"What I picture him as, is my favourite position, what I call a glue guy," said Czaijkowski, who has been working with Nick Purdy and the rest of the Canadians staff at extended spring training. "A glue guy is a guy that can patch up spots.
"He can start, he can go long, he can go short, maybe he can close out a game, who knows? He's a guy that can do all manner of things."
Purdy, who was drafted twice but never signed, started last season in the rotation for the Blue Jays rookie league team in the Gulf Coast League but begins this season coming out of the bullpen for the Canadians.
At a level where almost every hurler is coming from a starting background in either high school or college, Purdy is thrilled with the shift to the pen.
"I'm very happy to be coming out of the bullpen," said Purdy, who signed with Toronto prior to last season after a career at Hillborough Community College in Tampa, Florida.
"I just come in from the bullpen, throw two innings and then get out. I like it better. I like spur of the moment, coming in and throwing two then maybe a day off, then maybe another inning."
Czaijkowski believes Purdy has the stuff to stick to the glue guy role, one that is often uncertain and can require a pitcher's arm to be able to bounce back.
The six-foot-5 Purdy doesn't throw that hard, topping out around 92 mph but it's an improved delivery and newly tweaked breaking ball – it's a curve-slider combo – which Czaijkowski believes will lead to success.
"He came in [to Extended Spring Training] and we straightened him out a little bit. By that I mean he throws across his body so we worked on his alignment to the plate. It's real tough to throw across your body and be consistent.
"Really towards the last few weeks of Extended Spring Training, he was untouchable with it [breaking ball]. He really had a good feel for it and he really put himself in a good position to come here. If not, it would have been Bluefield, but towards the end we felt he would be a good fit here.
"Now, Nick is being able to throw it for strikes a lot more. It's got a good sharp bite and it makes it a valuable weapon in his arsenal."
That arsenal also includes a Vulcan changeup, which resembles a forkball or split-finger fastball. It's something Purdy loves to throw but Czaijkowski has also fostered the development of a straight change to complement it, noting the Vulcan isn't as versatile.
"I guess it's a strikeout pitch to left-handed hitters," Czaijkowski said, when discussing the Vulcan. "It's not really a pitch that comes off of your fastball. It doesn't look like a fastball when it comes out so we're really trying to incorporate a straight change with the Vulcan."
He'll continue to develop both those pitches on his native soil. Purdy is from Grafton, Ontario and was thrilled to be assigned to Vancouver at the conclusion of the extended spring workouts. After all, it's a promotion forward and the chance to spend a season with the only Canadian team left in affiliated minor league baseball.
"I love it, I love being back home. Since I'm in Canada I'd like to finish my season here but if they decide to move me, I'm fine with that."
Purdy Versatile On Mound
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