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Arencibia named Blue Jays' Clemente nominee

Catcher up for award saluting off-the-field contributions to community

TORONTO -- J.P. Arencibia's various charitable work and contributions in the community have earned the fourth-year catcher a nomination for the prestigious Roberto Clemente Award.

Arencibia has maintained a visible presence at almost all of the JaysCare Foundation's events this season while also taking time to visit local schools to speak out against bullying and to discuss positive nutritional habits.

The 27-year-old has taken part in the Blue Jays' Winter Tour in each of the past three years, and he seems to relish every opportunity he has to make a difference off the field through his volunteer work.

"We have an opportunity to make impacts in our careers," Arencibia said earlier this summer. "Some people look at us, we're different at what we do. But at the end of the day, we're the same. But they may be able to hear our message a little bit clearer.

"I'm fortunate to do what I do for a living, and I'm fortunate to play for a city, a province and a country. So to be able to go out there and give back to the people that give me the opportunity to do my job is important."

Tuesday is Roberto Clemente Day throughout Major League Baseball, a day instituted on the 30th anniversary of his passing in 1972 to keep alive Clemente's spirit of giving. Voting runs from Sept. 17 through Oct. 6 at as fans help decide which of those 30 club winners will receive this prestigious recognition. The nominees were chosen based on their dedication to giving back to the community, as well as their outstanding ability on the field.

A lot of Blue Jays players are asked to partake in charity events and school visits throughout the year, but Arencibia in particular has taken on more than his fair share of duties off the field.

When asked about his charitable work earlier in the year, Arencibia said a lot of it was based on his memories as a young fan and what it meant to him when professional athletes went the extra mile. He views off-the-field work as part of the job of being a Major Leaguer while helping to promote the game and impacting the lives of many individuals.

There was even an example earlier this year when Arencibia went out of his way to offer his support to a Blue Jays fan who had been diagnosed with autism and had Tweeted about his experiences being bullied. Arencibia promptly responded to the Tweet by offering free tickets to the home opener in the hope that it would send a message as the bullies "can watch from home."

"For me, the biggest thing is how you treat people and the legacy that you leave behind," Arencibia said at the time. "Even from just that, it has made me want to start a program or do something for people that have to deal with that stuff. Not just autism, but also being bullied.

"I'm in a position where I can take somebody like that and make it a special day for them. It makes whoever was bullying wish they had the same opportunity. Make those people realize they are special regardless of whether they have health issues or they're not the cool one in the class. None of that makes a difference, everyone is a human being and everyone has a heart."

Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB.
Read More: Toronto Blue Jays, J.P. Arencibia