Boston College added Jimmy Van Ostrand to its coaching staff as a volunteer assistant coach, per a release from the athletic department on Wednesday. The former outfielder and first baseman last played in 2013 for the Washington Nationals organization with their AAA affiliate in Syracuse, NY and is also a current member of the Canadian National Team that played in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Van Ostrand played his college ball for Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, CA after playing for Allen Hancock College in the early 2000s. A native of Vancouver, he was drafted in 2003 by the Pittsburgh Pirates but declined their offer to play for the Mustangs. While on the left coast, he hit .317 with 44 RBI and 17 HR, improving his draft position three years later when the MLB First Year Player Draft reentry was picked up in the eighth round by the Houston Astros.
"It is extremely important to me that we surround our players with high character people who can help them develop on the field and also into quality men off the field," said manager Mike Gambino in a statement. "I think Jimmy fits that mold and is a great fit with our staff. He is coming off a great playing career and comes to us with extensive experience that our boys will be able to draw from. He will be a huge asset to our program, and we are extremely lucky and excited to have him join as staff."
He advanced to AA level ball with the Astros by 2008 before his career stalled in the Texas League despite hitting .306 in 2011. He would start 2012 with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters before being picked up by the Nationals organization. Assigned to Harrisburg, he hit .310 in 80 games, then started the '13 season in Pennsylvania before being promoted to Syracuse. He played with Team Canada in the '13 WBC, scoring an RBI in the team's 10-3 win over Mexico, and in the 2008 Olympics (the last Summer Games with baseball), hitting .286.
As volunteer coach, Van Ostrand is the final addition to BC before the team gets set to open their season next month at Santa Clara. Van Ostrand will also occupy the position last held by Steve Englert, the popular BC coach and manager of the Cape Cod Baseball League's Harwich Mariners, who departed the program this offseason.
Welcome to The Heights, Coach Van Ostrand!