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Play Ball: Blue Jays look to fine-tune rebuild in Grapefruit League play

DUNEDIN, Fla. — There are 34 far more days and the tedium of a entire Grapefruit League timetable right up until first-yr supervisor Charlie Montoyo formally starts his reign as Blue Jays supervisor, but the toddler steps get started here on Saturday at the quickly to be rebuilt Dunedin Stadium.

With his team taking part in at its Florida property in entrance of curious Jays lovers and several family and mates who have made the trip from his native Puerto Rico, Montoyo will discipline a lineup not considerably off what is predicted on opening working day at the Rogers Centre.

There are relocating pieces and choices to be made, on the other hand, and as quickly as the exhibition opener, the club’s 13th supervisor and successor to the common John Gibbons will get started the analysis system in earnest.

More than the following thirty day period and 31 pre-period game titles, the roster will just take form as will the brand name of baseball deployed by Montoyo and his new coaching employees.

Who will bat leadoff? What will turn out to be of the crowded infield? Will basic supervisor Ross Atkins acquire some support for a threadbare bullpen? And how will mega-star- in-waiting around Vlad Guerrero Jr. strike major-league pitching?

These are all queries that will get started to get answered when the Jays face the Tigers in the exhibition opener.

Ideal off the commence, the usually defensively challenged outfielder Teoscar Hernandez will get the commence in left discipline although Devon Travis, wanting to reclaim his place at next foundation, will open up up at the place he hopes to cement by opening working day.

Brandon Drury, keeping the bag at third right up until Guerrero will get named up sometime in April, will be there on Saturday although Justin Smoak takes his typical place at first.

“Just like most people else, I want to see most people perform,” Montoyo stated on Friday.

Sad to say the participant most people truly desires to see most — Guerrero — will make his spring coaching debut on Sunday afternoon when the Jays journey to Sarasota to face the Orioles.

Through camp, Montoyo plans to carefully check his hitters to ascertain workload. With a team in changeover, he desires the Jays bats to get booming from the commence.

“In my business (on the wall) I will have all the at bats, so I will know who requires (far more operate),” Montoyo stated. “But I’m also heading to go by what (hitting mentor) Guillermo Martinez and (bench mentor) Dave Hudgens say. They see people guys each working day in the cage and who requires far more at-bats than the other person.”

Cautioning that he’s heading to permit what happens in game titles dictate his lineups, Montoyo by now has a few thoughts on who will be his leadoff hitter.

“I’m heading to use spring coaching to come to a decision, but just one of the guys who did it past yr was (Billy) McKinney. He can do it once again if he will make the club,” Montoyo stated. “Travis has completed it in advance of. Those people two guys are who I’m considering about now.”

Still left-hander Ryan Borucki, coming off a stable rookie period, will get the commence on Saturday with projected No. 1 catcher Danny Jansen at the rear of the plate. Newcomer Freddy Galvis will be at shortstop, Kevin Pillar in centre discipline and Dalton Pompey in ideal.

Advantage PITCHER

It is just about generally the circumstance that pitchers have the edge in early spring coaching motion as an 85 mile for each hour fastball appears to be and feels like 100 mph to hitters. But Smoak stated that with the emphasis on velocity from today’s pitchers, it is finding far more challenging each yr.

“Everyone’s throwing more durable now,” Smoak stated. “I really feel like when I first came up, everybody was throwing 85 and only a few of guys were being 95 or 96. Now most people throws 95 to 100 so it is surely tougher.

“It takes time, except if you are turning the (pitching) device up to 100 miles for each hour each working day through the off-period. We have a very long time down here. By the end of camp we need to be ready to go.”

SENIOR Instant

Like most of the veterans, Smoak has relished finding to know Vlad Jr., and it has brought again fond recollections from early in his vocation when he was in Texas and a teammate with the elder Guerrero in 2010.

“He’s a great deal like his father,” Smoak stated of his 19-yr-old quickly-to-be teammate. “His father was a truly superior participant for a truly very long time and he was a tranquil leader.

“The minimal time I have invested with Vladdy, he’s the similar way.”

Smoak stated he’s been impressed with gamers such as Guerrero, Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette, all of whom experienced accomplished significant-league fathers and the way they’e carried by themselves.

“There’s been a great deal of speak about them and they really don’t act like they are superstars on the team,” Smoak stated. “They really don’t want to be that person. They know they are superior and they know they are capable of taking part in in the significant leagues. But clubhouse clever, they are down to earth and easy to faucet to. It is not all about the exhibit and the flash.”


It didn’t just take very long for the Jays to dispatch their first three gamers from significant camp to the slight-league camp. On Friday early morning, pitchers Ryan Feierabend, Willy Ortiz and T.J. Zeuch were being all re-assigned … In another go, the team invited catcher Riley Adams to the major-league camp … Atkins acknowledged this week that the team is nonetheless on the lookout for some pitching support. “We’ve experienced conversations all off-period and proceed to have them,” the GM stated. “We’d like to add to our pitching, regardless of whether which is a starter or reliever. We’re working on that everyday.”

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