Ernie Clement hit his third home run of Spring Training, Yariel Rodríguez made his Blue Jays debut, and more!

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
For the second straight Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays had a split-squad game.
Unlike last Sunday, the Blue Jays won one of the games, while the other game was a tie. There’s a lot that happened in these two games, including Blue Jay debuts for two players, a few home runs, and some interesting tidbits.
Let’s dive in, starting with Toronto’s 9-4 win over the Minnesota Twins.

Toronto beat Minnesota 9-4.

With this win, the Blue Jays moved their record to 11-11 with two additional games ending in a tie.
Kevin Kiermaier hit his second and third home run on Sunday afternoon, giving the Blue Jays a 2-1 lead and a 6-4 lead respectively.
He’s stated that he would like to hit for more power this season, as he slashed .265/.3222/.419 with eight homers in 408 plate appearances in 2023, while still maintaining fantastic defence. Still, imagine if he matched his career-high 15 homers?
George Springer has had a sneakily good Spring Training, as he also hit his third home run of the pre-season. On top of that, he drove in three runs and had a multi-hit game and is now hitt .357 with a 1.185 OPS.
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was the only other player with a multi-hit afternoon, as he hit two singles that brought his average up to .444. He has a slightly better OPS than Springer at 1.187.
Yariel Rodríguez made his long-awaited debut for the Blue Jays on Sunday, finishing with a line of 2 IP, 1 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, with a home run given up. He touched nearly 97 mph with the heater and it was a great debut for the 27-year-old.
Mitch White will probably crack the Opening Day roster. On Sunday, he finished with a line of 3.1 IP, 2 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, bringing his ERA to 5.84 this Spring Training. Looking past the box score, White maxed out at 97.8 mph and averaged 96 mph on the fastball, and had a 47 whiff% Sunday afternoon.
Nate Pearson had his best outing so far this Spring Training, as he finished with a line of 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. The fastball maxed out at 99.7 mph and averaged 97.5 mph, while his slider and curveball had 100% whiff% (granted, three total swings between the two pitches). Good stuff from Pearson.
Eric Pardinho was once an MLB Pipeline top 100 prospect, ranking 98th on their 2019 pre-season list, when the Jays had the fifth-best farm system. Unfortunately, the Brazilian righty has dealt with major injuries, with the 2023 season being his first full season since 2018. It was a rough season where he had a 7.15 ERA and a 5.36 FIP in 56.2 innings pitched, but his outing on Sunday where he had two clean innings with two strikeouts is a great sign.

Toronto and Philadelphia tie 5-5.

Ties don’t count towards the Spring Training record, but this game was Toronto’s second tie. Still, there were some positives to take away from this game.
Ernie Clement hit his third home run of Spring Training on Sunday, helping the Jays crawl back to tie the game as this shot made it 5-4 for Philadelphia.
With how Clement has performed since joining the Blue Jays, he should have a real opportunity on the team this season, as they’ll need to have him on the 26-man roster due to no options remaining. In fact, this spring has proven that he could possibly play third base quite regularly for the team.
Joey Votto hit a storybook home run, as the first pitch he saw from Zack Wheeler was taken the opposite way for his first home run as a Toronto Blue Jay. Unfortunately, him stepping on a bat in the dugout that rolled his ankle is much less of a storybook beginning for the 40-year-old.
Daniel Vogelbach is really the only other contender for the first baseman/designated hitter role that Votto is aiming for. Vogelbach, who has two home runs this Spring Training, hit a double on Sunday afternoon and was the only player on the Jays with a multi-hit game.
Alejandro Kirk missed the start of the 2023 Spring Training and that clearly impacted his season. Thankfully, he’s been here the entire season and hit a double on Sunday, with his batting average now residing at .379 with a 1.172 OPS. Like many players mentioned in this article, Kirk has three home runs so far this spring.
José Berríos has continued to pitch well this Spring Training, as he finished with a line of 4.2 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. It is worth mentioning that he allowed four runs, with only one earned, but he now has a 1.38 ERA. There’s a good chance he’ll be the Blue Jays Opening Day starter, so hopefully the curse doesn’t affect him again.
Trevor Richards had a typical Trevor Richards outing, finishing with a line of 2 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K with a home run given up. This spring, he has a 5.40 ERA but has worked it down from a 40.50 ERA after his first two thirds of an inning pitched. In the month of March, he has a 2.70 ERA in 6.2 innings pitched, along with 12 strikeouts.
Hayden Juenger is one of many bulk relievers in the upper minors for the Blue Jays, and he finished with a line of 2 IP, 1 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K. This gives him a 3.52 ERA this Spring Training.
The Blue Jays have Monday off, before returning to action on Tuesday at 1:07 PM ET against the Baltimore Orioles. The game will be played at TD Park in Dunedin, and Chris Bassitt is expected to start the game for the Jays.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Brennan_L_D.


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