Toronto Blue Jays center fielder Colby Rasmus is older than Cory by about 15 months. Cory isn’t with the Angels yet — he’s at Triple-A Salt Lake — but Colby has decent idea of what Angels fans can expect from his younger brother once he arrives.
“We played together from the time we was little bitty,” Colby Rasmus said.
Before he offered his scouting report Friday, Colby showed that the brothers Rasmus have something in common. On Thursday he unleashed a throw from deep right-center field, only a few steps in front of the warning track, that sailed over the infield and hit Blue Jays catcher J.P. Arencibia on the fly. The throw was too late to gun down Chris Nelson tagging up from third base on a fly ball, but the play shouldn’t have been remotely close in the first place.
Angels third base coach Dino Ebel said that Rasmus has the best arm from center field he’s seen this year. If Cory’s arm is just as good, the Angels might have themselves a pitcher.
“He’s got a good mix of pitches he throws: Two-seamer, four-seamer, got a pretty good hook, a good changeup,” Colby Rasmus said. “He gets out there and gets after it.”
Though they often played baseball together growing up in Phenix City, Alabama, Cory didn’t pitch to Colby as you might expect. It was the other way around.
“I had arm problems my sophomore year” of high school, Colby said. “I was 8-0 my sophomore year, threw a curveball one game and wasn’t ever the same after that. I started working on hitting. With him, he was throwing 98 as a junior, so he decided he was going to take the easy route.”
The switch worked. Colby was a first-round draft pick (28th overall) by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2005. Cory was taken 38th overall the following year by the Braves.
However, a pair of shoulder surgeries stalled Cory’s progress. He only pitched three games for the Braves’ Rookie-level affiliate after his high school season ended in 2006. He missed all of 2007 and pitched just four games in 2008. By 2009, Cory was healthy and climbing the organizational ladder, and by May of this year he was in the majors.
His second career appearance came against the Blue Jays.
“That wasn’t too cool,” said Colby, who hit a double off his brother in their first professional meeting. “When he came in the game was already pretty much blown up. When I faced him the game was already 9 to 1. It wasn’t too much fun. If it was a big spot in the game where we could kind of dig it out, but it was already blown up. Just seeing all the struggles he’s been through … to battle back from those injuries to make it, it was awesome. At the end of the day, I just got up there and did what I had to do.”
The Blue Jays went on to win the game, 9-3. Cory spent the next three weeks in Triple-A. The Braves’ bullpen is a deep one, carrying the second-lowest runs allowed per game (3.52) in the majors. The Angels rank third-highest in that category (4.66), so presumably there’s more of an opportunity for Cory in Anaheim.
In his debut with Salt Lake on Tuesday, Cory Rasmus pitched a scoreless ninth inning to earn the save against the Iowa Cubs.
“He was excited about” the trade, Colby said. “I think it’s good for him to get a change. He’d been with the Braves since ’06. I think the change of scenery will be good for him, get him jacked up.”