|Julian Edelman impresses Blue Jays coaching staff in weekend workout in Toronto||06.18.12 at 5:45 pm ET|
Julian Edelman is one of several Patriots who can bring a versatile dynamic to the field. A college quarterback, he’s lined up at wide receiver, defensive back and returner since he arrived in Foxboro before the start of the 2009 season.
But a weekend stint working out with the Blue Jays in Toronto showed off a side of Edelman’s versatility that few have seen. Edelman spent the weekend in Toronto hanging out with the Blue Jays and pal J.P. Arencibia. (The two have become friends through linebacker Jerod Mayo, who was at Tennessee with Arencibia.) On Sunday before the Phillies-Blue Jays game, working with Blue Jays coach Brian Butterfield, who was born in Maine and is a big Patriots’ fan, Edelman put on a show.
Over the years, several Patriots have shown some baseball experience: Quarterback Tom Brady was drafted as a catcher out of high school by the Expos, while safety Jarrad Page (who spent the 2010 season with the Patriots) played college baseball at UCLA and was good enough to get drafted by three different teams before committing to football. But it’s unlikely they ever impressed a major league coaching staff like the 26-year-old Edelman did on Sunday.
“He worked out for us at shortstop and took ground balls and fly balls, and he took batting practice with Group Four, and he just wowed us,” said Butterfield. “He worked unbelievably hard, and was just soaked by the end of batting practice.
“[Second baseman] Kelly Johnson took balls alongside him, and said he was amazing. He’s never seen footwork as good as that. The first fungo you hit him, he just exploded and attacked the ball,” he added. “Dwayne Murphy, who won seven Gold Gloves, was watching him take fly balls and said he was impressive.”
During batting practice, Butterfield said Edelman hit five homers, including two into the middle deck at Rogers Centre.
“In his first round or two, he struggled a little, but you could see the bat speed and the athleticism. And then, he got hot — he hit two balls into the middle deck and five home runs total,” Butterfield said.
“The two in the middle deck were absolute bombs. When he hit them, the guys were just screaming and yelling and telling each other, ‘Look at that!’ He just wowed all of our guys. I’m a huge fan of his to begin with, and he was just even better than I thought. A great athlete.”
Butterfield said there have been several celebs — as well as athletes from other sports — who have taken BP with the Blue Jays, but no one compares to Edelman, saying Edelman was “far and away the best [outsider] I’ve seen by a pretty wide margin. He is a really good player.”
Afterward, Arencibia Tweeted: “My boy @Edelman11 showing the guys how to hit it in the [second] deck during batting practice!” Meanwhile, Edelman added, “Thank you guys for everything had a blast” and “I’ll do the same with the Red Sox if they let me!”
Butterfield was asked to break down Edelman as a potential prospect.
“You start looking at his running speed, he has great speed. At the plate, he just had a natural stroke,” Butterfield said. “One thing he struggled with early was the fact that he hadn’t thrown a baseball in a while — you could tell he’s had shoulder surgery, but the arm strength was there. His throws were very impressive, with good carry.
“He didn’t look like a football player trying to throw a baseball. He was really good — you could certainly project him as a professional baseball player.”
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