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GDB -3.0: Spring Training continues for Blue Jays as Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Yusei Kikuchi make debuts

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Photo credit:Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Laing
1 month ago
Here come the big guns.
The Toronto Blue Jays will be rolling out a stronger lineup on Monday afternoon, playing host to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Yusei Kikuchi will take the mound for the first time this Spring Training, while Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will bat out of the two-spot, taking his first swings of the season. He’ll bookend Bo Bichette and Justin Turner, in a trio that we could see bat in this order once regular season ball opens up.
The only difference may be that George Springer would slide into the leadoff spot, bumping each of the three back one, similarly to what we saw at length last season. However, the cleanup spot was a mishmash for most of last year. Matt Chapman played the most games there, 43, but Guerrero had 36, too. Then, Daulton Varsho (25), Brandon Belt (15), Springer (12) and various others all got reps there. Turner looked sharp in his first game, going one-for-one with an RBI and a walk, and the Jays will look for him to contribute
And for Guerrero Jr., this is a season where he’s looking to have a big bounce back, a revenge tour, some may say. He dealt with some nagging injuries for most of 2023, but this offseason, he said he “achieved all the goals that I wanted to achieve.”
“Of course, being in shape like I used to be, like I felt before in previous years, and I really believe that I achieved that goal,” he told The Athletic’s Kaitlyn McGrath. “And I feel great right now.”
Now, trimmer and stronger heading into training camp, he will look to regain his form that had him one of the league’s most lethal hitters years ago.

First pitch: 1:05 p.m. EST — Sportsnet.
Odds via Betano:
Moneyline: TOR -200; PIT +162.
Spread: TOR -1.5 -102; PIT +1.5 -120.
Over/Under: o8.5 -108; u8.5 -115.
*Odds available at the time of writing. Odds subject to change.

Starting pitchers (2023 statistics):

NameTeamGSWLIPERAxERAERA-FIPWHIPK/9BB/9
Yusei KikuchiTOR32116167.23.864.27924.121.279.722.58
Roansy ContrerasPIT113768.16.595.411485.191.577.244.21

Lineups:

TORONTO:
  1. B Bichette (R) SS
  2. V Guerrero Jr. (R) 1B
  3. J Turner (R) DH
  4. D Jansen (R) C
  5. D Varsho (L) LF
  6. I Kiner-Falefa (R) 3B
  7. S Espinal (R) 2B
  8. N Lukes (L) CF
  9. C Eden (R) RF
PITTSBURGH:
  1. N Gonzales (R) 3B
  2. J Triolo (R) 2B
  3. H Davis (R) DH
  4. E Olivares (R) LF
  5. C Smith-Njigba (L) RF
  6. J Delay (R) C
  7. A Williams (R) SS
  8. J Lamb (L) 1B
  9. J Bae (L) CF

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.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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