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Photo Credit: WikiMedia Commons

Spring Threat: It’s Jose Tabata Time, Blue Jays @ Pirates

Some sort of interesting things happening today! Mike Bolsinger will get another chance to prove to the Jays he’s good enough to be a long-reliever in the bullpen, Steve Pearce will make his first start of 2017 in the field at first base, and Jose Tabata will make his first appearance as a Blue Jay against his former club.

News and Scuttlebutt

A couple of positive notes on the injury front, as Josh Donaldson and Devon Travis are both still on the path to be available for a real spring training game this week. They’ll both play a couple more minor league games, then at the end of the week should be good to go. Donaldson ran the bases in Saturday’a minor league game and felt good, while Travis took the day off. Also, Jose Bautista sat out yesterday’s World Baseball Classic game with back tightness, but John Gibbons thinks it’s minor and he’ll be back in action within a couple of days. Good good good stuff.

Here’s a ghost from Blue Jays past, as the team reportedly has interest in Kelly Johnson on a minor league deal. He produced an 87 wRC+ last season (not much worse than Justin Smoak’s 90 wRC+) with the Mets and Braves while playing second, first, and third base, left field, and one inning of short stop (!!!), which makes him a somewhat interesting depth option for the team, especially given how many players the Jays have on their roster that’ll need DH days. There’s no such thing as a bad minor league contract, so fuck it!

“There are no more pumps for Pearce, who signed with the Blue Jays this off-season after stops with five other major league teams. He’s found they do things a bit differently in Toronto. That’s thanks to the Blue Jays’ high performance department, an interdisciplinary collection of specialists covering everything from strength and conditioning to psychology. It’s an all-encompassing collective the Blue Jays hope will provide each and every player in the organization, from the teenager at the bottom of the minors to the $20-million asset playing every day on the big-league roster, the tools and resources they need to be at their best.”

Very, very interesting and worthwhile ‘big read’ from Arden Zwelling today, as he takes us through the Blue Jays High Performance Department, in which the organization is leading the way in, you guessed it, the high level physical performance and recovery of their athletes, top to bottom. They may not be hiring enough Canadians, which matters to some people apparently, but it’s a nice sight watching the Jays move into the 21st century, because in the past, it seemed like this team struggled with players not being prepared or in peak condition and injuries being longer or worse than expected. But I’m pretty sure every fan thinks that.

TV: None

Radio: MLB.com, SN590

And now, the lineups…

Blue Jays

Ezequiel Carrera (L) RF

Gregorio Petit (R) SS

Steve Pearce (R) 1B

Justin Smoak (S) DH

Darrell Ceciliani (L) CF

Mike Ohlman (R) C

Jake Elmore (R) 2B

Jose Tabata (R) LF

Jon Berti (R) 3B

Mike Bolsinger (R) SP

Pirates

Alen Hanson (S) LF

Jordy Mercer (R) SS

Francisco Cervelli (R) C

David Freese (R) 1B

Eric Wood (R) 3B

Joey Terdoslavich (S) RF

Gift Ngoepe (R) 2B

Danny Ortiz (L) CF

Gerrit Cole (R) P

Gerrit Cole (R) SP