MLB

Canada's Naylor brothers hit back-to-back Sunday for playoff-bound Guardians

Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona's batting order against Kansas City on Sunday featured the Naylor brothers of Mississauga, Ont., hitting back-to-back. Josh hit cleanup and played first base and Bo, who was called up from the minors Saturday, hit fifth as the DH.

Bo, 22, expected to be on team's post-season roster as 3rd catcher

Josh Naylor, left, celebrates his three-run homer in Sunday's second inning against the visiting Royals with younger brother Bo, who was recalled from triple-A on Saturday and is expected to serve as the club's third catcher in the playoffs. (Ron Schwane/Getty Images)

Cleveland Guardians' lineup had a family look on Sunday.

Manager Terry Francona's batting order against Kansas City featured the Naylor brothers of Mississauga, Ont., hitting back-to-back. Josh hit cleanup and played first base and Bo, who was called up from the minors Saturday, hit fifth as the designated hitter. Both players bat left-handed.

Josh hit a three-run homer and went 2-for-3 in the Guardians' 7-5 victory over the Royals while Bo went hitless with four strikeouts in four at-bats.

Bo is expected to be on Cleveland's post-season roster as the third catcher. On Saturday night, he became the 17th Guardians player to make his major league debut this season, matching the franchise record set in 1912 and tied two years later.

He entered in the sixth inning, going 0-for-2 and threw out Royals outfielder Kyle Isbel trying to steal second base.

"We wanted to let the kid get some nerves out of the way tonight," Francona said of Bo to reporters.

Bo, 22, was selected by Cleveland in the first round of the 2018 draft. He began this season at double-A Akron and was promoted to triple-A Columbus in June. He batted a combined .263 with 21 homers, 68 runs batted in and 20 stolen bases in 118 games.

Bo is the only catcher in the minor leagues this season to have 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases.

Cleveland acquired Josh Naylor, 25, from San Diego in 2020. He overcame a gruesome leg injury last season to play a major role in Cleveland's surprising run to the American Central title. He is batting .251 with 19 home runs and 73 RBI.

Selected 12th overall in the 2015 draft, Josh has already been traded twice, first from the Miami Marlins. He set an MLB record by going 5-for-5 in his first five post-season at-bats.

"It's an incredible experience to get traded because you battle both sides of the ball, the evil and the good," he told Vivek Jacob in the spring of 2021 for a CBCSports.ca story. "As you go on in your career, and in your life, you kind of realize everything happens for a reason."

Instilling the love of baseball for Naylor began with his parents, Chris and Jenice. Chris played both hockey and baseball growing up and so that's what he chose to introduce Josh to at an early age. Josh took to sports and competition like a duck to water, and any opportunity to get one over on someone was an opportunity he couldn't miss. This was a kid determined to have all the fun in the world.



"Ever since he was a toddler, he was a Tasmanian devil [of] energy," Jenice said. "That's what we nicknamed him — Tasmanian devil — because, honestly, it was non-stop with him. He was playful, he was interactive, whether it was in school, in the neighborhood, it was always go, go, go, go, go.

"And baseball was one of those things he always wanted to play or it was hockey. He always wanted to play and get everybody to play with him. Myself, grandmother, his dad, his siblings, the neighbour, he was just a very energetic, good-natured young guy."

Jenice, a probation officer, always looked to ensure her boys were focused and disciplined. She wanted her kids to be goal-oriented from the beginning; it was one of her tenets of parenting. No matter how small, she wanted to make sure they were always chasing something. And by setting goals, the trickle-down effect took care of "the process."

With files from CBC Sports

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