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Snapshots from the first half of new-look Blue Jays spring training

DUNEDIN – Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo, always happy to chat about his two teenaged kids, shared a dialogue he had with his 14-calendar year-previous son Alex the other working day.

The update from his off-time household centred all-around one of Alex’s buddies back in Tucson congratulating him on his father’s 1st Grapefruit League victory very last 7 days.

“Alex appeared at him and said ‘It’s just spring training,’” Montoyo recalled with a laugh. “And he’s right.”

Ideal on without a doubt, in particular for the duration of the early portions of the exhibition routine when setting up pitchers have yet to be stretched out, veteran hitters are nevertheless shaking the rust of their stroke and the back fifty percent of video games are dominated by younger prospective customers, quite a few of whom will be dispatched to small-league camps in a 7 days or so.

The Jays had their 1st official off working day of camp on Monday and from players to coaches and Montoyo (who planned a mini shopping spree) all were being prepared to choose gain of the split.

The off working day arrived 19 days soon after pitchers and catchers documented and 19 days till the workforce breaks camp here and heads to Montreal for its final two exhibition video games.

That implies there’s a lot of inconsequential baseball yet to be performed and a lot far more to be accomplished before this new-seem workforce opens at household on March 28 vs. the Detroit Tigers. The players proceed to get to know the revamped coaching staff, overhauled from the John Gibbons era, although said coaches work to plant their personal seeds of believability.

Sporting a 2-6-1 record and one rainout so much, the Jays are tied with the Marlins for the fewest wins in spring training, but we’re with Alex Montoyo on that stuff.

With that in head, our observations from the 1st fifty percent of the Florida part of the system and what we assume from the remainder of the Jays time here in the Sunshine Condition.

MAD ABOUT VLAD

We’re advised over and over again that it’s a certainty Vlad Guerrero Jr. will begin the time in triple-A Buffalo, but before then there stays a lot of possibilities for him to depart an imprint on the large-league workforce where by he belongs.

Guerrero, who will celebrate his 20th birthday future Wednesday, stops just about all people in their tracks when he arrives to the plate. Teammates, coaching staff and all method of onlookers are invariably amazed.

“Just how even-keeled he is,” Montoyo said when questioned what has struck him most about the best-ranked prospect in baseball. “Wherever he goes, men and women are inquiring him if he’s playing or not.

“What a good kid he is and that is superior news for us. He just needs to perform. He enjoys the match.”

Guerrero is envisioned to get a lot of match action as a result of the remainder of camp as he proceeds to work on his defensive perform at third.

Guerrero’s readiness at the plate is previously chic, the most current proof of such his one-handed double off the wall in Dunedin Stadium. Power certainly, but precision as perfectly.

Although his on-discipline development will be the target, the problem of Guerrero’s major league get started time is one that will not be heading away. The earliest we can assume to see him with the Jays is mid-April as the workforce seems to defend one far more calendar year of manage.

That topic will be a subject of discussion when Important League Baseball Players Association government director Tony Clark visits Dunedin in two weeks. The MLBPA is agency in its stance that the Jays are keeping Guerrero back to manipulate his provider time.

And only a cynic would suggest that the Jays bio update over the weekend of Guerrero’s excess weight from 200 kilos to 250 will be a card to be performed in individuals conversations.


Toronto Blue Jays’ Randal Grichuk is greeted by third base coach Luis Rivera soon after hitting a three-run household run in the third inning of a spring training baseball match against the Philadelphia Phillies, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2019, in Dunedin, Fla.

Lynne Sladky /

AP

ROTATION ROUNDABOUT

Montoyo and the coaching staff are justifiably enthused about the youth motion that is taken over the club and with the task of unlocking the prospective from the deep pool of expertise.

There will be expanding pains among that bunch, of program, and the greatest way limited-phrase way to relieve some of that stress is to have a responsible setting up rotation.

The superior news is, the Jays have the makings of a five-man crew that could be aggressive. The dodgier look at is that it’s doable the workforce could get started the time with all five starters coming off of accidents.

Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez had hand issues although off-time acquisitions Clayton Richard (knee) and Matt Shoemaker (forearm) are also on the lookout for a restoration bounceback.

And then there’s veteran Clay Buchholz, who the Jays arrived to deal phrases with late very last 7 days and could join the workforce in a working day or two pending his actual physical. Buchholz could be used out of the ‘pen or in the rotation depending on how he performs and how he’s recovered from arm issues.

If Buchholz is not bound for the rotation, left-hander Ryan Borucki stays the frontrunner for the fifth location.

OUT IN Remaining Field

For his bat on your own, the Jays would like to have Teoscar Hernandez a regular in left discipline, in particular if he can flash the variety he has at moments in his calendar year and improve with the workforce.

Billy McKinney, on the other hand, offers leadoff hitter prospective, in particular now that next baseman Devon Travis is banged up yet again. So in between these two, we have one of the far more intriguing battles of camp.

The ongoing problem with Hernandez, having said that, is his wobbly defence, one thing the Jays tried using to tackle in the offseason.

Equally Montoyo and 1st-base coach Mark Budzinski frequented Hernandez in the Dominican where by he performed wintertime ball.

“So much he’s on the lookout very superior in the outfield so for confident that has helped a lot,” said Montoyo, who pointed out that Hernandez saw some time in centre discipline in the Dominican.

The coaches have been operating on Hernandez’s positioning and how he moves back when tracking balls.

BO Understands

Although he will not be with the workforce this calendar year, Bo Bichette is leaving an impression almost every day that will be tricky to shake for the large-league staff, in particular if he follows it up at triple-A Buffalo.

With 11 at-bats in seven video games so much, Bichette has been each occupied and effective, belting out 4 hits, which include a homer, for a .364 batting ordinary.

He’s also been sleek and swift at shortstop, proof of the hard work he place in very last time in New Hampshire shelling out off.

Bichette, whose slotted 10th in the MLB Pipeline checklist of prospective customers, has certainly grabbed the consideration of Montoyo and others thus much.

STRO Show AND THE SANCHIZE

Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, were being after greatest friends and the long term of the Jays rotation.

They are no lengthier friends and there is persistent speculation that must each return to variety their biggest worth to the workforce would be in their elevated trade worth.

For now, having said that, each are on pace to be the cornerstone of the rotation. Sanchez was especially sharp in his lone get started and soon after his next Grapefruit League outing on Saturday, Stroman pronounced himself prepared to get started the time.

Most importantly for whatsoever way Jays administration chooses to manage individuals belongings, each are experience balanced and seem to have place the lingering finger issues guiding them.

CAMP Things to do

Some fast hit scenes that have caught our eye over the earlier three weeks in what is unmistakably a new-seem ecosystem:

– It has been an energetic and impressive camp run by major league coach Shelley Duncan, underneath the near observe of Montoyo. Drills are rapidly-paced and fresh with an emphasis on decreasing wasted and stand-all-around time.

– When he’s all-around his teammates, Guerrero is perpetually smiling. He laughs and jokes but carries himself as if he is nearly anything but the centre of consideration. But our favourite interaction is the one in between Guerrero and 1st baseman Justin Smoak. One speaks Spanish, the other’s indigenous tongue is South Carolina. “Justin Smoak is a good man and he will get along with everyone,” Montoyo said. “It’s humorous. I really don’t know how they converse, but they have a lot of enjoyment jointly.”

– Initial baseman Rowdy Tellez is projected to return to Buffalo for a third consecutive time, but he’s been held occupied here. Tellez, the sensational September simply call up from 2018, qualified prospects all Jays hitters with 16 at-bats, the greatest of individuals his most current. The Rowdy man belted a two-run homer vs. the Yankees on Sunday at Dunedin Stadium.

– With the Vlad shenanigans in perform, Brandon Drury initiatives as the opening-working day third baseman. Although he’s appeared superior defensively, there is some concern from the coaching staff that his bat has been gradual to arrive all-around even though Drury has three hits in 12 at bats.

– Dunedin the baseball stadium is the worst we’ve attended on the Grapefruit League circuit and just can’t get overhauled before long enough (design begins as before long as the Jays are completed here.) Dunedin the craft beer town, having said that, is a league leader.

– Disgruntled Jays followers permit their voices be listened to on Sunday when a raffle presenting a Troy Tulowitzki signed baseball was up for grabs. Boos greeted the successful ticket announcement.

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