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MacArthur: Special series looms for Rasmus family

Scott MacArthur
5/22/2013 12:21:07 AM
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TORONTO - When the Blue Jays and Braves meet for four games next week, two in Toronto and two in Dixie, fans in a small Alabama town will be tuned intently to their television sets.

Anyone with the Rasmus last name in Phenix City will be celebrating moments a lifetime in the making.

Brothers Colby and Cory, the Blue Jays' centerfielder and the pitcher recently recalled by the Braves, will be in opposite big league dugouts for the first time.

Colby found out about Cory's promotion before Saturday's game in New York.

"It was great to hear that," Rasmus told TSN.ca. "He's been pitching well this year. He's had a little bit of a tough road battling some injuries and some shoulder surgeries and things like that. Man, (Saturday) I was about ready to jump out of my skin. I didn't know what to do with myself. It was just a great day."

The two have always been close – about 15 months apart in age. Colby is 26, Cory is 25. There are four Rasmus boys and the brotherly competition began informally at a young age.

"We've put in a lot of time," said Rasmus. "From the time we could walk, we were playing baseball out in the yard."

Eventually a conversation happened between father, Tony, and the two boys that set the course for their professional careers and the face-to-face which could happen next week.

"At 10 years old, my dad sat us both down and asked us if we wanted to make it to the big leagues and he was going to push us in every way he knew how," said Rasmus. "It paid off."

Both were first round draft picks, Colby in 2005 to the Cardinals and Cory a year later to the Braves. Another brother, Casey, 23, plays 'A' ball in St. Louis' system.

While Colby made his major league debut on April 7, 2009 with St. Louis and hasn't returned to the minors, Cory's road has been injury-plagued and far less certain.

A flamethrower whose fastball consistently read in the mid-to-high 90s – and occasionally touch 100 mph – he was beset by shoulder tendinitis in 2006, his first pro season, and was shut down after only three appearances with the Gulf Coast League Braves.

Cory missed all of 2007 and most of 2008. He had more injury trouble in 2011 but bounced back in 2012 with a 3.68 ERA in 50 appearances for Atlanta's Double-A affiliate in Mississippi.

So far this season, Cory Rasmus has seven saves and a 0.93 ERA in 19 outings for Triple-A Gwinnett of the International League.

Colby Rasmus is still working on the details of next week's series. He's still not sure who will make the trek north for the Toronto portion of the Blue Jays-Braves series.

There will be dozens of family and friends come Wednesday in Atlanta, about a 90-minute drive from Phenix City.

It'll be a sweet payoff for the Rasmus brothers and their parents, both schoolteachers, who sacrificed a significant portion of their annual income to allow their kids to chase the baseball dream.

"We just worked our butts off pretty much," said Colby. "Countless hours in the gym working out. We spent more than enough time on the baseball field practicing, playing, traveling. My parents spent all their money that they had pretty much on traveling to go here and there and for Christmas, we didn't hardly get any presents or anything because they were putting all that money toward helping us with baseball."

Romero's struggles continue

Ricky Romero made his third start for Triple-A Buffalo on Tuesday.

He allowed one run and walked only two through the first five innings but it was in the sixth that Romero's outing fell apart.

He walked four straight Charlotte Knights' hitters before being taken out of the game.

Romero's final line: 5IP (plus four batters in the sixth,) four earned runs on four hits, six walks and two strikeouts.

Johnson making progress

Right-hander Josh Johnson, rehabbing from triceps inflammation, reported good health after Monday night's start for Single-A Dunedin.

Of the nine outs Johnson recorded, five were strikeouts.

He's scheduled to pitch again on Saturday and manager John Gibbons says he expects Johnson will make a third rehab appearance, in the middle of next week, before thought is given to bringing him back to the Blue Jays.

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