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A reliever for any situation

Bryan Longpre, a former Falcon, has been soaring to new heights in Minor League baseball with the Vancouver Canadians.

August 03, 2011|By Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

Unpredictability is a given for Bryan Longpre when making the brief jog from the bullpen to the pitcher's mound. That's life being a relief pitcher, something Longpre doesn't forget while staring into his catcher for a sign before uncorking his first pitch.

Whether the bases are empty or loaded, it's Longpre's time to step up and retire hitters. No matter the situation, he's ready to squelch a potential rally by an opponent, whether in the United States or Canada.

"You love the different situations you are brought into," said Longpre, now a member of the Vancouver Canadians of the Class-A Short Season Northwest League. "It's about going out there and being able to grind it out.

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"I embrace the grind and I just go out there and keep my head down and concentrate on getting people out. As a reliever, you never know what you are going to encounter. So, you have to be ready for anything to happen."

He's had no problem embracing any situation assigned to him. For Longpre, a right-hander who graduated from Crescenta Valley High in 2005 and Cal State Northridge in 2009, it's about mixing up his pitches and using pinpoint accuracy to record outs.

Longpre has already had his share of success with Vancouver, an affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.

He's modest about his brief body of work, while, at the same time, hoping to possibly don a Major League Baseball uniform. Through Sunday, Longpre is 3-2 with two saves and a tidy 0.73 earned-run average. In 13 appearances, he's struck out 22 and walked eight in 24 2/3 innings for Vancouver (25-19).

"Here in Vancouver, they treat you like you are in the big leagues," said Longpre, who was signed as a free agent by Toronto last year before being assigned to the Gulf Coast League Blue Jays in Florida. "I do not want to get too far ahead of myself.

"It's a slow process and I have to remember that. You are going to have your times when you are struggling and then things go great for you. I've developed a routine for myself where I'm throwing every day. Mostly, it's long tossing, but I also run every day because you always have to be prepared."

Longpre gained experience while toiling in the Florida humidity last year. Less than two months after signing a free-agent contract with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Longpre earned his first promotion.

Longpre went 1-1 with eight saves and a 3.63 ERA with the Gulf Coast Jays. In 15 appearances, he struck out 18 and allowed 11 runs (seven earned) in 17 1/3 innings.

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