Yusei Kikuchi to start, Cavan Biggio to bat leadoff as Blue Jays kick off Spring Training against the Pirates

Photo credit:© Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 year ago
Baseball is back.
The Toronto Blue Jays will kick off Spring Training play on Saturday afternoon in Bradenton, Florida when they take on the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Going to the mound for the Blue Jays will be Yusei Kikuchi, who’s in a roster battle with Mitch White to be the team’s fifth starting pitcher. Kikuchi inked a three-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jays last March and struggled in his first season in Toronto, posting a 5.19 ERA over the course of 32 appearances.
We’ll also see Zach Thompson, Trent Thornton, Paul Fry, and Jay Jackson pitch on Saturday afternoon. Thompson is a depth starting pitcher who was acquired from the Pirates in the off-season while Fry and Jackson joined the Blue Jays on minor-league deals.
Here’s the lineup that John Schneider and Co. will send to the field for the team’s 2023 Grapefruit League debut…
Cavan Biggio will play second base and bat leadoff while Santiago Espinal will bat second and play short. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. will bat third and play first base and he’ll be flanked by off-season addition Daulton Varsho, who’s playing as the designated hitter in his Blue Jays debut. Danny Jansen will catch and bat fifth.
Batting sixth and playing third base is Addison Barger, a left-handed hitting prospect who had a huge season between the High-A Vancouver Canadians and Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats last year. In right field is Otto Lopez, who’s vying for a bunch position on the Blue Jays out of camp.
Starting things off in centre field is Nathan Lukes, a minor-league addition from last off-season who had a strong season for the Triple-A Bisons in 2022. We know Toronto’s starting three outfielders will be Varsho, George Springer, and Kevin Kiermaier, but a strong camp from Lukes could earn him the fourth outfielder gig.
Finally, Vinny Capra will bat ninth and play left field. Capra played in eight games for the Blue Jays last season while Biggio was on the COVID-IL and returned to the organization on a minor-league deal in the winter.
The game is on the road so it won’t be produced by Sportsnet’s crew but it’ll still be available to watch on TV. It starts at 1:00 PM ET and will be available on Sportsnet Ontario, East, and Pacific. Sportsnet One will join the game later on after the Raptors game is finished.
Also, one final note…



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