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Delgado back in Toronto for Pan Am Games

Delgado back in Toronto for Pan Am Games

Posted by PanamericanWorld on July 20, 2015

Carlos Delgado knew immediately that he wanted to be involved with Puerto Rico's Pan Am baseball team.

The city in which the multi-sport event was being held had a lot to do with that.

"Definitely having the Pan Am Games in Toronto was a plus in influencing my decision to come," said the former Blue Jay, who's been an unofficial coach of the Puerto Rican squad since the tournament began last week.

"I was going to come anyway because our family loves the city, so it was going to be a nice vacation. But when I was asked if I wanted to come (help the team) I said: 'For sure, I'm there.'"

Delgado holds the Blue Jays' franchise records for home runs (336), RBI's (1,058), extra-base hits (690), slugging percentage (.556) and on-base plus slugging (.949). He spent 12 of his 17 big-league seasons in Toronto from 1993 to 2004 after being signed by the Blue Jays as an amateur free agent in 1988.

While he hasn't played in Toronto in over 10 years, the Aguadilla, Puerto Rico native still considers the Canadian city "a second home."

Walking out to the field ahead of Saturday night's semifinal against Canada, Delgado was greeted with loud cheers from Canadian fans.

Delgado and Roberto Alomar — who also guest-coached the Puerto Rican team for a few days last week — were recognized at the MLB all-star game in Cincinnati as two of Toronto's "Fab 4" franchise players as voted by fans. Two-time Cy Young Award winner Roy Halladay and Joe Carter, who hit the World Series winning home run in 1993, were the others.

Delgado says that kind of recognition "doesn't go unnoticed."

"It's very nice and very humbling," he said. "I was here for 11 years and Canadians and people from Toronto always treated me like a son. I'm very appreciative of this.

"Every time I come back I feel that support and it's the greatest compliment. It's always nice to come back."

Delgado, who retired from playing in 2011, was invited to be an honorary guest coach/mentor of the Puerto Rican Pan Am team by manager Edwin Rodriguez, whom he coached with at the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Delgado got his first real taste of coaching at the WBC, where he served as a hitting coach for a Puerto Rican side that lost to the Dominican Republic in the final.

Since then, he's also worked part-time as a roving instructor in the Blue Jays system.

"It's been great," Delgado said of his experience as a coach. "I talk to the guys about the game, their mental preparation, their mental approach, not necessarily the mechanics of hitting but just what it takes to become a professional major leaguer."

Delgado and his Puerto Rican team dropped a 7-6 decision to Cuba in the Pan Am bronze medal game on Sunday afternoon after falling 7-1 to Canada in the semis. Cuba had lost 6-5 to the U.S. in the other semi.

Puerto Rico had nine players under 25-years-old on its 24-man roster — including 2010 Blue Jays draft pick Dickie Joe Thon. The Puerto Ricans finished fourth in the round-robin portion of the tournament with a 4-2 record, taking losses against Canada and Cuba.

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