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Ormond Beach Observer Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2012 5 years ago

Minor league pitcher coaches Golden Spikes little league

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When he's not pitching in the Toronto Blue Jays' farm system, Tucker Jensen helps coach the Ormond Beach Golden Spikes.

BY MATT MENCARINI | STAFF WRITER

Tucker Jensen had a rough night on the mound last week. But he didn’t mind that almost every pitch he threw was lined into the outfield, or even that one bounced off the top of the homerun fence.

In a way, he was hoping this would happen.

After playing Seabreeze High School ball, then four years at Embry-Riddle, Jensen was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays organization in 2011 as a free agent. But now, he’s back in Ormond Beach for the offseason to help coach 12-year-olds in the Ormond Beach Golden Spikes.

And throwing batting practice is one of his favorite coaching duties.

“I grew up playing with the Spikes,” Jensen said. “And I love giving back and just teaching kids the right way to play baseball and just have fun. I really wanted to come back out here and get around the game of baseball with kids that love playing.”

And it was while throwing batting practice for the Spikes that Jensen gave up so many hits, as his players tried to slam home runs off a professional pitcher, so they could brag about it later to their friends.

Jensen is also working with J.R. House, another Seabreeze alum, who played five years in the majors.

Life in the minors

Jensen spent most of last season with the Bluefield Blue Jays, the Jays’ rookie-level affiliate in the Appalachian League, before being called up to the Dunedin Blue Jays, an advanced Single-A affiliate in the Florida State League.

“They needed some relief just before the playoffs,” Jensen said on his promotion. “And I was there for emergency, in case someone couldn’t start or couldn’t go.”

He reports to spring training in Dunedin at the end of February with the rest of the Blue Jays organization, from rookies to major league veterans.

Jensen said the opportunity gave him a chance to meet some of the players he might play with in the minors next season, as well as size up the organization’s top talent.

“I’m 23-years old,” Jensen said. “And whenever I see a major league guy hanging out and talking to me I still get kind of giddy. I feel like a little kid again, because they’re in the big leagues.”

Jensen said the major league players usually buy dinners for minor leaguers and even pay their clubhouse dues, since they were all there at one point. It's that kind of community.

“That’s usually why the major league guys do it,” Jensen said. “They know the grind of the minor leagues and they know how the system works.”

Life after baseball

While he’s in the area for the offseason, Jensen said he’s going back to school to work on finishing his degree in communications, with a psychology minor.

One day, after baseball, he says he wants to pursue a career in sports journalism.

“I want to stay in sports,” Jensen said. “I want to broadcast, be a color (analyst) or in sports writing, whichever comes along. Because now I’m developing relationships with pro teams, and that’s good in the long run.”

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