Blue Jays Add Versatile Ex-Guardian Ernie Clement

Blue Jays Add Versatile Ex-Guardian Ernie Clement
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It isn’t the biggest signing, though the Toronto Blue Jays shortened their odds of trying to find bench help by signing infielder-outfielder Ernie Clement.

He has been invited to the major-league camp after signing a minor-league contract. Clement, listed generously as being a 6-footer, joins Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal as insurance policies for Toronto’s big-name, big-bat infielders. Clement can replace any of them at any spot and do a good job defensively while being a pesky out at the plate. He can help out in left field or center in an emergency as well.

Clement was released last weekend by the Oakland Athletics. They had acquired him on waivers from the Cleveland Guardians in September.

Defense, Defense!

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Clement turns 27 next week. In 109 games for Cleveland the past two seasons, he hit only .204 but was solid defensively at five positions.

He hit .261 in parts of three seasons for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He has one minor-league option remaining and likely will be sent to the Buffalo Bisons of the International League.

Clement hit .309 at the University of Virginia and was a fourth-round pick by Cleveland in 2017.  In the 2015 College World Series, he batted .292 to help the Cavaliers win their first national championship.

Clement has a career .273 batting average in the minors.

Fans, coaches, and managers love him for his hustle and gritty toughness. He developed that in high school on the baseball diamond and in the ice hockey rink. Cleveland manager Terry Francona gave the raw rookie more playing time during a stretch run to the playoffs in 2021. That came after Clement hit the first two of his three career homers in the same game against the Detroit Tigers on August 13th.

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Chuck Murr

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