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Rasmus' dad to be integral resource in Toronto

Rasmus' dad to be integral resource in Toronto

Rasmus' dad to be integral resource in Toronto
TORONTO -- If there was one clear indication on Wednesday that Toronto will be a fresh start for Colby Rasmus, it was when Blue Jays manager John Farrell told him he wants to bring his father Tony into discussions about his hitting.

Rasmus, 24 years old and oozing with potential, was accused of not listening to the Cardinals' coaching staff and siding with his father, who allegedly did not agree with the direction that the Cardinals were sending him in.

But now, Rasmus' father will be a welcome part of the dialogue as the Blue Jays try to get his career back on track in a new city, a new country and a new uniform.

"The one thing that we do know is that Colby's dad has had a lot of experience with him," Farrell said before the Blue Jays' 8-2 win over the Orioles. "He knows his swing. Colby spoke openly about that. And we want to do what's right by Colby."

What a world of difference for this former first round Draft pick. Rasmus dug in his heels, stuck to what he thought was right and eventually it was him who went, traded to Toronto on Wednesday as part of a blockbuster eight-player trade.

For his part, Rasmus downplayed the influence of his father, saying repeatedly that he was just focused on playing good baseball and wasn't concerned with any outside distractions.

who's going where?
A look at which players went where in the three-team, 11-player trade between the Cardinals, Blue Jays and White Sox:
Cardinals Blue Jays White Sox
Octavio Dotel Trever Miller Jason Frasor
Edwin Jackson Colby Rasmus Zach Stewart
Corey Patterson Brian Tallet
Marc Rzepczynski Mark Teahen
3 PTBNL or cash P.J. Walters

"I don't think that needs to be a big issue, really," Rasmus said when asked about his father's role in his career. "My dad coached me all the way growing up. He has a big interest in my baseball career and wants me to play well."

Rasmus has been coached by his father since he was 8 years old, and played for him at Russell Country High School in Seale, Ala., where he won a national high school championship in 2005. Rasmus was the team's star pitcher and broke an Alabama state record that year with 24 home runs under the tutelage of his father.

Farrell wants to tap into that instruction and learn the ins and outs of exactly what Rasmus was taught, all the way down to what specific terminology was used.

For Farrell, it's all about providing as comfortable of a situation as possible for his new center fielder.

"There's a lot of familiarity there," Farrell said of the instructional relationship between Rasmus and his father. "That's obvious. I think it's just being prudent on our part to find out what that means. I think it's important for us to find out either the terminology or the specifics to his swing that he's been accustomed to describing in a certain way.

"We're all products of nature. We're all products of a past where certain terms and certain terminology means certain things. And for the matter of clarity and consistency, I think it's our responsibility to find out what some of those terms mean and how they're played out."

Farrell said he has experienced similar situations in the past, where consulting an individual who has had a big effect on a young baseball player's career can be a positive tool for getting the best out of the player.

Farrell did not go into specifics, but said he has been down this bumpy road before and has learned from his experiences.

"You recognize that players have individual needs," Farrell said. "The most important thing is that there's a consistent message. Players get lost in the mix a little bit when you have a different message being delivered by multiple people."

All of that is well and fine for Rasmus, who hopes to block all of this out and get back to simply playing baseball every day. The 24-year-old has struggled through his third big league season, batting .246 with 11 home runs and 40 RBIs in 94 games after back-to-back impressive seasons to begin his career.

Rasmus is admittedly shy, and says that he would prefer to fly under the radar during his time in Toronto while he tries to get his game back on track.

Of course he knows that is likely far from possible.

"It's alright, I feel like I can handle it," Rasmus said. "I've got an idea of what I'm going to try to do as far as playing-wise and dealing with some of the stuff. I don't really prefer the limelight. But it's part of the job, so I'm going to do my best to handle it and play baseball."

Certainly things will get easier after Thursday, when Rasmus attracted large media gatherings both before and after the game and seemingly had a camera on him at all times throughout the day.

Rasmus said that the intense attention threw him off his routine and contributed to his 0-for-5 night at the plate in his Blue Jays' debut on Thursday night.

"I didn't really feel too comfortable at the plate, but I guess that's to be expected," Rasmus said with a shrug. "With all the stuff going on, my mind was a little all over the place. I couldn't really relax and settle down -- my mind was everywhere. That was a little tough to deal with."

But this is baseball, and tomorrow is a new day with a new team, a new series and a new set of at-bats to try to right the ship.

Spending the better part of his Thursday nervously fielding questions about his father, his game and his tumultuous relationship with the coaching staff in St. Louis, Rasmus always had one thing on his mind.

"I'm ready to play and play hard," Rasmus said. "I think tomorrow will be a good day."

Arden Zwelling is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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