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Blue Jays infield battle nothing short of compelling

DUNEDIN, FLA.—There have been a number of adjustments that Lourdes Gurriel Jr. needed to make to his defensive recreation after last year, so he turned to gurus in the discipline.

The Blue Jays’ 25-yr-aged utility participant viewed clips of New York Mets 2nd baseman and two-time Gold Glove winner Robinson Cano — since, he says, “everybody watches” Cano. He experienced with brother Yuli Gurriel of the Houston Astros, who has performed every infield position as very well as left discipline in three decades in the large leagues.

Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo greeted the arrival of versatile Freddy Galvis with a smile: “Galvis is one of those guys that, when we signed him, five or six coaches called me and said, ‘That’s a good signing. That’s a great team guy.’”
Blue Jays supervisor Charlie Montoyo greeted the arrival of functional Freddy Galvis with a smile: “Galvis is one particular of all those men that, when we signed him, 5 or six coaches named me and said, ‘That’s a great signing. That is a good team guy.’”  (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN Press)

And he examined Freddy Galvis, the defence-1st shortstop who just so took place to sign a one particular-yr, $4-million deal (all pounds U.S.) with the Jays at the close of January, with a $5.5-million club option for 2020.

Galvis and Gurriel fulfilled two off-seasons ago in Miami, where they strike and practised together with Jays DH Kendrys Morales. Galvis, 29, supplied assistance again then — strategies that Gurriel right away put to use. Additional concepts have been shared this earlier off-year, and Gurriel can only envision what a yr together with Galvis will do for his recreation.

“He does so substantially on the discipline, but also acquiring him in the locker area,” Gurriel said. “It’s a good chance for me to learn from him, from his practical experience and just acquiring him around … I search forward to continuing studying from him and acquiring him by my side.”

The Jays have a decision to make at quick, where Gurriel performed 44 of his 65 online games last year. Galvis, one particular of the most long lasting players in the majors, has performed all 162 online games in each individual of the earlier two seasons — with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2017 and the San Diego Padres in 2018.

Do they go with Galvis, a plus defender who experienced a 1.2 WAR last year, but has never strike superior than .263 in seven seasons in the large leagues? Or do they proceed with Gurriel, a .281 hitter in his rookie yr who fully commited 9 errors — tied for the team high in restricted responsibility — and struggled with awkward footwork in the discipline?

Galvis says he arrived at spring teaching anticipating to engage in shortstop every day, while he has also seen time at 2nd foundation, third foundation, left discipline and centre discipline.

Gurriel, in the meantime, says he has no desire — quick, 2nd or the outfield, where he obtained some reps when he was even now playing in his indigenous Cuba — as very long as he’s in the lineup.

What’s distinct is that the Jays have a lot more alternatives. Galvis has acquired rave testimonials from former teammates, and Blue Jays pitchers are looking forward to acquiring him on their side — a issue of satisfaction of the functional Venezuelan.

“I assume the pitchers, they do genuinely challenging work every one day to get all set, and then when they go to the recreation they want to make the pitches where they want and just to get a grounder or some thing like that,” he said. “For me, I will usually give 150 for every cent to make the schedule plays for all those men, and attempt to assist all those men to get genuinely quick innings.”

Galvis also has a standing for leadership in the clubhouse, a trait that supervisor Charlie Montoyo ideas to choose benefit of. Gurriel and top rated prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. have lockers side-by-side — bookended by Galvis and Morales. Montoyo says that was not by layout, but likes how it worked out.

“Galvis is one particular of all those men that, when we signed him, 5 or six coaches named me and said, ‘That’s a great signing. That is a good team guy. Not only a good shortstop but he’s heading to be a great team guy,’” Montoyo said.

Communication is a large part of Galvis’ recreation. Whether he is battling Gurriel for a task or playing together with him, Galvis said he is eager to assist his teammate wherever he can.

“I assume he has a genuinely great recreation,” Galvis said. “What I see in particular in the video clips, he can strike. He understands how to strike and he understands how to engage in defence, much too. I assume for me if I can assist him a very little little bit on the defence side, on the mentality side, I assume it’s heading to be great.”

Laura Armstrong is a sports activities reporter primarily based in Toronto. Comply with her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

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