Spring Threat: Split Squad Spring Action, Blue Jays vs Braves/Yankees

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© Jonathan Dyer 

I guess it technically started yesterday when they played the Braves in Orlando, but it feels like today is the first day of Blue Jays baseball in 2017. The Jays are hosting the Phillies in the friendly confines of Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, and they’re doing so with their ‘A’ lineup taking the field. And it’s on TV! 

If you aren’t interested in watching Jose Bautista, Russell Martin, and friends, at the same time, down in Tampa, the Jays ‘B’ squad will be taking on the Yankees. 

In their first taste of action this year, the Jays were dropped by the Atlanta Braves by a scored of 7-4 yesterday. Rule 5 pickup Glenn Sparkman was lit up, getting tagged by the Braves Opening Day roster for four earned runs over one inning of work. The game featured a ‘who’s who’ of names you probably aren’t going to hear on the big league club this season, but there were some interesting performances nonetheless. 

Top prospects Rowdy Tellez, Anthony Alford, Richard Urena, and Reese McGuire all hit doubles, and all of them did it against real life major league pitchers. Like I said, none of them are going to crack the team, but they could, with a strong spring, feasibly position themselves to be the first on the call up list at their given positions. 

More details on the game can be found here. 

News and Scuttlebutt 

According to Ben Nicholson-Smith, the Jays are slightly moving back on their plan to possibly stretch Joe Biagini out to be the team’s sixth starter. The article suggests that the addition of Mat Latos as legitimate starting depth and wanting Biagini’s arm coming out in relief are reasons for the tempered change in heart. Ideally, as has been discussed at length this offseason, Biagini is stretched out enough that we can pitch a couple of innings to help bridge the gap between the starter and Roberto Osuna. 

According to MLB Trade Rumours, the Blue Jays aren’t giving up on Dalton Pompey just yet, which I don’t think anybody really believes anyway. Pompey was once the MLB’s No. 30 prospect, and was rushed through the system way too quickly, finding his way on the big league club in 2015 because Alex Anthopolous couldn’t be bothered to assemble veteran, major league depth. I doubt he makes the team this spring, but his opportunity should come soon enough. 

Also, Josh Donaldson is a Blue Jay. And so is his adorable doggo. 

On to today’s game(s)! The game you’ll want to watch is the one against the Phillies, obviously, because it features about half of the Opening Day squad. But if you’re into prospects, the top baby jays, Tellez and Alford, are playing in the Yankees game. We’ll see a whole whack of pitchers today, including Joe Biagini and Brett Oberholtzer, who are starting, along wit Mat Latos, Ryan Tepera, Mike Bolsinger, and Conner Greene. 

TV: SNET (vs PHI), YES and MTB.tv (vs NYY) 

Radio: FAN590 and bluejays.com 

Next game: Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. against the Pirates 

And now, the lineups…

Blue Jays

Kevin Pillar (CF)

Russell Martin (C)

Jose Bautista (RF)

Kendrys Morales (DH)

Justin Smoak (1B)

Melvin Upton Jr (LF)

Ryan Goins (2B)

Jake Elmore (3B)

Richard Urena (SS) 

Joe Biagini (SP)

Phillies 

Cameron Perkins (CF)

J.P. Crawford (SS)

Daniel Nava (LF)

Cameron Rupp (DH)

Andres Blanco (2B)

Dylan Cozens (RF)

Ryan Hanigan (C)

Brock Stassi (1B)

Taylor Featherson 3B)

Jeremy Hellickson (SP) 

Aaaaaaand the other game! 

Blue Jays

Zeke Carrera (CF)

Darwin Barney (SS)

Jarrod Saltalamacchia (C)

Rowdy Tellez (1B)

Darrell Ceciliani (RF)

Anthony Alford (DH)

Dwight Smith Jr (LF)

Jon Berti (2B)

Shane Opitz (3B)

Brett Oberholtzer (SP) 

Yankees

Brett Garnder (LF)

Jacoby Ellsbury (CF)

Gary Sanchez (C)

Matt Holliday (DH)

Didi Gregorious (SS)

Chris Carter (1B)

Starlin Castro (2B)

Chase Headley (3B)

Aaron Hicks (RF)

Luis Severino (SP)