCats, a non-affiliated collegiate summer baseball team.

The general manager of the HarbourCats, Brad Norris-Jones, spoke to The Canadian Press about the move. “100 per cent Claire is good enough to play on our team. Is it going to be a challenge for Claire? Absolutely. We're just going to get everyone involved and show that in 2017, this isn't different. This isn't weird. It's normal."

"I was obviously a little skeptical," Eccles said. "You have to wonder: 'Is this just for their own publicity?' Brad said I'd get fair opportunities and it's not just for show."

You can read more about Eccles and her story on CBC here.

The New York Mets signed reliever Neil Ramirez to a major-league deal yesterday, per Ken Rosenthal. Ramirez was a Blue Jay for a very short tenure, as he was claimed off of waivers from the Giants and subsequently designated for assignment without being claimed. Ramirez, however, rejected his assignment to triple-A Buffalo, and instead opted to become a free agent.

Ramirez, despite struggling this season (15 earned runs in just more than 10 innings with the Giants), has had a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 18:4. As a rookie with the Chicago Cubs in 2014, Ramirez pitched in exactly 50 games, collecting an ERA of 1.44 and FIP of 2.61.

The Blue Jays optioned Leonel Campos to triple-A Buffalo prior to yesterday’s game, per an announcement from the team. In a corresponding move, the team recalled outfielder Darrell Ceciliani, giving Toronto an extra bench player and one less reliever. They were previously operating with a two-man bench and nine-man bullpen.

In injury news, Troy Tulowitzki is not expected to return to Toronto’s roster today, but he will most likely return tomorrow for the Blue Jays’ last game against Atlanta.

Francisco Liriano, on the disabled list with shoulder inflammation since May 11th, played catch yesterday, and “felt good,” Arden Zwelling of Sportsnet reports. Toronto expects Liriano to throw off of a mound within the upcoming days.

Dalton Pompey played in his first game since his concussion during the World Baseball Classic yesterday, tweeting that he “never felt so good” to be back on the field. Pompey will likely be headed to high-A ball by the end of the week, if everything goes according to plan.

Mike Bolsinger will start on Saturday against the Orioles despite his most recent poor outing, per John Gibbons. Toronto’s rotation for the five upcoming days is as follows: Joe Biagini, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Mike Bolsinger and Marco Estrada.

The Blue Jays re-signed catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia to a minor-league deal, according to an official announcement from the Buffalo Bisons. Saltalamacchia, who has the longest last name in major league history, began the season as the Blue Jays’ back-up catcher, but struggled both offensively and defensively. In 25 at-bats, Saltalamacchia struck out 16 times, reaching base only twice with a single and a walk.

Saltalamacchia may see some time at the major league league level in the upcoming days, as Russell Martin is currently on the disabled list and Toronto’s catching arsenal consists of Luke Maile and Mike Ohlman. However, Toronto’s front office may be understandably hesitant in recalling Saltalamacchia, given his poor performance earlier this season.

The Blue Jays lost 9-5 to the Braves last night, ending a wildly-successful home stand that consisted of a four-game sweep and five-game winning streak. The Blue Jays, despite being down early, fought back to tie the game. When they were down 6-5 in the bottom of the eighth, with two runners on and no out, Devon Travis was at the plate.

For some incomprehensible reason, Travis was called on to bunt in the situation, despite hitting six doubles in his past three games and recording a .320 batting average in the month of May, where he leads all of major league baseball with 12 doubles. By the end of Travis’ at bat, he had struck out, squandering any chance the Blue Jays had to win the game. The bullpen proceeded to give up three more runs in the top of the ninth.

Today, the Blue Jays move to SunTrust Park in Atlanta for the third game of their two-city series. Beginning at 7:35 ET, Joe Biagini will try to continue his hot streak on the mound in the third start of his major league career against Atlanta starter Mike Foltynewicz (try saying that 10 times fast). You can watch the game on Sportsnet and listen to it on Sportsnet 590.

Follow Mark on Twitter: @MarkColley.