Baseball players enjoy February break alongside Saskatchewan. MLB pitchers

It’s not every day that you receive encouraging words from a Major League Baseball pitcher.

But it’s been the talk all week at the Going Yard Baseball Academy, where a group of aspiring baseball players got to hear some coaching advice and share a few laughs from North Battleford’s Andrew Albers and Muenster’s Logan Hofmann.

“Being back here a little longer this offseason, working with the kids a little bit, especially since they’re throwing a little more now. It was funny. It’s nice to meet the kids and you see the talent we have here in Saskatchewan,” Albers said.

For the cold winter months, the pair aren’t great players, they’re just two guys from Saskatchewan training and staying sharp.

For Going Yard players, there is no other place where they would spend their February vacation.

“Obviously they look up to me, so I want to be a good role model for them,” said Hofmann, a former academy participant.

“Just watching them is cool too because it takes me back to when I was their age going to the academy. It’s like what I was doing at their age. It’s really cool to to see.

Both players bring two totally different sets of experiences to their offseason in Saskatoon.

Albers is 36 and is looking to play another season at baseball’s top level after earning a buyout run with the Minnesota Twins last season.

Originally entering the league with the Twins in 2013, Albers has spent time with five major league franchises since the San Diego Padres selected him in the 10th round (315th overall) in the Major League Draft of baseball in 2008. Albers also spent time playing in Japan and South Korea.

Caught in the middle of the MLB lockout, he’s just happy to be surrounded by his friends and family as he hopes for another chance to pitch, an opportunity that will have to wait for a new collective bargaining agreement. ratified.

“I don’t really know what the future holds for us right now. So we’re kind of in a waiting pattern,” Albers said.

“It’s not really under my control. So I’m more concerned with preparing as best I can in case I get an opportunity. Obviously, there is also a bit of uncertainty there.

Hoffmann, 22, is coming off an impressive underage season as he continues his journey to earn regular minutes after being drafted in the fifth round of the 2020 MLB Draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates – the highest overall selection from Saskatchewan.

His main focus this season is to try and earn as many opportunities as he can as he continues to work his way through the Pirates’ minor league affiliates.

“Obviously, that’s my job. You have to take it seriously, but you still have to have fun with it and enjoy it while you’re out there,” Hofmann said.

Masen Anderson is a prospect from Saskatoon who is preparing to move to the United States in August to play college baseball at Shoreline Community College. Until then, he plans to absorb as much knowledge as possible.

“It’s a whole different approach to the game,” Anderson said of Albers and Hofmann’s dedication.

“Having that professional mindset, they just have a completely different approach to how they pitch.”

However, being in the batting box against a seasoned pro like Albers is a pretty humbling experience.

“It’s not fun,” Andersen said blankly. “They don’t give you anything you like to hit. It’s not so humiliating to raise your cap and say, ‘You’re a pro and that’s what you get paid for.’ »

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