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Smoak offers steady hand to young Blue Jays

DUNEDIN, FLA.—He’s now 1 of the oldest players in the Blue Jays clubhouse, but that is about all that has altered for Justin Smoak heading into a new year.

The 32-calendar year-aged first baseman claims he’s making ready for his 10th calendar year in main-league baseball the exact way he usually has — by looking for approaches to enhance.

“Whatever it is, you’re usually attempting to get improved,” the 2017 all-star said just lately. “I experience like it is just making ready by yourself mentally to perform every single day. That’s usually the objective. To be capable to do that, you have bought to remain nutritious … get labored on when you will need to get labored on, but more than something just be prepared to go.”

Smoak has been 1 of the club’s most dependable contributors, at the plate and with the glove. He led the Jays with 25 home operates and 77 RBIs very last calendar year, and was in the vicinity of the top rated amongst American League first basemen with a .350 on-foundation share and .808 OPS.

He is anticipated to carry on to perform day to day — his strong manufacturing, constant glove and great head placing an illustration for an in any other case youthful infield. At the plate, he programs to be aggressive — immediately after a year in which he drew 83 walks but struck out 156 instances.

“You don’t know exactly where you’re at unless of course you’re swinging the bat,” said Smoak, entering the ultimate calendar year of his deal. “You can stand up there all you want and choose pitches and experience like you’re observing it well right up until you get started swinging the bat. It is usually becoming aggressive. I’d fairly swing at the ball in the dust than not swing at all.”

RAINED OUT: Tuesday’s sport from the Pink Sox was washed out, immediately after a hard late-early morning rain, delaying starter Matt Shoemaker’s Blue Jays debut. The appropriate-hander is slated to get started Wednesday from the Pittsburgh Pirates in Bradenton, Fla. Remaining-hander Ryan Borucki will make his second get started of spring on Thursday, at home from the Philadelphia Phillies. On Friday — the first of a few split-squad times this spring — righty Aaron Sanchez will make his first visual appearance, at home from the Pirates, though righty Sean Reid-Foley will choose the ball for a second time from Josh Donaldson and the Atlanta Braves in Orlando.

GO FOR MO: On a roster with quite a few adaptable possibilities, Blue Jays specified hitter Kendrys Morales stands out as a 1-trick pony. That does not seem to bother new supervisor Charlie Montoyo.

“He’s a good bat,” Montoyo said. “I’ll choose it. He’s high-quality. That can help. He hits. He’s a switch hitter, so he’s high-quality.”

Morales — who also performed 18 games at first foundation in 2018 — strike .249 in 130 games very last year, both of those figures his least expensive in 4 a long time. Montoyo hopes the 35-calendar year-old’s fortunes are about to transform.

“He strike the ball rather hard very last calendar year with some tough luck,” the supervisor said. “Hopefully he’ll get luckier this calendar year.”

Laura Armstrong is a sports reporter primarily based in Toronto. Abide by her on Twitter: @lauraarmy

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