GDB -2.0: After offensive explosion, Toronto Blue Jays continue Grapefruit League schedule against New York Yankees

Photo credit:Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
Batter up!
Fans of the Toronto Blue Jays got a look at what could come the rest of the season with a big opening day of spring training. Despite ultimately falling to the Philadelphia Phillies in game one of their Grapefruit League schedule, the Jays still racked up 13 runs, seven of which came in the first three innings while most of the starting lineup remained in the game.
Bo Bichette, batting out of his standard 2 spot, went two-for-three at the plate while stealing a bag, as Justin Turner went one-for-one with an RBI and a walk out of the three-hole.
And while Danny Jansen batted clean up going one-for-three with a walk, the star of the show was none other than… Daulton Varsho? That’s right — the much-maligned Gold Glover had a tremendous afternoon at the plate, going three-for-three driving in three runs.
What’s different? Well, Don Mattingly’s voice has increased in the dugout, now taking on the team’s offensive coordinator role. No, he’s not drawing up X’s and O’s and showing a quarterback which wide receiver to hit in stride. Instead, he’s going to be the one pushing how the Jays approach at-bats.
“We just want to keep more of a simplistic view of how we’re going about our business, making sure we’re thinking right, our approach is good in how we’re going after pitchers and attacking them,” said Mattingly, via Sportsnet. “And that can’t really be one way.
“What do you want to do with this guy? What are you trying to do? How are you trying to get him there? And then sticking with that.
“Certain guys out there, you’re not going to cover the whole zone, every area of the plate or every pitch. It’s really hard to do. So we’re going to try to minimize where we’re trying to handle.
“We’re going to try to hopefully cover the areas of (a hitter’s) strengths, try to get the ball in those areas and go to work.”
It’s something Turner is looking forward to.
“He gets it. He’s done it. He’s played it. He knows about game-planning and approach and adjustments. So it’s easy to relate, and it’s easy to communicate,” said Turner, via Sportsnet. “Also it helps that he’s Don Mattingly with that instant respect that he has. And it makes those conversations come a little bit easier for him.”
Today the Jays will look to build off that solid start taking on the New York Yankees in a split squad game. No word yet on how the lineups will split, but here’s a look at the starting pitchers and lineups, according to MLB.com.

First pitch: 1:05 p.m. EST — Sportsnet, Sportsnet 590.
Odds via Betano:
Moneyline: No odds available.
*Odds available at the time of writing. Odds subject to change.

Starting pitchers (2023 statistics):

Bowden FrancisTOR01036.11.733.7141.13.860.838.72.0
Carlos RodónNYY143864.16.855.34163.55.791.459.03.9


  1. E Clement (R) SS
  2. E Escobar (S) 3B
  3. A Kirk (R) C
  4. D Vogelbach (L) DH
  5. D Schneider (R) LF
  6. A Barger (L) RF
  7. O Martinez (R) 2B
  8. D Palmegiani (R) 1B
  9. S Berroa (S) CF
  1. A Verdugo (L) LF
  2. J Soto (L) RF
  3. A Judge (R) CF
  4. A Rizzo (L) 1B
  5. G Torres (R) 2B
  6. J VanMeter (L) 3B
  7. K Smith (R) SS
  8. J Escarra (L) DH
  9. C Narvaez (R) C

Need to bide the time until first pitch?

Tune into the latest edition of Blue Jays Nation Radio as the crew talks spring training.
– This article was updated Sunday afternoon with more information.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.


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