Grapefruit Notes: Hot start for Rowdy, Nate Pearson dazzles in debut, and more!

The Blue Jays played three games over the last couple of days, winning against the Braves and splitting their split-squad games against the Yankees and Phillies. The three games featured some big offensive performances and some exciting pitcher debuts. Let’s get into it!

Things worth mentioning…

  • Shun Yamaguchi made his North American debut on Monday against the Braves and it went, uh, not well. Yamaguchi lasted just two-thirds of an inning, allowing three earned runs on three hits while walking and hitting a batter. It’s just spring, so it doesn’t really mean much, but Yamaguchi’s command was all over the grid. As Keegan Matheson notes, Yamaguchi is dealing with adjusting to the North American ball, which is slightly bigger than the one he’s used to throwing in Japan.
  • The three runs surrendered by Yamaguchi would be the only ones allowed by the Blue Jays’ pitching staff on the day as eight relievers threw scoreless frames. Ken Giles had an easy inning, Anthony Bass struck out two in his inning, and non-roster hopefuls Ty Tice, Travis Bergen, and Justin Miller all had solid outings.
  • If you wanted to watch Nate Pearson make his spring debut on Tuesday, well, too bad. You got to watch Chase Anderson instead. Pearson was starting the split-squad game in Dunedin and the Jays don’t have their broadcast crew in Florida until March, so it’s Chase Anderson for you whether you like it or not!
  • Anyways, Anderson was OK in his Blue Jays debut, giving up one earned run on two hits over the course of two innings. That curveball, though!

  • After Anderson, T.J. Zeuch came in and tossed two scoreless frames, Jordan Romano picked up two strikeouts in a shutout inning, and Brad Moran also had a clean frame. Jake Petricka had a disaster of an outing, surrendering a grand slam to *checks notes* Jhailyn Ortiz? Okay!
  • Right, so now we can get to Big Nate. The game in Dunedin was loaded with interesting pitchers, but we’ll start with the main show. Pearson dazzled in his spring debut, striking out the side in his one inning of work. It was damn near an immaculate inning as it only took him 12 pitches to mow through Tyler Wade, Miguel Andujar, and Mike Tauchman to kick off the game.

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  • But it wasn’t all just about Pearson in Dunedin on Tuesday. We also got to see hear about the elusive Julian Merryweather, who finally proved that he actually exists. The Guy from the Josh Donaldson trade tossed one inning, scattering one earned run on two hits while picking up two strikeouts. After that, Patrick Murphy came into the game with his newly-restyled delivery, picking up two strikeouts in a scoreless frame. Both A.J. Cole and Jackson McClelland threw a scoreless inning, Yensy Diaz threw two, and Philippe Aumont got lit up for three runs in two innings. All told, the Jays struck out 17 Yankees.
  • The star offensively over the past few days for the Blue Jays has been Rowdy Tellez, who continued his hot start to spring by helping the Jays kick the shit out of the Phillies in Clearwater. Rowdy golfed a three-run bomb off of Jake Arrieta and then hit an RBI double off of some guy named Reggie McClain. All told, Rowdy has gone 4-for-7 so far in spring. If he keeps hitting, it’s going to be hard to keep him off the team. On the flip side of this roster race, Anthony Alford had an ugly few games, going 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.